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Shevardnadze's Resignation

December 30, 1990

I am disappointed in the shortsighted comments expressed about Eduard Shevardnadze's resignation as Soviet foreign minister by Alexander Cockburn, usually an insightful political commentator (Column Left, Commentary, Dec. 24).

Shevardnadze is no "patsy" to the West and no batboy for Secretary of State James Baker. As the Soviet Union consciously dismantled the social and political structures that had retarded its own growth and kept its neighboring nations in Eastern Europe shackled and stunted, the West looked on in amazement. Ronald Reagan, George Bush and James Baker were not the forces that made the Soviet Union take the difficult course it did. Domestic realities and the failure of the Soviet system called for leaders like Mikhail Gorbachev and Shevardnadze to take the bold initiatives they have taken.

I wish to recommend to Mr. Cockburn that he rework his perspective to consider which direction the world would have taken had Andrei Gromyko rather than Shevardnadze handled the last several years at the helm of the Soviet Foreign Ministry. Perhaps we would have had Christmas Eve applause from Cockburn that Gromyko had for yet another year helped keep the Soviet Union and its satellites in the Dark Ages.

STEVEN CLEMONS, Los Angeles

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