Integrating the Soviet Union Into the Community of Nations

The "revolution" in the USSR has apparently run its full course after the forces of inertia of a long obsolete system uttered a desperate but fruitless last gasp. The path is now clear for this gigantic empire and its peoples to become full-fledged members of the global economy.We Europeans are surely not the only ones puzzled by criticism levied against President Bush, especially since this criticism comes from the US media and is directed at his obviously successful, long-term strategic policy: the reintegration of the territorially largest country in the world into the community of free nations and its more efficient economic system. This US policy has long been clear, but the decisive and historic step in this direction was only recently made by Presidents Bush and Gorbachev in Moscow as they signed the START disarmament pact. The economy of the resource-rich Soviet Union must be empowered quickly not only so that the standard of living in its own country can be greatly increased, but also so that the economically weaker regions can be given more aid. From this perspective, it is difficult to discern the reason for the media barrage against the policies of these two statesmen. Certainly no one is surprised that such a fundamental, sweeping reform process brings with it many frictions. That is why the international news media must behave responsibly in their reports and comments. And they must make their specific contribution to the forward progress that has begun. Kurt H. Muller, Wuppertal, Germany

'Us' and 'them' in Middle East The first logical reaction to the opinion-page column "US Must Make Peace With Israel," Oct. 9, is to ask, "Why not the other way around?" But the headline points to a more serious issue still. It reaches to the heart of a doctrine which for a half-century has axed any hope of an evenhanded US policy in the Middle East. We are obliged, runs the murky rationale, to subordinate our own national interest to Israel's. One senses a subtle assertion that Jews are "us" but other Middle Easterners are only "them." A rational US Middle East policy would accommodate the Muslim world's own historic, religious, and just claims to Jerusalem. A fair US approach would recognize that Palestinians have called the Holy Land home for hundreds of years and still do. US policy should scotch irrefutably any notion that we stand ready to bleed in a war to bail out an intransigent Israel. And finally, we should wean Israel and others in the region from a colossal dole we can no longer afford. Our strength, resources, goodwill, and moral stature are not bottomless; we ought to employ them justly and in our own best interests. A just and neighborly Israel would be a fit candidate for a fair share of such help. Richard A. Jones, Benicia, Calif.

Conspiratorial botching Regarding the article "Abrams Pleads Guilty in Iran-Contra Case," Oct. 9: Granting immunity to Oliver North and John Poindexter crippled any possibility of effectively prosecuting the participants in this case. Treasonous acts have been committed by a number of people, but now it looks like the end of the whole affair, with North cleared and Elliott Abrams getting a slap on the wrist. It has been botched from the beginning, and almost smacks of a conspiracy to do just that - botch it. Wayne A. Lawson, Bellevue, Wash.

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