The Challenge of Peace in El Salvador

The editorial "Salvador Breakthrough," Sept. 30, refers to the obstacles that still await the people of El Salvador following the recent agreement between the government and the FMLN rebels toward ending the civil war. Even when a cease-fire is achieved, the daunting task of opening Salvadoran society to true democracy remains. Popular participation in labor disputes, rural development, and economic policymaking has traditionally been repressed.The greater-than-ever gap between rich and poor - illustrated by a 55 percent unemployment rate, the fact that only half the population has access to clean drinking water or health services, and that 1 in 10 children dies before the age of five from largely preventable disease - is the real cause of the war and challenge to peace. The Peace, Democracy, and Development Act now in Congress would require that US military aid be set aside for reconstruction, and that cash presently going into government coffers be redirected to humanitarian purposes. Support for this bill is the best way for the US to keep up the momentum toward lasting peace in El Salvador. Carol Petersen, Chicago, Ill.

Don't discount geopolitics Regarding the article "Let's All Construct a New World Order," Sept. 27: Although the mention of "The Coming War With Japan," by George Friedman and Meredith LeBard prompted me to read the book myself, I cannot say I completely agree with the writer's analysis. While US foreign policy may not simply be the work of evil, nasty minds, it has often benefited from international political instability. As each state produces for a profit, while compensating its workers with only a minute fraction of the value of goods and services they produce, periodic crises of overproduction arise. Each state must dominate and/or conquer the markets of other states in order to rid itself of the resulting glut of goods. Given the current intensity of US imperialism on the world market and the rapid expansionism of industrial Japan, it is not at all outrageous to speculate on the possibility of a US-Japan war. The statement, "In fact, modern communications and the rapid internationalization of commerce have to some degree outdated old-fashioned geopolitics" conveniently ignores the imperialist history and ongoing record of the US. In a quest for cheap labor, raw materials, and profitable markets, the US has done whatever it deemed necessary, including manipulating the European balance of power and capriciously interfering in Latin America. Christopher I. Clement, Lauderhill, Fla.

Beneficial beavers I should like to take exception the slant of the article "Busy Beaver Boom Is Wreaking Havoc," Sept. 26. The beaver is not only a superb architect but also a great little ecologist. Beavers dam up streams often preventing floods. I would not be surprised to learn that engineering - not a beaver dam - was at fault in the flood that closed the Trans-Canada Highway. Beavers may be better engineers than humans. Rhoda M. Crowell, Tilton, N.H.

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