Letters

A Marshall Plan for the Middle East

Regarding your June 8 editorial " 'The Storm in Which We Fly' " on the opportunity the G-8 summit should have provided concerning the Middle East: I was particularly intrigued with your assertion that President Bush "erred in not working behind the scenes with Arab leaders to propose their own initiative" for addressing Middle East objectives that merit priority attention.

Preparing for the G-8 summit, the president should have worked in concert with the other seven powers to devise a regionwide Middle East economic development initiative reminiscent of the Marshall Plan, which helped to rebuild war-torn Western Europe and repulse the Soviet Union's imperialist ambitions in those countries.

The timing of this year's G-8 summit coincided with the anniversary of former Secretary of State George Marshall's historic speech on June 5, 1947. Declaring US readiness to help the Europeans rebuild their economy, he invited them to devise their own economic recovery programs, for which he proposed American assistance. The Western European governments immediately accepted the invitation. The Marshall Plan resulted. The rest is impressive history.

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A comparable G-8 invitation to the entire Middle East today, dramatically evoking recollection of the Marshall Plan, could energize a Middle East development program, to which the G-8 countries could pledge assistance in concert with appropriate international agencies. Aid should be conditional on compliance with standards including promotion of democracy, protection of human rights, and opposition to terrorism. Formation of a regionwide customs union as an instrument for free-trade pacts with the G-8 countries could be a useful device for solidifying cooperation on a wide range of vital objectives.

This regional development strategy would have been a powerful inducement for Iraqis to quickly resolve their ethnic feuds and form a government ready to avail itself of all that the regional program had to offer. Swift resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and gaining diplomatic acceptance of Israel throughout the Middle East, could be among the regional program's other accomplishments. This is the vision that is currently needed in America's Middle East strategy.
David Steinberg
Alexandria, Va.
Former economist for the Marshall Plan

FCC regulations necessary?

Regarding your June 11 article "Small players want their share of airwaves": Low-power "stations" need their own frequencies outside or adjacent to the FM band. The FCC would not be able to regulate them because it would take too much manpower after the license is issued. The whole idea of having an FCC is to prevent such chaos.
Phillip Flotow
Berkeley, Calif.

Edward Fritts's complaint about "shoehorning more stations into an already overcrowded radio dial" seems dictatorial and inaccurate. Amateur radio operators like myself use just three KHz for an FM transmission. We usually buffer that in a 10 KHz channel. What is the justification for the 200 KHz allocated to each broadcaster? That's enough band space for 20 nonprofit groups.
Marc W. Abel
Powell, Ohio

Rethinking transportation choices

Regarding your June 14 article "New war on emissions": In Europe, you hardly ever see big SUVs, vans, or station wagons on the road. Those vehicles are the big gas-guzzlers and, thus, the prime air polluters. Americans should consider why they have to use big cars for mostly one-passenger motoring. I would like to see legislation that would discourage this irresponsible behavior.
Long S. Hwang
Houston

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