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Letters to the Editor: A leader who rules with mob-like paranoia and chaos — Putin or Trump?

President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin sit before their meeting.
President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin sit together before their meeting in Geneva on Wednesday.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: Columnist Jonah Goldberg describes Russian President Vladimir Putin as a cross between a conventional mob boss, a James Bond movie villain and a Latin American strongman who has remained in power for decades by intimidating domestic opposition, keeping Russian society in a constant state of paranoia and crisis, treating relations with adversaries as a zero-sum game, and seeing summit meetings primarily as propaganda opportunities.

It sounds like Putin and former President Trump were classmates at the same school of political science. No wonder they have embraced each other so warmly.

Noel Johnson Glendale

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To the editor: Wait, what? I had to read Goldberg’s piece scolding President Biden for meeting with Putin twice, just to make sure my eyes were not deceiving me.

Though he cites other presidents for meeting with past Russian leaders, Goldberg does not include Trump’s one-on-one meeting with Putin in Finland — the one where he took Putin’s word over the intelligence of his own government.

Really? Not only does this insult my intelligence, it also discourages any hope I have of thoughtful debate appearing on your pages.

Roy Friedland, Los Angeles

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To the editor: I’ve been eagerly reading Goldberg for years, principally as opposition research. Trump changed him, knocked the blinders off, and made him see more clearly.

This latest essay is the best thing I’ve ever read by him. He clearly sees the objective truth of the matter. He’s made the nicest and most truthful comment about Jimmy Carter that I’ve ever seen from a conservative. And he clearly sees the dual reality of Putin and Biden.

Kudos to him.

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Paul Moser III, Palm Desert


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