- - Sunday, February 16, 2020

I was 16 in 1979 when Russia invaded Afghanistan. My father told me to avoid conscription at any cost, as my life in Afghanistan, unlike in Eastern Europe, wouldn’t be worth an hour’s purchase. In 1981 I joined St. Petersburg University, where a professor said not every country is “democracy material.”

The U.N. observer mentioned in Gary Anderson’s recent op-ed, “Syria is now an empire of rubble, beholden to Iraq and Russia, with Assad as a puppet ruler” (Web, Feb. 13), was right in claiming that there were no good guys in the Middle East. Things haven’t changed much, and the West’s attempts to oust a Kremlin-backed dictator — successful in Iraq and Libya and unsuccessful in Syria — resulted only in the appearance there of the Islamic State. Naturally, this attracted a large number of Russian-Muslim separatists, but instead of just shouting, “Good riddance to bad rubbish,” Vladimir Putin saw his chance to become the new sheriff in the region: By raining Islamic State positions with cruise missiles and getting a naval port in the Mediterranean and a military airbase in Khmeimim.

Ayn Rand said that we can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality. We see the proof of this clearly with the U.S. intervention to create a Western-style democracy abroad succeeding only in South Korea and failing everywhere else.

MERGEN MONGUSH

Moscow



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