Putin leaning toward the West is no surprise

Although Michael McFaul, who wrote 'Putin's risky westward turn' (Nov. 9, opinion page), knows much about Russian politics, I think he might be overdramatizing the risk to President Putin vis-à-vis his pro-West leanings. The geopolitical ramifications after Sept. 11 have forever changed post cold-war doctrine. Surely, even Mr. Putin's detractors understand this. Having been a part of the KGB, Putin is intimately aware of the direct risks to Russia from fanatical regimes - and therein lies, at least partially, his mandate to cooperate with the defense/intelligence community in the West.

Frank B. Salisbury Palatka, Fla.

Greenspan's cuts won't help

I do not agree with the article "Greenspan the activist gets bolder" (Nov. 7) that states Alan Greenspan's actions will be able to inflate America out of this recession, which could turn out to be a depression. For the past 11 to 12 years, the Japanese have tried all the tricks Mr. Greenspan is using, and Japan is still in a depression/recession.

I have read that, before Greenspan became head of the Federal Reserve, he vowed not to let the Kondratieff wave (a theory that world economies go into a longer-lasting and deeper recession every 60 years or so due to the excesses built up over those 60 years) take place if he became Federal Reserve chief. I think when the Dow had crashed in 1987, that was the start of a Kondratieff wave, but it was inflated away. And it will take time to reduce the excesses (debt, overinflated stock market, etc.) from America's financial institutions.

Mike Hanscom Richmond, Va.

The numerous issues facing Lombok

Regarding your Nov. 5 article "Indonesian moderates send militant packing": As an American who spends approximately 10 months a year in Lombok, it was good to see a newspaper dig deep into this story. The tragedy in Lombok is that the Western world has changed the island's culture from an agrarian-based economy to a tourist-based one. Now this tourist economy has suddenly stopped producing an income, and Lombok is suffering the consequences.

Lombok is not a model of stability. Graft at all governmental levels, corruption of the police department, and petty theft are part of the national character. But Lombok also has many wonders and beauties. Blue lagoons, gardens, fruit growing everywhere, and friendly people. Lombok has the good and the bad, and I praise your newspaper for looking deeper into the culture and the people during very difficult times in Indonesia.

Greg Luke Atascadero, Calif.

Thanks for positive reporting

Thank you for your Nov. 8 article "Islam on campus": I think that as the war in Afghanistan drags on, and the American people are subjected to a lot of negative articles and stories about Muslims and Islam, it is even more important that a balanced view be shown. This article served that very important purpose - and, as a recent convert to Islam, I find that very heartening. Please keep up the good work.

James O. Hacking III St. Louis

Setting the record straight

Thank you so much for "Setting the record straight: Japan bombed Alaska, too" (Nov. 7). As mentioned, the actions in Alaska have been forgotten by all except historians, as has the fact that the retaking of Attu in May of 1942 by the Army's Seventh Division was the first United States territory liberated from the Japanese, who had invaded Attu and neighboring Kiska during the battle of Midway in the south.

Sandor P. Walker Thomaston, Maine

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