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Is Donald Trump Vladimir Putin's 'most useful idiot'?

Is Donald Trump Vladimir Putin's 'most useful idiot'?
Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied that Moscow tampered with the U.S. election, rejecting as “utter nonsense” the notion that the Kremlin favored Trump. (Mikhail Klimentyev / Associated Press)

To the editor: Doyle McManus paints a disturbing picture of the love affair between Russian President Vladimir Putin and President-elect Donald Trump. ("Vladimir Putin's modest investment in cyberspying? It's paying off, big league," Opinion, Dec. 14)

Events of the past couple of years have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that Putin is bent on restoring Russia's domination of eastern Europe, boosting its influence in the Middle East and weakening the power of the U.S. and western Europe, and he apparently has no qualms about using dirty tricks. When interviewed in Austria last April, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called Putin "a smart but truly evil man."

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I hope Trump will soon realize that despite Putin's flattery, his true opinion of our president-elect is quite contemptuous: He likely views Trump as his most useful idiot.

Ted Carmely, Sherman Oaks

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To the editor: In reading McManus' list of items that Russia wants from the United States, it appears that these things are also in our interest. Imagine if we were to strive for the opposite, which would mean:

- We refuse to recognize Russia as a great power, seeking to keep its people in a humiliated state.

- We maintain, and even expand, the presence of NATO on Russia's western border.

- We maintain sanctions stemming from Russia's actions in Ukraine. These are well meaning, but they serve only to provoke belligerence.

- We refuse to cooperate with Russia in the battle against Islamic State and seek to topple Syrian leader Bashar Assad. Assad may be a nasty strongman, but we have seen what toppling the dictators in Libya and Iraq has done.

- We continue with our plans to put missiles in eastern Europe, right at Russia's doorstep. We objected to missiles in Cuba, did we not?

- We refuse to join with Russia on talks pertaining to cyber warfare.

It seems that Trump, in acknowledging Russia and our common interests, is moving to reduce tensions.

Edwin Tucker, Glendale

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To the editor: The airing out of evidence that Russia hacked both the Democratic and Republican parties and leaked documents to favor Trump is alarming on multiple levels.

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That members of Congress refused to air these concerns prior to the election because it would hurt their chances reflects great cynicism; that Trump encouraged it over the summer suggests foreknowledge; and worst of all, that there are still unreleased documents on the Republican Party suggests that potential leaks can be held over its members as they assume control of Congress and the White House.

Investigations into Russian hacking must step beyond narrow party interests. If our elected representatives are motivated by doing what's right for the country, they will fear nothing that comes out of a resolution of this mess. They will go after the truth wherever it leads them.

David Zingmond, Los Angeles

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