Cold War Culture, Russophobia and Stupidity

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In response to "West's Criticism, Not NATO, Worries Putin," a column by Alexander Golts on April 8.

Editor,

What amazes me by reading Golts' comments on President Vladimir Putin's alleged Cold War rhetoric at the NATO meeting is that the Cold War has never departed from the U.S. political culture.

Living in the United States for over 50 years, I can confirm that very few positive comments are published in the mainstream media. The only difference is the name of the country has been changed -- instead of the Soviet Union, the U.S. media now uses Russia, but the main message remains the same: Russia is always presented as an enemy.

Some days ago, U.S. Senator John McCain lambasted Putin to a group of veterans and received a standing ovation. McCain is the fellow, along with some other neocons, who would like to bomb Iran.

It's not Russia who has to change. It is the United States.

Sergei Loutch.
Kingwood, Texas

America Is Not Russophobic

In response to "The Russophobia Card," a comment by Andrei Tsygankov on April 3.

Editor,

Tsygankov suggests a need for a "fundamental psychological adjustment in Washington away from Russophobia" and cautions that "the healing of the U.S. Russophobic mindframe is going to require a lot of time."

But no matter who is elected U.S. president, "Russophobia" will not be a major plank in their campaign platform, nor is it quite the central element of the political zeitgeist that Tsygankov suggests.

Even Senator John McCain could be expected, optimistically, to allow cooler heads to prevail and avoid sudden moves.

Anti-Americanism in Russia, on the other hand, is a defining characteristic of the Kremlin's foreign policy and was a key element of Putin's public statements during the December State Duma and the March presidential election campaigns. Therefore, healing would seem to be more urgently needed in Moscow than in Washington.

At a moment when the U.S.-Russian relationship appears to be at a fork in the road, some in Moscow may believe that Tsygankov's kaleidoscope -- in which isolated critical comments about Putin by McCain and Hillary Clinton are indicative of a full-blown campaign of "increasing Russophobia" -- is a valid lens through which to view the political and media scene in the United States.

This could bolster the arguments of those in Russia who would prefer to prolong the nostalgia-inducing atmosphere of posturing reminiscent of the Cold War. But this has gone on for too long already.

Lyndon K. Allin
Washington, D.C.

Putin Takes Page From Bush

In response to "Echoes of the Anschluss in Georgia," a comment by Mart Laar on April 21.

Editor,

I believe Russia's actions in Georgia are a measured response to a decades- long U.S. policy of meddling in the Balkans. The latest example of supporting independence for Kosovo is a flagrant violation of international law by dismembering Serbia.

U.S. President George W. Bush's policy, supported by some of his lackeys in the European Union, should be given a warning that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko rule countries that are vulnerable to separatist movements as well, including the ones in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia, as well as the pro-Russian Crimea in Ukraine.

Anthony Chernushenko
Ottawa


How to Find New Friends

In response to "Why Moscow Doesn't Have a Lot of Friends," a column by Georgy Bovt on April 10.

Editor,

Bovt writes, "Russia must first offer its own society -- and only later the world -- an attractive model for development that other countries would want to follow."

This is a terribly naive assertion. Even if Russia is a beacon of democracy, many of its neighbors are not going to become friends of Russia. Just look at the British Commonwealth. There is no love lost between Britain and its former colonies. Most former colonies are fundamentally anti-British. That will never stop, at least not for a long time, irrespective of what Britain does.

Similarly, do you think that the United States' "friends" in Asia, for instance, are friendly toward Washington because the United States is a democracy? Absolutely not.

The same is true for Russia. The only option for Russia is to get rich as soon as possible. Then, even those who hate Russia will become dependent on it.

Chatura Ranweera
Toronto

On U.S. 'Stupidity'

In response to "Americans Are Not Stoopid," a column by Mark Teeter on March 31.

Editor,

It comes down to what questions Americans are asked. They don't know what's going on in the next state, let alone the rest of the world. But if a street survey was conducted about whether or not Britney Spears has custody of her kids, I bet that more Americans would get that question right than those asked about how Europe is being carved up.
There are so many important events going on in the United States that Americans can't be bothered with what is happening abroad.

Patrick Chimes
Houston, Texas