Opposing Chemical Pact Isn't Isolationism
"World Views Clash on Weapons Treaty" (April 15) implies that Republican opponents of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) are "isolationists." This is based on the simplistic notion that foreign policy is divided into only two camps - the "internationalists" and "isolationists."
Republicans between the world wars, between Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower, were isolationists. Yet arms control and disarmament agreements were central to Republican policy. Naval fleets were limited by the Washington Treaty of 1922, whose restrictions were continually widened by additional talks. The restrictions were finally abandoned in 1937 in the face of German, Japanese, and Italian rearmament programs. Which was the internationalist policy: adhering to arms control agreements or abandoning them to meet the Axis threat?
In 1928 there was even an attempt to "outlaw" war in the Kellogg-Briand Pact, named for Secretary of State Frank Kellogg. The pact renounced war "as an instrument of national policy." Of the 15 High Contracting Parties that signed, all but Ireland were involved in World War II. Believing that America could turn its back on the world because great problems had been put under control of international law was at the very heart of the isolationist outlook. Wise Republicans have learned from their forefathers' mistakes.
CWC opponents expect the US to remain engaged in the world. They thus worry about an agreement that cannot be verified and will not be signed by many of the rogue states most likely to employ chemical weapons. The CWC then only serves to justify US unilateral disarmament. The more America's capabilities decline, as they are doing across a broad spectrum under a relentless downsizing of the US military, the more "self-deterrence" based on weakness will lead to an isolationist posture.
William R. Hawkins
Senior Research Analyst
Staff, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) of California
Stop criminals, not guns
"Mexicans Too Have a Problem Border: Awash in US Guns" (April 11) illuminates well the problem of gun control, although perhaps not in the way the author intended.
International traffic in military weapons by organized crime interests is an abomination and should be interdicted by governments using every legal means. It would be fuzzy-headed, however, to equate that situation with that of the hapless lawyer in Mexico City who resorts to criminalizing himself to obtain a sporting arm for traditional use. In this use his illicit Perazzi will be less a threat to his neighbors than the gentleman's automobile, contributing to Mexico City's notorious air pollution.
If gun control advocates get their way and private ownership of firearms is banned in the US, will we not share the plight of our honest Mexican neighbors, unarmed in the face of a criminal element that can access guns as easily as it does drugs?
The honest armed, or at least potentially armed, citizen remains a cornerstone of our free society. The Second Amendment protects the First, as originally intended. Could this be among the many good reasons why so many Mexicans strive to live in the US?
Cyprus is divided too
"World Mobilizes Help for North Korean Hunger" (April 11) refers to North and South Korea as "the last of the cold war's divided nations." Let us not forget the Republic of Cyprus, divided since 1974 as a result of the Turkish invasion and occupation of the northern part of the island. Separated by walls, checkpoints, and barbed wire, Nicosia represents the last of Europe's divided capital cities. Although not a direct consequence of the cold war, the division of Cyprus is reminiscent of the cold-war era.
St. Louis, Mo.
Your letters are welcome. Letters for publication must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Letters should be mailed to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, faxed to 617-450-2317, or e-mailed (200 words maximum) to email@example.com