For heaven's sake, let's be true to our American principles and start beating the drum for self-determination at the voting booth instead of the firing range, like they're doing in Scotland.

Let's stand up and call on the world to allow areas of dispute to vote on their allegiance, whether to their country, a neighboring country (if they're invited), a new country, or a new old country like Scotland. Englishmen who live in Scotland can still be Englishmen. Scots living in England can get a new Scottish passport and voting card, if they want to switch. And no one needs to die, or be threatened by masked gunmen their whole lives.

The vote in the Crimea, as melodramatic as it became, actually represents a good starting point. Crimeans overwhelmingly wanted to be part of Russia. That it happened without old-school 20th-century massacres shows it can work and work peacefully. What we need to do now is not only respect, but laud the outcome: the people now call home what they want to call home. They chose. It's called self-determination. What's more American than that?

Let's encourage Doing the Scottish Thing everywhere from the Kashmir Valley to Afghanistan to Kurdish Iran (and Iraq and Turkey and Syria) to Shia Iraq (and Turkey and Syria) to Sunni Iraq (and Turkey and Syria) to Chechnya to Burma and Thailand and Georgia and Somalia and Yemen and Mali and Libya and Kenya and Nigeria and Ghana and Chad and Algeria. Sorry if I left anybody out. Yes, women are mistreated in some religions. But not everybody's by-the-book old-school Christian or Jewish...

And you know, there aren't enough Hellfire missiles on God's green earth to keep the peace that way.

So let's vote on it, for crying out loud.

Good alternatives?

None.

Remember: "If it's nae Scottish, it's crrap!"

Robin Batteau

Westport