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Web Letter

While I appreciate the concern and the information presented in this article, readers like me would benefit far more if Zbigniew Brzezinski was discussed within the context of who else are among Senator Obama's closest advisers on the issue, because if his advisers collectively represent diverse views, then the reason for concern is considerably less, since a president would benefit from having access to differing takes on the issue. Similarly, while it's important to know what Brzezinski said in 1998, it would benefit us to know, in addition, what his stance has been in the post-9/11 world, and especially since having worked with Senator Obama. Lastly, it is difficult to imagine that improved relations with Russia somehow doesn't involve curbed Russian aggression. In any case, I recall Senator Obama addressing both Russia and Georgia's aggression at the debates--in contrast to Sen. McCain, he avoided insisting that Russia was entirely responsible.

Sarahana Shrestha

Brooklyn, NY

Nov 13 2008 - 11:40am

Web Letter

Until Vietnam, everybody was a hawk during the cold war. Brzezinski and Scowcroft have a book coming out, which should be interesting. They are capable foreign policy experts, and might be useful in the Middle East. However, Obama has to have some knowledge of foreign policy, and specific goals. While listening to their advice, he has to know enough to give them policy direction. He is the president, and they are advisers. Experts have their uses, but they have wreaked the worlds' economy. Hegemony and imperialism of any kind have no place in American foreign policy. We can lead by example, and help with economic development, but no telling people it is either our way or the highway. Self-determination means individuals and countries determine their own fate. We are not dictators of the world. One of the smartest things President Wilson did after World War I was to turn down any mandates in the Middle East. Hindsight was 20/20, because the US had just been through a bloody insurrection in the Philippines. I saw the Polish Foreign Minister on Zakaria's show, and he seemed pretty sharp! About 36 percent of Poland's trade is with Russia, and he wanted good relations between Poland and Russia. If Brezezinsiki is feeling hawkish toward Russia because of Poland, he is behind the curve on that issue. The Foreign Minister was also leery of frozen conflicts such as the Russian-Georgia mess. I don't think Poland and Russia have any serious differences, and we need to mind our own business.

Pervis James Casey

Riverside, CA

Nov 12 2008 - 7:06pm

Web Letter

Scheer suffers from Obama-buyer's remorse. Me too. Obama foreign policy is same old, same old, featuring a cast of the usual cold-war heavies.

Sad to say, but we're broke, the empire is fading, the oil is petering out, the spirit is lacking, and the leadership is truly Roman. Time to become like other faded empires: Britain, Holland, Spain.

But I worry that these cold enthusiasts have a war up their sleeve. To wit:

US leaders learned an important lesson a long time ago: War got us out of the depression. It wasn't till 1944 that unemployment was licked. It was licked because we fielded a multimillion-member army fighting abroad. In '44 25 percent of our GDP was based on deficit spending.

Our current crop of serial bubblers are at their wits' ends due to the demise of the tech bubble and the housing bubble. Is our next bubble to end all bubbles the war bubble?

Howard Kaplan

Belmont, MA

Nov 12 2008 - 6:38pm

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