Applying `Tough Love' in Somalia
It's time to apply some "tough love" in Somalia, where news reports suggest that the West's humanitarian efforts may be making a very bad situation even worse. One correspondent described a nightmare scenario in which food shipments aimed at relieving starvation only intensified fighting among Somali beneficiaries, while United Nations peacekeeping forces aggravated the violence.
Somalia's plight is such that charity alone will not suffice. The country is tearing itself to shreds - not so much for lack of food as dearth of leadership. Drought and famine, serious as these are, account for less human suffering than lawlessness and anarchy. Warlords claim authority and compete for attention but do nothing to curb the armed thugs who terrorize the helpless community. Politicians bicker over who should get the larger food shipment. We must do more than donate food. We must get tough w ith Somalis, for their own good.
These are the steps Somalia's friends urgently need to take: The UN Security Council should declare Somalia a distressed state and take responsibility for its protection and survival; it should send an additional 3,000 well-armed peacekeeping troops; UN authorities should immediately stop paying court to the brutal warlords whose feudings have caused awful suffering, and should deal only with legitimate leaders even if it means suspending relief operations; the Security Council should demand that all arm ed groups be demobilized and replaced by uniformed Somali police under control of civilian elders and UN advisers; and most important, international food and medical relief efforts should be explicitly concentrated on those areas of the country where traditional elders have succeeded in reasserting authority and restoring order. T. Frank Crigler, Arlington, Va. US Ambassador to Somalia, 1987-90 Nigeria's economy
Regarding the Economy page article "Nigeria's Economy Backslides," Aug. 5: The Monitor's x-ray of Nigeria's economy is most timely, just as some popular newspapers and magazines here are doing. It is no gain saying that Nigeria's economy is in shambles. After seven years in power, Nigeria's military regime is to step down, but it leaves a legacy of unsolved economic problems including "high inflation, high interest rates, and high unemployment." Corruption is not left out as well as the neglect of educat ion and health care.
These were the president's justifications then for taking over: Deterioration in the general standard of living of the ordinary Nigerian has reached incalculable heights. Prices of goods and equipment have risen, scarcity of commodities has increased, hospitals still remain mere consulting clinics while educational institutions are on the brink of total decay. Unemployment has stretched to critical dimensions. Nwogwugwu Samson, Utura, Nigeria European unity
Regarding the editorial " `The Little Yes' ," Sept. 23: Surely you are not suggesting that "EC heads of state must agree to ensure more local and national representation in a future unified Europe." If, indeed, European monarchs and presidents were to get involved in this political issue, such involvement would be overwhelmingly resented by the voters in Europe. They consider this clearly a political issue with which their government leaders must deal, not the heads of state.
Imagine what the reaction of the European public would be if Queen Elizabeth or President von Weizsaecker were to express an opinion, much less negotiate on such a thorny political issue. Walter H. Diebold, Lafayette, Calif.