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U.S. Must Support All Democracies

January 30, 2002

I think Selig Harrison has summed up "America's India Problem" very well (Opinion, Jan. 27). To my mind, the root cause was America's Cold War policy directed at containing the Soviets during the last 50 years. It is more than 10 years since there has been a Soviet threat, but America still continues its outdated policy, supporting military dictatorships, even against another democracy, purely for political expediency.

If America is serious about exporting democracy to the rest of the world, it should, in principle, support a democracy (no matter how bad) against any feudal regime or dictatorship, and thereby let dictators know that they cannot take U.S. support for granted. A foreign policy that will always support democracy elsewhere would be consistent with America's position as the most powerful democracy in the world.

Such a fundamental change in foreign policy will save the U.S. from having to destroy the dictatorships it once supported, as one can see from the past 50 years of such a lopsided policy. Let us hope U.S. support of Pakistan becomes a turning point in U.S. foreign policy.

Vijay V. Kulkarni

Glendale, Wis.

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Harrison clearly spells out the dangers of blindly supporting President Pervez Musharraf's regime without putting adequate pressure on him to rein in terrorists who attack India. The military buildup at the India-Pakistan border is the result of years of terrorist attacks on Indian soil, and there can be no peace in the region until Pakistan stops arming and aiding in the infiltration of terrorists into India.

Nalini Chervela

Sunnyvale, Calif.

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