Thank you for printing Bennett Ramberg's Oct. 11 Opinion piece, "North Korea has the bomb. Now what?" It brings some common sense to the babble of voices about North Korea.
The basic problem here is that the North Koreans have relied on the threat of force to get them what they need from the world. They suppose that that's the way the world works. Can anyone blame them for coming to this conclusion? Our own US government has long worked on the supposition that, as the only superpower, it can call the shots and that lesser powers must go along.
Mr. Ramberg reminds us of the realities of nuclear proliferation. We cannot rely on our superior force to stop the North Korean nuclear development.
He makes good suggestions for an alternative approach using measures such as information sharing.
Beyond this immediate problem, we ought to begin to realize that there is a better way to deal with one another, as nations as well as individuals.
A foreign policy based on respect and help is much more likely to lead to a world that is at peace.
In response to Bennett Ramberg's Oct. 11 Opinion piece about North Korea: "Dear Leader" Kim Jong Il did exactly what he said he would do. He promised that he would conduct a test of his nuclear weapon, and he did precisely that – he tested. Mr. Ramberg's points about the failure of both US political parties' policies to deter North Korea are well taken.
But Ramberg's way forward does not take into account the North Korean juche, "self-reliance," or the great powers' influence on the Korean peninsula.
Contrary to intelligence estimates, North Korea has a very strong hand going forward – even under the most condign censure. China and Russia hold the keys to North Korea's containment. To limit remedies to either UN or US measures would be a grave mistake.
Wilson F. Engel, III
John Hughes's Oct. 11 Opinion column, "Problems in Iraq should not deter US commitment to freedom," makes the false assertion that postwar problems in Iraq are due in part to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's "apparent decision to sideline the State Department."
The State Department was well represented on the staff of Lt. Gen. Jay Garner (US Army, ret.) and in the Coalition Provisional Authority. Many senior staff members with Coalition Provisional Administrator Ambassador L. Paul Bremer were from the State Department.
And senior State Department officials served as advisers heading Iraqi ministries prior to the transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqi interim government on June 28, 2004. To claim that the State Department was "sidelined" is simply inaccurate.
Deputy assistant secretary of defense for Public Affairs
Thanks for a great Oct. 6 article, "How Al Qaeda views a long Iraq war."
It confirms what many of us have long feared – that the US invasion and continued occupation of Iraq is a tremendous recruiting tool for Al Qaeda.
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