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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

On the Formation of a Northern Hemisphere Alliance

I have been reading with enthusiasm of the warming relations between Russia and NATO, and it naturally begs the question: When will the two powers unite to form the largest and most sophisticated alliance on Earth?

For decades the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies were poised to fight NATO to the death over a political situation that has faded into the annals of history. Now, with the advent of terrorism on a global scale, it only seems logical to form an alliance that has the interests of Russia, Europe, and North America at stake. Perhaps a new name: The Northern Hemisphere Alliance, or words to that end.

Page Sausman
Boise, Idaho

Either or Management

In response to "A Crash Course in Soviet-Style Management," an essay by Maria Danilova on May 15.

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After reading Maria Danilova's essay I was impressed by her ability to put me right inside the hotel in Pushkino and share her experience. The "either-or management style" became very apparent as she guided me from the arrival in the front lobby through her dining experience in the restaurant. What a contrast in customer service!

Last year, my father, Charles, and I represented the Citizens Democracy Corps as volunteer American consultants for a local juice company in Odessa, Ukraine. We spent two weeks training and developing both the administrative and operations staff on Western management techniques. We had sufficient time to experience first hand the either-or management style.

The chief engineer represented the Soviet-style management to the extreme. His door was always closed. Meetings were a waste of time or simply a venue to criticize his subordinates. Incentives and awards were nonexistent.

In contrast, the technical director enjoyed bringing his staff together. New ideas were always welcome. Social gatherings were a means to strengthen his team.

I'd like to leave the readers with two things. First, there definitely is an either-or management style in former Soviet Union countries. It is obvious both inside corporations as well as on the streets. Second, I propose that it is not unique to this region of the world but is a global issue. Working for a North American food company, I see it all the time in the United States and Canada.

I agree that a McDonald's cheeseburger and fries are exactly the same in New York, Paris or Moscow. However, I can visit two McDonald's within kilometers of each other in Virginia and the either-or management style comes through every day. The contrast in management style is not regional or national, it is cultural. One day I am treated like royalty. Another I am invisible.

I have a story of my own. While my father and I were enjoying a beer on a gorgeous summer afternoon in Odessa, our waiter decided that he was going to add more value to his service than bringing us our drinks. There was a vibrant flow of conversation that gave us information about the city and even his own life. Needless to say, it was a pleasure to be with him and to tip him well.

When we returned the next day, a young woman waited on us, this time with a wide smile which seemed to be contagious among the entire wait staff. Tables began to fill up more and more each day we returned. Obviously, the manager was ecstatic, and everyone was enjoying themselves.

It's all about attitude based on a culture of "treating others like you want to be treated."

Robert Ziel
Roanoke, Virginia

A Sour Note

In response to a letter by Richard Willis on May 17.

Mr. Willis, Mr. Willis let down your long blond hair and allow a little reality to climb up into that ivory tower.

That you publicly condone such a criminal act I find shocking, that you berate the record companies for "churning out untold hours of tediously established stars" and then promote the stealing of the very money that would be used to give new acts a chance I find reprehensible. Would you also OK the counterfeiting of viagra and vodka or does the time spent buying and listening to cheapened music allow no time for other pleasures?

Stuart Torn

And Immigration?

In response to "Crisis of Conformism," a column by Boris Kagarlitsky on May 21.

Boris Kagarlitsky's article was very good. He did, however, overlook the immigration angle as to why the far right is gaining ground in Western Europe.

The European open-door policy to any and all foreigners is more trouble than its worth. Rising crime is one big problem, and with high unemployment there simply are not enough entry-level jobs for the number of immigrants coming into Western Europe.

The far righters to their credit are at least trying to clamp down on the problems of immigration. One only needs to visit lower Manhattan (as I did last March) to see the giant square-mile hole where the Twin Towers once stood and the price of out of control immigration.

The future of free societies like the United States, Russia and the rest of Europe depend on how well their elected officials protect their citizens. This is becoming a key issue around the world. As well it should.

Nate Maurer