Restoring Normalcy to Nigeria

The article raised some thought-provoking issues. However, I think it is important to remain pragmatic, and for very good reasons.

Many large American companies have had a large business presence in Nigeria for years or decades; they are there for the ''long haul.'' Most try to remain apolitical. More than one-half of the employees of my employer's Nigerian subsidiary are Nigerian nationals, a large number of whom are in the United States at any one time for professional development.

If the US enacts trade or travel sanctions, isn't it obvious that these same people who are supposedly ''helped'' by US policies would actually be hurt?

Also, you can bet that other countries would be waiting in line to capitalize on any impediments to Americans doing business there. For example, the portion of Nigeria's oil presently sold to US markets could be sold to other countries, and the US would just import from somewhere else. Would anything really be gained? I think not.

Events in other developing countries clearly show that our ability to influence events with unilateral actions is extremely limited.

Perhaps we should rely on things like the free flow of information and the use of free markets to follow their natural course -- witness what happened to communism.

David J. Churchill, Pleasanton, Calif.

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