Friday, October 17, 2003; Page A28
While Russian Ambassador Yuri Ushakov praised President Bush for leaving behind the Cold War legacy ["Old Habits Die Hard," op-ed, Oct. 8], Mr. Bush would be well served to re-read history. Then, as now, an American president developed a strong bond with Russia's autocrat as an ally against a greater evil.
"I just have a hunch that [Josef] Stalin doesn't want anything but security for his country," President Franklin D. Roosevelt said as he was packing for Yalta in 1944. "If I give him everything I possibly can and ask nothing from him in return, noblesse oblige, he will work with me for a world of democracy and peace," Mr. Roosevelt told William C. Bullitt, a former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union.
On another occasion, Mr. Roosevelt said that "what helps a lot is that Stalin is the only man I have to convince. Joe doesn't worry about a Congress or a Parliament. He's the whole works."
These sentiments might as well have come from Mr. Bush praising his pal Vladimir Putin, whose neo-Stalinist domestic policy is turning Russia into a militaristic, xenophobic, anti-Western closed society once again.
Foundation for Civil Liberties