Obama should not condone torture
Regarding the April 16 article, "Terror memos authorized harsh interrogation techniques": President Obama's refusal to prosecute those responsible for torturing terrorist subjects has lost him much of any moral high ground he may have had.
Placating the CIA gives him an aura of weakness and acquiescence.
Congress needs to step up and hold public hearings with subpoenas and contempt of Congress verdicts. Now.
Regime change is not the right strategy for North Korea
Regarding the April 15 Opinion piece, "A bold Plan B for North Korea": This commentary by Ted Galen Carpenter calls Monday's United Nations Security Council statement "utterly anemic." And perhaps it is. But that shouldn't have surprised Mr. Carpenter, given the intense disagreements within the council on dealing with North Korea. This is precisely why his proposed "Plan B" won't work. He overestimates US leverage with China.
China isn't going to be "induced" to remove and replace Kim Jong Il's regime. Why would it want to? Such an action against its longtime ally would not be in the Chinese interest. China has close economic ties with Pyongyang; trade with North Korea totals $2 billion. More importantly, stability on the Korean peninsula has been the impetus for China's engagement in the six-party talks.
We know, from experience, that toppling a regime is not a risk-free endeavor. Surely, China understands that, too, and prefers to avoid an influx of refugees across its border.
Carpenter is right that there is need for innovative ideas on approaching North Korea, now that the future of the six-party talks is in jeopardy. But we can cross his proposal off the brainstorming list.
The Century Foundation
Ted Galen Carpenter's commentary ends by recommending that the US engage with China about regime change in North Korea. The price, predicts Mr. Carpenter, using more diplomatic words, would be abandoning South Korea and Taiwan.
Why not consider the possibility that that was the object all along, that North Korea has always been a cowboy sponsored by China in a "good guy, bad guy" show? A "distinct undertone of exasperation" is not a convincing counter-argument to the possibility of such profitable realpolitik . We need to consider seriously that China is entering a long-thought-out aggressive phase.
Lawrence J. Dickson
National City, Calif.
The Monitor welcomes your letters. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must include your full name; your city, state, and country; and your telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear on our website, www.CSMonitor.com. E-mail letters to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or mail letters to Readers Write, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.