My hat is off to "Iron Lady" Margaret Thatcher, as she is described in the article "Thatcher Doffs Gloves on Europe," Nov. 25. Like Maggie, I too am extremely wary about a United Europe.The European Community, which could soon have its powerful central bank and common currency, is simply a political union, which could, and very likely will, impinge on individual nations' sovereignty. In the Battle of Britain's darkest days, Churchill stood firm and steadfast against the Nazi bombers' onslaught. Now, former Prime Minister Thatcher stands nearly alone, firm and steadfast against the more sinister aspects of a United Europe and fighting for British sovereignty. I hope I am proven wrong, but given Europe's inherent cultural and language barriers, the propensity of an unscrupulous central bank to manipulate its economy, and Europe's historical political "unifications," I believe that a socialist United Europe, now with a united Germany in its fold, could all too easily attempt to establish political tyranny. Timothy J. Johnson, DeKalb, Ill.
The big geography picture Despite its good intentions, the editorial "Where in the World Is ...?," Dec. 2, sustains the unfortunate notion that geography is memorizing facts about places. Geography involves much more than specific places, just as history involves much more than specific dates. Geography asks "Where is something located?" but more importantly it asks "Why is it located there?" Understanding "why" requires a spatial or geographic perspective. Newspapers report daily on places and on issues with a geographic perspective, such as nationalism in Slovenia, rising United States immigration, and world urbanization. Geography ties these diverse themes together, providing clues to questions like: Why is immigration rising in US? And how and why do urbanization patterns differ between Mexico City and Tokyo? The essence of geographic awareness is not knowing where Slovenia is, but in understanding how and why Slovenia is different from any other place in the world. Steven L. Coffeen, Columbus, Ohio
Guidelines for aid The author of the opinion-page article "Before West Sends Aid, Moscow Must Learn to Help Itself," Dec. 3, is correct. The former Soviet Union needs to implement fundamental economic reforms before Western nations send money to help pull its people out of their "third-world status." However, the author fails to address the real problem: Moscow doesn't know how to help itself. The reform-minded leaders in Moscow need practical guidelines, not politicians lambasting them. The author needs to step back from his rhetoric and realize that the cold war is over. The former USSR collapsed from within and no amount of Western aid is going to "revive [the Evil Empire] and all that it represents." Constance Cork, Boston