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Judging Russia | Letters

It is American hubris that threatens world peace

Russian President <br align="block"/>Vladimir PutinMaxim Shemetov/Reuters

Stephen Kinzer smartly analyzes US leaders’ unrealistic and hypocritical characterizations of Russia’s activities on its southern border, but his analogy between Russian aggressiveness in its own neighborhood and our country’s in the Western Hemisphere understates his thesis (“Russia has behaved like any superpower would”).

The Russians own a limited concept of neighborhood, reflecting their stubborn peasant tradition. The United States’ economic growth machine knows no such limits. Its very existence is owed to Anglo-Saxons forsaking their neighborhood for a so-called city on a hill, a first step toward theft of half a continent, and more, from others. The world was their neighborhood.

The United States, as Russian President Vladimir Putin derisively observes, has always claimed to be an “exceptional” state unbeholden to the restraints of traditional statecraft. And now the uber-allianced United States, as it mindlessly pursues others’ labor and resources, insinuates itself into the world’s every local squabble, threatening to spiral each into a major international conflagration.

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Do Americans really want to be committed, as NATO now is, to defend undefendable so-called allies such as Latvia in the Russian neighborhood? Or to uninhabited islands off the coast of Japan? It is this hubris, not Russia, that threatens the peace of the world.

Dennis McNamee

Lee, N.H.