Once again you have printed an article on the need to understand, teach, and analyze non-Western cultures. The opinions expressed by Freedman are quite correct; understanding other societies is essential to our survival as a nation. The downside is that all this has been said again and again, and the situation is not improving--our young people still do not study foreign languages or cultures. Appealing to teen-agers to study Russian, Japanese, or Chinese for the sake of their nation's future is not a productive approach.
There is, however, another way. We must utilize an invaluable resource that is unique to the United States--the brainpower of those who speak the foreign language fluently, who have been trained in the ways of another culture for most of their lives, who have first-hand knowledge and understanding--the immigrants!
The approximately 150,000 former Soviet citizens who came to the U.S. during the last 10 years are a national treasure that is not being used nearly enough. The relatively few who found a niche in the academe or a think-tank are a drop in the bucket. News and analysis of the Soviet Union is supplied by foreign correspondents who by and large are unable to speak or read Russian with ease, domestic journalists who are far too easily misled, and by the few legitimate Sovietologists who are seldom available to the public.