Letters

B>NAME-O-MATIC
ALREADY OBSOLETE
Thoroughly enjoyed the Name-O-Matic [WT, Sept. 29]; however, it has already fallen behind. After carefully checking through the Beltway Yellow Pages and the Small Business Administration's "Who's Who," I found out that all the names are taken!
A tip to those still searching for a unique corporate tag: Capitalizing a letter in the MidDle of your CompaNy's title in some SigNifcaNt way (although it is inCredibly awkWard to TyPe) makes it loOk as though theRE is some SigNIFiCant acroNYMic MesSAGE contained ThereIN.
Keep up the gooD wORK!
Tom Farnsworth
Columbus, Ohio

Editor's Note: Sorry, Tom. We just can't believe there is a Systems Systems Systems Inc. out there. And Science Procurement Consultants is stretching it a bit.

LOST IN TRANSLATION
I read your article entitled "Mr. Boris Goes to Washington with Hope for Business" [WT Sept. 29], in which two quotes from my conversation with your reporter were included. First of all, I was surprised by the quote: "Teaming up high-tech Russian enterprises with low-tech U.S. companies is just stupid." This is not something I said. We discussed the Russian reaction to the Pentagon decision to award the contract for defense conversion of Machinostroyenia to the U.S. company Double-Cola.
What I did say was that some Russians think that it's stupid. Some consider this a conspiracy. But there are some definite reasons from the U.S. why this decision was made. We discussed these reasons, and as the main one I mentioned the difference between the short-term approach to disarm a former enemy and the long-term approach to build opportunities for people who have been designing armament, to use their skills for peaceful purposes.
I am far from suggesting your reporter misquoted me intentionally. He may have misunderstood some lines of our discussion due to miscommunication.
The article compared the Pentagon's activities in the Russian military industry and those of the OPIC. These two organizations act for very different purposes. OPIC provides insurance for political risk and loan guarantees for projects, which makes business sense from American companies' points of view.
I don't believe that any private foundation will invest a substantial amount of money to change the current circumstances, in which the only profitable investments in Russia are in the development of natural resources or telecommunications, which ensures the fastest return. These types of business activities keep main Russian human resources from active participation in the market transformation of their economy, and could create a hostile reaction to ongoing market reformation among a substantial and influential part of the Russian society.
I know a few people who helped make this decision in the Pentagon. All of them are very sharp, definitely smart, highly professional and honest. I believe the others are held in high regard as well. So, my point is that their decision was made not because of a mistake or ignorance, but based on the merits of the short-term approach.
Ighor Uzhinsky
Cambridge, Mass.

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