I have been reading through some recent letters to PRAVDA online. I can't help but feel the overwhelming pessimism over certain issues. Though I admit that the Muslim conflict already stands at a level which could be called WW III, I think that it is far from the end of the world. I was delighted to see the US Shift the ban on the ABM Project. From an American perspective, the nature of the world has changed, and we now see this not as a US/Russian struggle for Nuclear Supremacy, in fact, no one cares. We consider Russia to be an ally, and have for many years. What we see now is the potential of targets falling in the US and former Soviet Union, which I think we would all classify under the word 'us.' This reality was brought home to Americans on September 11th, and our main concern in not that we will have a Nuclear conflict with Russia or China, in fact the idea seems absurd to all but the most hard line old school conservatives. Our main concern is that some lunatic will set one off by ground or by air. To this I have a few things to say of my own concerns: 1) All stolen Soviet arms must be remanded back into proper military custody. I would hope that Russia would consider seeking US assistance in this matter, as it should be considered a top priority. Consider also the possibility that some powers will try to sell arms so as not to have them when someone comes to claim them. 2) Negotiations with China are of utmost importance. Our ally, and a country we consider to be in no way a direct threat. However they are suffering from an internal economic crisis which will make the sale of arms very appealing. Our nation is in a much better situation to offer financial aid to China than any other, but this is a matter to be taken up with Secretary of State Colin Powell 3) If these matters can be resolved, the world will be a safer place for us. Other regions are not so lucky. The escalation in the India Pakistan Conflict I the most likely to lead to a nuclear exchange. It is important to note that the population living in the border territories is neither of mainstream Hindu or Muslim culture, and is viewed as an anathema to both countries. They will not hesitate to exterminate the entire region. Only pressure from joint outside powers could dissuade this. 4) Osama Bin Laden is clearly bent on perpetuating war as a means of isolating his people in hopes that they fall back to fundamentalist faith, and become divorced from the world. In recognizing this I hope you realize that the goal must be undermine his organization and mechanisms, and not his faith or his people. 5) On a smaller note, Lukashenko, or as we sometimes say Lunaticashenko is a problem. I happen to know people in Byelarus, and I am well aware of what has gone on under his regime. His opposition withdrew from the elections obviously under extreme pressure we must assume to be some sort of threat. If it were my problem I wouldn't know what to do. He's Milosevic waiting to happen. As you well know the US has had this sort of problem many times. Satellite states whose rulers refuse to stand down. We can only hope that the situation remains under control until our united powers are strong enough to force him to stand down. 6) I would hope that all parties are in support of President Yassir Arafat's Palestinian State. This is perhaps a rare opportunity due to the unwarranted attacks by Sheron that Palestinians have rallied around the secular leader. This is a one time chance to grant a concession to the Muslim world without forming a theocracy. I doubt it will stop Hamas terrorists from carrying out attacks, but it will deprive them of a cause, and withdraw popular support for them from their own people. I hope this covers the world issues. I didn't touch on the economic crisis in Japan or Russia, but I'm not really in a position to do so. I hope at the very least this adds some concept of the way most educated Americans feel about the situation. (Yes, in reality most Americans are more worried about what color they will die their hair next week, but that's out internal problem) If any of this finds it's way into Pravda I would of course be greatly honored, otherwise I hope it served to edify you on our position and views. Best of luck to Putin, and much hope for a future between our two nations.
Jon von Schwabach
US military analysts are concerned about the appearance of a new Russian sniper rifle known as T-5000
On December 14, President Putin holds his annual Q&A session with Russian and foreign journalists. This conference is considered to be the beginning of his presidential campaign