News Release

Foreign Policy Issues: Russia, Syria-Israel, Latin America, India-Pakistan

JANINE WEDEL
Author of “Collision and Collusion: The Strange Case of Western Aid to Eastern Europe,” Wedel is associate professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh and currently a fellow at the National Institute of Justice. She said Monday: “One of the very first things that the new Russian president Vladimir Putin did was to pardon Yeltsin, who is named in several investigations. The Clinton administration tends to see Putin as one of the ‘reformers,’ but these so-called reformers have been more about wealth confiscation than wealth creation. Their leader, Anatoly Chubais, is also under investigation and the so-call Chubias Clan has benefited from hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. economic aid and loans from the international financial institutions.”

STEPHEN ZUNES
Chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at the University of San Francisco, Zunes said: “Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan acknowledged in his diaries in 1967 that there was no strategic rationale for Israel seizing the Golan… There has been a pattern of human rights abuses by Israeli occupation forces against Syrian Druze living in the Golan, the overwhelming majority of whom want the occupation to end. Syria’s military strength has declined markedly in recent years with the end of Soviet support — while Israel, with large-scale U.S. assistance and its own sophisticated armaments industry, is more powerful than ever.”
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LARRY BIRNS
Director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, Birns said: “Much of Latin America is caught up in economic recession, one-third of the population lives below the poverty line, while the hemisphere’s basic institutions are democratic more as a matter of form than reality. The notion that a hemispheric free trade area will bring the millennium’s nirvana is now being challenged by such divergent economic models as Venezuela’s emphasis on a mixed economy and Brazil’s focusing on Europe as an alternative trading partner.”
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ZIA MIAN
A researcher at the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies at Princeton University, Mian said: “India has lost the capacity to govern Kashmir except through violence. The present insurgency has been going on for a decade and tens of thousands of people have died. While Pakistan insists on UN involvement to resolve Kashmir, India wants bilateral negotiations. It’s past time for the Kashmiris to be able to speak for themselves. India and Pakistan have fought out their differences and the people of Kashmir died as a consequence.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020