Uphold Standards Even When Inconvenient

I was initially pleased by the June 7 opinion-page article ```We are the United States' is Call to Moral Leadership.'' If our government were to base foreign policy decisions on a moral basis, the world would become a better place; furthermore, the ensuing debate about what our national moral basis should be, and how best to proceed if a consensus cannot be reached, would have great benefits for our domestic policy as well.

However, with the statement, ``When our vital interests are at stake, we should not hesitate to use our status as the world's one remaining superpower to defend them, whatever the world's opinion might be,'' the author has undone everything he proposed.

We will never be viewed as moral leaders as long as we follow that approach, and it is too much to expect our government officials to be able to switch back and forth between moral leadership and cynical manipulation at will. Certainly our government should try to protect our interests, but that effort needs to be bound by international law and the standards we want to uphold when our interests are not at stake. Otherwise, we are nothing more than an enlightened bully. Bruce Kendall, Tucson, Ariz.

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