'One China' in perspective
There are obvious flaws in the case presented by the Dec. 10 letter, "One China, Under Beijing," which is a response to the Nov. 22 letter, "Taiwan is not a 'renegade province.' " Seen from the perspective of someone not immersed in the long-standing "One China" debate, things appear much less confusing than the two letters would indicate. Throughout history there are countless examples of recognized governments being overthrown by new ones that eventually become accepted as legitimate governments themselves. The problem here is that the Communists did not finish the job. The previously recognized legitimate government of China (ROC) did not cease to exist - it was just pushed into a small corner of its territory. The new government of mainland China (PRC) became legitimate by virtue of the sheer power it amassed. But that hardly makes the remaining government on Taiwan any less legitimate. The change of status between the two in the United Nations was not based on any ideological shift; it was simple pragmatism.
By not taking over the entire nation in the first place, the PRC should not have the right to claim any portion that's left over. And since it's not practical for the ROC to continue harboring designs of getting the mainland back, the only thing left is for any future reunification to be the result of a gradual evolution of ideas that brings the two back to common goals and outlooks. Until then, both nations need to accept what the rest of the world has been dealing with for decades - there are two Chinas.
'Just saying no' not so easy
The author of the Dec. 3 letter, "Drugs and the CIA: Who's at fault?" equates the choice of buying cigarettes from a grocery store to buying drugs on the street, and comments, "I wonder if residents of L.A. ... thought about just not buying drugs."
I have taught in Washington, San Francisco, and San Diego, and have seen firsthand the reasons why people buy, sell, and do drugs. The hopelessness and extreme poverty as well as the crime rate certainly make it easy to "live for the moment," and make planning for the future a joke when you're worried about staying alive each night. I have also seen students rise above this lure, powerful as it is, and make something of their lives. These people are real heroes.
I am not trying to offer excuses for those who succumb, but I am trying to point out how the circumstances surrounding those in the inner cities make "just saying no" quite difficult.
Let's start talking with China
I cannot thank the author of the Nov. 29 letter, "Toward Chinese-American Understanding," enough; nor the Monitor for printing it.
In early May, after some rather heated exchanges with some "anti-normal relations" proponents, I wrote two of the major TV networks and asked: "Would it be worthwhile to arrange some discussions between Chinese and American citizens through satellite linkage - much as was done with Russia?"
Of course, both of those letters went completely unacknowledged. I then wrote the National Education Association and suggested an exchange program with an eye toward exploring each other's culture. That letter also went unanswered. Nevertheless, I am convinced that such exchanges - perhaps hosted by the first lady - could serve to bring about better relations.
Respect for Confederate flags
I would like to commend the author of the Nov. 29 letter, "The flag is not the problem," about the identity and meaning of the Confederate flags. Their meaning has been obscured by those wanting to make a racial issue out of them. Men fought and died under those flags, and they should be treated with the utmost respect.
Des Plaines, Ill.
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