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Failed Coup in Soviet Union

August 25, 1991

Maybe its premature to call the Soviet coup's reported failure a victory for the forces of reform and openness, but it should help us to understand how slippery Mikhail Gorbachev's high-wire act over the opposing forces of hard-line rightists and impatient radicals has been. Pollyanna herself would blush at the notion that only sweetness and light will now prevail while bitter nationalist and ethnic disputes throughout Eastern Europe continue and may now even intensify.

But wouldn't it be great if wise leadership in all the seats of power gave us the prospect of an era in which superpower status was irrelevant, self-determination was not a euphemism for Balkanization and economic and environmental interdependence were universally acknowledged? Hey, maybe tiny Costa Rica, with no military force and only a small constabulary, will become a role model!

FRANZ KRELL

Los Angeles

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