I was disturbed by Eugene Trani's Back Page ("Criticize, But Don't Exclude," Oct. 25). His worries about Russia and China being drawn together by the West's criticism struck me as cowardly. It reminded me of the fawning speeches given about Hitler in order to dissuade Germany from becoming allies with Stalin's Soviet Union. The result was Poland, 1939.
The fact of the matter is that Russia is completing the transition from communism to corporate kleptocracy in about 16 years. While corporate Republicrats have put us in Iraq, the likes of Putin have embroiled Russia in its own bloody crusade in Chechnya. Russian nuclear reactor projects inside and outside the country (like the ones in Iran) are environmental disasters waiting to happen.
But hey, don't take my word for it. Read what recently assassinated Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya wrote about her country's brutal and corrupt leadership. Her uncompromising view is in remarkable contrast to Trani's.
I don't doubt there's a place for education, trade and communication in the name of foreign relations, but let's not let some university president gloss over the unfolding tragedy that is Russia today. Don't let corporate-speak drown out demands for real democracy.
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