US Foreign Policy Aims Contradictory

Your article "Clinton Team Forges Foreign-Policy 'Vision' " (March 31) confirms the suspicion that the Clinton team's foreign policy vision is cross-eyed. What Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and National Security Advisor Samuel Berger seek are full of contradictions and counterproductive aims.

They want to preserve "a reunited, democratic Europe" and boost "ties with Russia," and yet they pursue the expansion of NATO which divides Europe and threatens the Russians.

They want to bolster security in the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East, and yet they send appeasing signals to China and fail to confront peace-busting moves by Prime Minister Netanyahu in Israel.

They want to encourage free trade, and yet they pursue Lone Ranger style economic sanctions - restricting trade with Iraq, Iran, Libya, and Cuba, and then threaten our allies if they engage in free trade with these states.

The problem is at the top. Clinton's foreign policy team will have trouble with its vision as long as the team's captain, President Clinton himself, fails to see and understand the field of play.

Nicholas O. Berry

Collegeville, Pa.

Professor of Politics

Ursinus College

Control of Japan's military

"How Much US Might in Asia?" (April 10), raises many salient issues about the US security framework in East Asia. The analysis was sound, but the article misses articulating the fundamental reason why Japan cannot have an "equal say in [the] US alliance."

In democratic, civil societies, there must be a well-established, civil-military relationship to encourage debate and address accountability. The United States is the best example of a grounded civil-military relation- ship, which dates back to the Civil War.

Japan does not possess an adequate civil-military framework. Japanese citizens do not actively participate in any fruitful discussions on the proper role of Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Forces. Instead, these debates revolve around only a small group of elite in Japan. As Samuel P. Huntington concludes in his book "The Soldier and the State": "the odds would appear to favor the emergence in Japan of a system of civil-military relations differing in appearance but not in essentials from that which prevailed prior to 1945."

Mark T. Fung


Merrill Fellow of Strategic Studies

Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies

Palestinian Christians' role

In "Palestinian Christians Weigh a Growing Role in Uprising" (March 31), the author makes an important point concerning the Palestinian Christians' (lack of) participation in the uprising against Israeli occupation.

They have a history of support for a negotiated settlement, and many do indeed favor secular groups like Arafat's Fatah over the Islamists. The article hints at, but doesn't fully explore, a newly emerging trend: Christians increasingly are following the lead of their so-called less "pragmatic" Muslim neighbors in dismissing the "peace process" as simply an occupation in sheep's clothing. They recognize that negotiations are one-sided and designed to stall so that Israel can continue to Judaize Jerusalem and the rest of Palestine before substantive talks take place.

While there certainly are local Christians who disagree with the Islamic movement, many others choose to support the Islamists. One is Issa Nakhleh, a distinguished Palestinian Christian historian, who recently attended a Muslim convention in Chicago to support Islamic rights in the Holy Land. Educated Christians like Mr. Nakhleh understand that the Islamists offer the only pragmatic approach to the Israeli occupation, not Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, who have simply taken over the Israeli Defense Force's job of policing the Palestinians who dare oppose the theft of more of their land.

John J. Kielty

Athens, Ohio

American Muslims for Jerusalem

Letters should be mailed to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, faxed to 617-450-2317, or e-mailed (200 words maximum) to oped@csps.com

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