Letters

Dangers of the 'Kosovo principle' The American people should heed the Monitor's global report on ethnic self-determination ("The drive for countries of their own," April 7) and Libertarian defense analysts like Doug Bandow ("Warmongering in the name of peace," April 7).

If the Kosovo principle of international warfare succeeds by bombing the Serbs into yielding their sovereignty in the name of protecting ethnic Albanian human rights, many other interventionist opportunities loom on the horizon. In the name of the Kosovo principle, we might consider the following slogans: "Liberate Chechnya, Bomb Moscow;" "Liberate Tibet; Bomb Beijing;" and "Liberate multiple oppressed peoples, Bomb Jakarta."

If these and various African cases are deemed beyond the reach of NATO, why not "Liberate the Northern Irish, Bomb London?" or "Liberate the Basques, Bomb Madrid"?

The only country that may be beyond the reach of this principle is the United States. However, if the rest of the world ever acted in unison, Washington, too, could become the target of the Kosovo principle to liberate the various domestic groups who claim to have been oppressed by US policy.

If the Kosovo principle succeeds and persists, the world will become a much more dangerous place.

Edward A. Olsen Salinas, Calif.

Troubling comparison Regarding your opinion piece "Where's the Muslim voice on Kosovo?" April 14): To afford the writer a medium like the Monitor through which to accuse Israel of "ethnic cleansing" is thoroughly irresponsible.

There is no comparison between the horrors perpetrated by the Serbs and the condition of Palestinians, who have struggled for political rights, but who have not been expelled or killed. Indeed, Israel and the Palestinians have recognized each other and are engaged in a process of negotiation, however tortuous.

By allowing a term like "ethnic cleansing" to be so misused, you contribute to its cheapening and ultimate meaninglessness. This kind of "crying wolf" must be avoided and condemned if we are to take seriously the very serious crime against humanity "ethnic cleansing" indicates.

Gregg Sneirson Brookline, Mass.

Generation Y I appreciate your accurate assessment of a generation of which, at age 22, I consider myself a member ("For today's teens, rebellion is pass," April 12). At a time when advertising would make "Revolutionary!" a buzz word and have a Chihuahua pose as Che Guevara, rebellion is conformity. I am the child of Marxist-Leninist parents who had to obtain permission from the Communist Party to carry me to term.

Throughout my teens, I followed in their footsteps, seeking revolution and justice. Yet recent years have found me embracing institutions I once viewed as oppressive. As I grow, I find myself regretting the lack of discipline with which I was raised. As children of the children of the 1960s, we are sure to seek a return to virtue and morality.

There is one piece I feel your article was missing. An enhancement to the trends you noted is the libertarian movement. The election of Jesse Ventura as governor of Minnesota is evidence of its appeal to my generation. Libertarian views seem to embrace contradictions between social and fiscal issues - encouraging individual responsibility, choice, and charity. Public policies that bridge divisive extremes would go far in dismantling the black versus white, liberal versus conservative, rich versus poor political paradigm, and maybe return us to the polls.

L. Gibson Caldwell III Milwaukee, Wis.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. We can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. 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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