Aiding the Soviet Union

September 13, 1991|By The Post-Crescent, Appleton-Neenah-Menasha, Wis.

THE LATEST and best argument in favor of massive U.S. aid for the citizens of what used to be the Soviet Union comes from the new Soviet foreign minister. The United States, the official argues, was prepared to do far more in behalf of Kuwait, which occupies a far less strategic rung than Russia on the ladder of international importance. Billions for Kuwait but only millions (if that) for Russia? Where is our sense of priorities? Where is our sense of history? Where is our sense of self-preservation?

We all know, of course, how to spell the three-letter word that dictates U.S. policy in the Middle East. Without Kuwait's oil to spur the United States to action, Saddam's troops would still be committing genocide in that 19th province of Iraq.

If the Bush administration and Congress are not going to help prevent this winter's starvation on the Russian steppes or in Moscow's streets, they should know that they will be passing on the best opportunity yet for securing lasting peace between the two nations.

Does anyone doubt the legacy of the Marshall Plan in Europe? That splendid example of national selflessness saved not only uncounted people, but a continent as well. And it guaranteed that America would have friends in the capitals of Europe all of these years since World War II. Whether for political or humanitarian reasons, it was the right policy to pursue.

If America could save Europe, is there a bona fide reason for doing any less for Russia? Or will we be content instead to save our money for the next war, a war that very well could be prevented if the United States takes the right actions now?

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