Dear Editor:

Hal Foster reported from a memorial service for pro-Russian activists killed in a fire set by Ukraine’s pro-EU/US camp: “The woman’s vehemence stunned me…I’ve met hundreds of Russia-leaning Ukrainians over the past 12 years…I had never encountered outright hostility until this day.” (“Anti-Americanism Bubbling up in Ukraine,” June 17.)

So. A journalist — a breed perpetually befuddled by predictable consequences and reactions — was surprised. As if, out of the blue, a people who had always been friendly to Americans “suddenly” resent America. One is certainly mystified as to what they might resent. Surely not the civil war we’ve stoked in their country, ala Yugoslavia, and which has now come to a head?

I realize, as many Americans do, that the job of journalists is to flaunt their cluelessness by way of “informing” us, but really we’re observing these overeducated sorts grope their way through the obvious, as if in darkness, and finally bring us a diluted version of a conclusion we knew before we started reading. However, in this case, rather than conclude that the U.S. has poked a finger in Russia’s eye one too many times, Mr. Foster ends: “I walked away concluding that the United States has a lot of work to do to win the hearts and minds of the millions of Ukraine’s Russia-leaning population.”

So. We just have to explain better our wonderful intentions, to win ‘em over? Having concluded thus, Mr. Foster considers himself “sobered.” My summary of his slow observations: If the U.S. is propping up fascists in your country and you’re opposed to it, then you’re “anti-American.”

No doubt the folks Mr. Foster spoke with will be written off as ‘victims of Russian propaganda.’ But unlike what we did to Serbia, where the West’s aggression was direct and visible yet where anti-Americanism has been slow to take hold, in Ukraine our culpability requires a little elementary math. Evidently, there are people in Odessa who can still put two and two together. Now if only Mr. Foster could.