Letter to the Editor

Re “Professor speaks on Russian foreign policy for lecture series” (Oct. 24, page 4),

I was flattered and delighted to see that you had included an article about my presentation.

However, as I read the article I became increasingly dismayed, because the substance of my talk was not accurately reported. Two particular things stood out. First, the article correctly notes that I called for a new policy of containment–but neglected to fully report how I defined that policy. I did not only say that the US had to draw red lines against possible Russian intervention inside NATO, as the article accurately reported. I also made quite an important point about the necessity for the US not to threaten Russia unnecessarily, and to define “containment” as George Kennan originally had done, to include the importance of taking away an enemy so that an authoritarian regime falls from its own weight. I criticized current US sanctions policy for its failure to take that into account, and for provoking anti-Western Russian nationalism that serves to support the Putin regime. There was no mention of that in the article.

Second, while some in the audience appeared to have missed it, I included a slide listing things that the US had done to provoke Russia in the past, including–despite what is mentioned in the article–NATO expansion. I also mentioned the absence of UN Security Council support for NATO airstrikes in Kosovo and the US-led war in Iraq, and the absence of a new Marshall Plan in the early 1990s.
Prof. Kimberly Marten

New York, NY

(Editor’s note: we stand by our story.)

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