- The Washington Times - Monday, October 11, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The overly harsh column by Jeffrey T. Kuhner headlined “A modern mafia state” (Opinion, Oct. 1), regarding current conditions in the Republic of Croatia, was off-balance to a great degree and lacked needed foresight.

I do not dispute Mr. Kuhner’s description of the post-World War II horrors perpetrated against Croatia’s opposing military and civilians by the victorious communist army. That inherited, horrible baggage is still felt in the new nation-state of Croatia and, in general, by many Croatian-Americans.

I do disagree with his description of the current situation in this important southeastern European republic. Today’s Croatians are children of those victims and victors. Yet the Croatian people continue to build jointly a future for a free, independent and democracy-based government founded on a market-based economy. It is true that there still is corruption in Croatia, but recent governments and the relevant national institutions of Croatia have been working diligently to eliminate this cancer from Croatian society. This is especially true under current Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor. Success in this regard is steadily being achieved. Testifying to the much-improved living conditions in Croatia is its tied-for-12th ranking alongside Japan and Brazil in the 2010 Quality of Life Index from International Living magazine - an index that includes an array of economic, political and other relevant factors.

Vitriolic criticisms such as those offered by Mr. Kuhner - including his “moral rot” and “gangster ruling class” remarks - are rarely supportive and do not offer any solutions or suggestions for improvement. It is the least constructive thing Croatia needs today. NATO recently accepted Croatia as a full member state, and the republic is on the doorstep of European Union membership. These international institutions apparently have recognized the enormous progress the Republic of Croatia has achieved in a short time. This apparently has escaped recognition by your columnist.

ZVONKO M. LABAS

Rockville, Md.

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