US voices

PRESUMABLY as part of its continuing glasnost, or ``openness'' campaign, the Soviet Union has just given permission for the US-government-run Voice of America to station a correspondent in Moscow, for the first time in the nearly half a century that VOA has been in operation. Correspondents from Soviet state-controlled news media have, of course, operated in the United States for quite some time. But only two years ago, the Soviets were still jamming VOA's broadcasts in Russian and Central Asian languages as anticommunist propaganda.

Even absent any clear idea how long glasnost, or for that matter, its originator, Mikhail Gorbachev, will last, the opening to VOA is still a welcome gesture.

But we hasten to note that VOA is not the only voice of America in Moscow. The Duke Ellington musical, ``Sophisticated Ladies,'' has just opened there, and Soviet first lady Raisa Gorbachev was seen recently hobnobbing with some of the cast. Any country is so much more than the mere sum of its ideological, economic, and foreign-policy parts, but the United States in particular has produced voices, ideas, a whole way of thinking, that have caught imaginations far beyond American borders.

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