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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iran Nukes, Maskhadov, Kiselyov and Liberalism

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Why Iran Needs Nukes

In response to "Big Bucks from Bushehr," a column by Yulia Latynina on March 9.

Yulia Latynina spins like a politicized journalist who is very unfamiliar with the topic she's writing about. She questions the idea of Iran needing an energy alternative to its vast oil and gas resources. Therein lies her ignorance.

The Soviet Union was the largest grain producer in the world when it decided to purchase additional U.S. wheat for the purpose of feeding its allies in Europe and abroad. Likewise, Iran's gas and oil resources aren't just for that country alone. Therefore the acquisition of relatively cheaply produced nuclear power makes perfect sense for Tehran.

As for Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, note that Israel and Pakistan have such a capability already. Those two countries haven't been on the best of terms with Tehran.

Iran could have caused Russia problems in Central Asia and the Caucasus. But it hasn't. Russia correctly wants friendly relations with Iran and realizes that one way or another, Tehran will acquire nuclear power. With this in mind, it's better for Russia to be involved in such a process as opposed to being on the sidelines.

Michael Averko
New York

Mourning Maskhadov

In response to "Aslan Maskhadov's Final Hours," an article by Carl Schreck on March 10.

The plight of the Chechen people has always touched my heart. Perhaps it was their great and relentless struggle for independence at the cruel hands of the Russian army who brutalized their men and destroyed their cities.

Now the cruel death of their former democratically elected president, Aslan Maskhadov, says it all. How barbaric. Is this anyway to deal with people who disagree with the establishment and wish to rule themselves? No doubt the Kremlin blames him for many terrorists attacks. But those are dubious claims, much like the Israelis' who blamed Arafat when in fact it was their government's own policies that fueled the violence.

Maskhadov's brutal murder exposes Russia's shocking intolerance and excessive use of force. Like the siege at the school in Beslan, it was a gross overuse of force. The kind of force that has killed so many Chechens and now killed innocent Russian children and Chechnya's former democratic leader, Aslan Maskhodov.

May he rest in peace and may his people be free and have their independence.

Doris Cadigan
Amherst, Massachusetts

Big Ego Behind Disaster

In response to "The Big Picture Behind a Small Disaster," a column by Masha Gessen on March 14.

I have enjoyed Masha Gessen's columns to date but this week's effort was off base. What the Kiselyov letter demonstrated was what a lot of people have long suspected: He is a self-important bully whose ego dwarfs his talent.

Kiselyov is nothing without an oligarch's blank check and therefore is no better than the satraps on state television.

Michael Heath

Olympic Despair

In response to "Moscow Makes Its Case for 2012," an article by Kevin O'Flynn on March 14.

If Mayor Yury Luzhkov and his deputy Valery Shantsev think Moscow's charms can win over the IOC, they must think they are talking to idiots. The IOC is supposed to turn a blind eye toward the war in Chechnya, the disastrous and dangerous traffic in Moscow and the pollution that enshrouds the city. Maybe when they stop the tragic war, build some decent roads and attack the pollution problem, then Moscow authorities might see an Olympics. I have ridden at the 1980 Olympics equestrian center. It is now the sorriest-looking stable I have ever seen. What does this tell you about Moscow's chances?

Marcie Gauntlett
Sooke, Canada

Untangling Liberalism

In response to "Everything Left is Right Again," a column by Michele Berdy on March 4.

In Michelle Berdy's article, she questions the Russian right's 'liberal' rhetoric. This continental European use of the word liberal is familiar to the student of British history; it is the classical liberalism of Prime Minister William Gladstone and Austrian economist Frederick Hayek. These liberals, who lost their party status in Britain in 1922, were known of as the 'whigs' and were fiercely pro-market. The word 'libertarian' would more aptly suit these principles in the United States. However, in continental Europe 'libertarians' are associated with the socialist-anarchists who lost the Spanish Civil War.

A recent Economist article reported that France's Prime Minister called himself a liberal in Britain, where the term is associated with social democrats, but refused to use the same term at home, where it is associated with laissez-faire capitalism.

The term liberal originated in Spain in the 19th century; "classical" liberals, who believe in individual liberty, and "progressive" liberals, who believe in social justice, have a common root in their belief in representative, democratic republican government.

This "liberty" versus "equality" friction is underscored by the friction between SPS and Yabloko, although both are ultimately partners in their desire to preserve or establish certain civil and democratic freedoms that are not enshrined in the doctrines of the other parties.

Travis Jones