Letters

Don't Limit European Union

I was taken aback by the editorial "How Big a Europe?" (March 18), which limited the construction of "an ethnically varied but efficiently united Europe" to economic and defense aspects. As my colleagues in the Union of European Federalists insist, the European Union, which started as an economic union, now has a popularly elected Parliament with limited authority and a Court of Human Rights. But to be effective the EU needs to become more of a political union and draft a constitution for a federal government.

Your editorial cited the Yalta deal as the origin of the cleavage of Europe. That pact enabled Stalin to take over Eastern Europe, some of it for a second time. Don't forget the earlier cleavage that resulted from the 1939 Von Ribbentrop-Molotov pact, which set off World War II as Hitler and Stalin invaded and divided up Poland.

It is essential that Poland be admitted to the EU in the near future, along with the Czech Republic - whose predecessor had been the only democracy in east-central Europe between the two world wars - and then the other democracies, including Hungary, Slovenia, and the Baltic nations.

Other aspirant members to the emerging European federation might be given "associate" status until they qualify for full membership. The former components of the dysfunctional Yugoslavia with EU tutelage would become peaceful, reconciled, democratized, and able to flourish within the larger, democratic European federation.

Then NATO might drop its anachronistic name and become either the core of the defense arm of the European federation, or the core of a volunteer world security force under a democratized UN. In both cases, member states could realize real peace dividends as the drain of financing expensive military establishments would be largely replaced by financing socioeconomic development.

John O. Sutter San Francisco

World Federalist Association

Northern California Council

US tobacco has competition

In her screed against US tobacco companies ("Tobacco Loss at Home Is a Gain Overseas," April 27, Opinion page), the author fails to mention that the No. 1 producer and seller of cigarettes in the world is the government-owned Chinese tobacco industry. In fact, tobacco production is that country's premier moneymaker.

US-made cigarettes account for only a small percentage of cigarette sales in other Asian countries that also have government-owned tobacco companies.

I gather the author feels that only American-made cigarettes should be hobbled in the world market, and that the ascendance of the communist Chinese tobacco industry at the expense of our own is a desirable outcome.

Perhaps in the future Americans will be smoking China's No. 1 export cigarette, Red Pagoda Mountain, instead of Marlboro Reds.

Wanda Hamilton

Miami Lakes, Fla.

Jesse Jackson's potential

"Jackson Raises the Curtain on a 'Working Class' Act" (April 28) says "skepticism among the Washington political elite" prevents some from taking the Rev. Jackson's potential presidential bid seriously at this time.

The same comments were issued by all the experts prior to Jackson's 1984 and 1988 campaigns. Jackson's appeal and power to mobilize the disenfranchised should not be underestimated. Jackson's message would attract all those left out of this current economic expansion - poor blacks, whites, Hispanics, and Asians alike. Jackson also possesses another ability that must make the Gores and Gephardts beware: the ability to wage an effective campaign on a shoestring budget.

Scott Wagner

Lawrence, Kan.

We welcome your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail, only a selection can be published, and we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Mail letters to "Readers Write," and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com

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