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Money Is Not the Solution to Intelligence Flaws

Regarding the editorial "Be Intelligent After the Cold War," April 16: If money were the only issue, you might be right to endorse the Clinton administration's extraordinary plan to increase the CIA and other intelligence budgets - at $28 billion - more than the federal budget for education. But money is only symptomatic of the problem. All of the spies and satellites money could buy did not prevent the disasters of Vietnam and Iran, where we clung to regimes out of touch with their own populations.

The Clinton administration is now making two equally serious mistakes. It is much too partisan and intrusive in its support for Boris Yeltsin in the hope that he will impose our version of the free market (and concessions to Western businesses), despite the hardship this is causing. We deliberately overlook the increasingly dictatorial nature of his rule and lump together his moderate constitutional opponents with the extremists. The result is likely to be dictatorship by Mr. Yeltsin or by his most vehem ent opponents.

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Likewise, in the Middle East, the Clinton administration, in its unbalanced support for Israel, is alienating the Arab world and fueling the very fundamentalism it fears. Cloaks and daggers and their electronic equivalents cannot prevent these errors. They only feed the illusions that give rise to a manipulative foreign policy that fails to address the basic issues. David Keppel, Essex, Conn.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please fax letters to (617) 450-2317 or address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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