Lessons to Be Learned From Bosnian Crisis

While I agree with the principal conclusion of the front-page analysis ``Why Only US Can Win Peace,'' Dec. 2, I believe the author has disregarded important factors in the United States decision to avoid making a stand for a ``new world order'' in Bosnia.

First, maintaining good relations with Russia competes with the desire to avoid casualties as the decisive factor in the US decision to not seek enforcement action against the Serbs. Not only would Russia veto United Nations-sponsored enforcement, but the resulting fracture in US-Russian relations would precipitate a review of defense and arms control policies in both countries. Thus such a course of action would have far-reaching political and economic consequences.

A second factor not explicitly acknowledged by the author is the difference in international legal terms between the aggression by the Serbian people and that by the Iraqi state. He alludes to this difference when he refers to ``the invasion of Kuwait'' and ``the war in Bosnia.'' While a sovereign Bosnia-Herzegovina may be seen as the victim of aggression, the majority of aggressors are citizens of that state.

What does this say about the ``new world order''? While the major lesson to be learned from Bosnia may well be the need for US leadership, it also reminds us that unanimity in the Security Council, a defining symbol of the ``new world order,'' cannot be taken for granted. Darrell Stanaford, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Lessons to Be Learned From Bosnian Crisis

I'm not a Democrat, but I am bewildered by the bum rap President Clinton has taken for the decision to stay out of Bosnia. Don't the hawks in the press and politics remember the futility of US action in Vietnam and Soviet action in Afghanistan when public support was lacking?

World crises abound, and the misery requires a certain triage. Therefore, we can act only when there is an obvious threat to our society, as there was when Iraq threatened Western oil supplies.

Pretending that our moral and economic resources are infinite assures the eventual depletion of all those resources and any hope of meaningful response. Walter Coyle, De Pere, Wis.

Lessons to Be Learned From Bosnian Crisis

I feel indebted to the author for his masterly summation of the Bosnia imbroglio.

For the first time I feel able to comprehend with reasonable accuracy the positions of the major players in the negotiations, and why the final outcome is likely to be distant and clouded at best. The author's long experience in the European theater of politics and war gives him a unique background for penetrating comment on this sad situation. Roger Barber, Sonoma, Calif.

Taiwan's move toward independence

I would like to commend the author of the article ``Taiwan Voters Show a Mixed Willingness to Anger Beijing,'' Dec. 5.

It presented the issues lucidly and in a way understandable to the reader. One central issue is the growing visibility of the demand for formal independence, and the continuing rhetoric from Beijing, hopefully bluster more than military threat.

Having worked with the democratic movement since the late-1970s, and with the Democratic Progressive Party in the 1990s, I feel this issue is not well understood in the United States, partly because of the lingering effects of the old China lobby and because China looms so large in US foreign policy.

But the direction of the future development is clear: Taiwan will move toward a recognized position in the international community, buttressed by its economic weight. Linda Gail Arrigo, Vestal, N.Y.

Poetry: an integral part of learning

While reading the article ``Of Pilfering, Pears, and Poetry,'' Nov. 17, I realized, sadly, that poetry has been downgraded in the educational curriculum being offered to today's young. The author was ``dumbstruck'' when he found that one-third of his class had never heard of Robert Frost.

Our students are denied the rich legacy of growth and learning that poetry provides. The bully who memorized and recited ``The Village Blacksmith'' was a good example of poetry's power to influence human behavior. Lefteris Lavrakas, Costa Mesa, Calif.

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