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We need Russia as a partner, not as a punching bag [Letter]

I enjoyed reading and agree with Jerome Israel's commentary "The U.S. needs Russia" (Aug. 23)

At a time when the entire Middle East is in chaos and aflame, it seems strange that U.S. leaders would pick a fight with Russia over Ukraine that could lead to another world war.

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We need to put our feet in the shoes of the Russians in order to realize why they are so upset. NATO has adopted a very aggressive stance toward Russia ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The alliance, which should have been disbanded in 1989, has marched relentlessly eastward, absorbing former Soviet satellites. It has established a missile defense system right on Russia's border, illegally and savagely bombed Russia's historical ally Serbia in 1999, and armed and trained the Georgians to attack the South Ossetians and Abkhazians in 2008.

Instead of working with Russia and help the world's largest nation by area to properly transition to a true democracy in 1989, we merely plundered Russia's immense resources and sought to break up the country. It should come as no surprise that Russia is pushing back.

In the interest of preventing WWIII, we need to change our foreign policy 180 degrees and realize that we shouldn't provoke trouble on Russia's border. Now more than ever, we need Russia as a partner for her resources and vital expertise in the Middle East.

Michael Pravica, Henderson, Nev.

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