• San Diego, Calif.

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In his Jan. 11 article, “Gas warning hitting home,” David Howell portrays Russia and Ukraine as Europe’s bogeymen. But that is unfair and foolish. In truth, all the fuss about the “natural gas war” is a result of Europe’s shortsighted attitude toward Eastern Europe, in general. Some folks had advocated diversification of energy in the past, but Europe’s energy supply became a means of renewed political separation on the old continent — 20 years after the Iron Curtain came down.

The hysteria must stop. Both Russia and Ukraine belong to Europe. Russia may not ever apply for formal membership in the European Union, but the way to deal with Russia should be one of decent, patient negotiations and agreements. In short, firm but respectful collaboration in lieu of demonizing it.

rolf siegen

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