LETTER TO THE EDITOR
To the Editor:
It is always instructive to obtain analysis of world events from such a long-standing Kremlin insider such as Yevgeny Primakov ("Russia and America after September 11: Convergent Interests, Divergent Perspectives", In the National Interest, vol. 1, no. 7). But the reader should proceed with caution. Yevgeny Primakov has a history of being brought in as a "political plumber" to save Russian administrations or policies in grave danger. (Those interested in more details on Primakov's career can consult the "Profile" I published in RFE/RL Business Watch Vol. 2 number 7 & 8.)
Primakov, who failed at his attempts to broker a negotiated settlement to the last war, is again challenged by the specter of an American-led campaign to accomplish what was not achieved during the last Gulf War, the removal of Saddam Hussein. Certainly, it is noteworthy that he concurs with the analysis of his former counterpart, George Tenet of the CIA, concerning the threat of Al-Qaeda. His warnings of not inflaming the Muslim masses must not be ignored. His advice of not dividing "the world along religious or civilizational lines" is important. But his conclusions that the United States must "avoid actions that would cause other countries to throw their lot in with terrorist organizations" is irrelevant to any American-sponsored military action against Iraq. Yevgeny Primakov's conclusion, which attempts to forestall America from its mission of making the planet safer for all the world's citizens, must be rejected.
Paul M. Joyal is Editor in Chief of the Daily Report on Russia and the former Soviet Republics (http://www.dailyreportonrussia.com), a business intelligence newsletter published every business day since 1993.