Algeria Already Has a Way Out
"A Way Out for Algeria?" (Oct. 6) prompts me to submit that there is already a way out for Algeria: President Zeroual's undertaking to build pluralist, accountable institutions, to move forward with bold economic reforms, and to root out terrorism within the rule of law. Algerians have indeed decided they have had enough of the horror. But make no mistake: The whole Algerian civil society, as well as relatives and friends of the many victims of extremist terrorism, don't believe that the use of terror as political leverage should be rewarded.
The infamous Armed Islamic Groups (GIA) has claimed responsibility for the horrifying massacres of civilians and has reiterated that there will be no truce and no dialogue. Can you imagine any mediation or negotiations with the perpetrators of heinous crimes which, as you write, "defy reason, politics, and humanity?"
Algeria's challenge is merely synonymous with democracy versus terrorism. Ultimately, it is the success of Algeria in defeating terror that would promote multiparty democracy in the region and foster stability.
Ambassador of Algeria
Self-importance drives US policies
The opinion-page article, "Fast Track Would Bolster US Credibility as Global Leader" (Sept. 25) is wrong. Furthermore, the language exposes a questionable, growing attitude about the relationship of the US to the rest of the world.
Author Peter Hakim declares that without fast track, the US will be unable to negotiate free-trade agreements or credibly exercise leadership in seeking agreements on workers' rights or ecological protection. But negotiation, the very word, implies dialogue and discussion. If Congress gives the president full authority, no one will talk about the risks. This is dictatorship.
The article refers to the "language" of the bill. More and more, the "language" of some pundits encourages looking at other nations as a convenience for the US economy and business. The Hakim article says, "Latin America will soon be a larger consumer of US imports than Europe and Japan combined." Maybe that's not healthy in a global market. Maybe it needs to be somewhat more mixed up. Maybe we need to go back to greater self-sufficiency and cut some distribution costs.
In a recent speech, a Boeing executive said if the US doesn't hurry, it will be "on the sidelines watching other nations get ahead." This is a declaration - not of healthy competition that requires someone with whom to compete - but of pure greed. US credibility is sinking, and it doesn't have anything to do with fast track. Does US leadership believe other countries respect our corporations that go in and pay their workers a pittance to work in terrible conditions?
The author says we need Latin American and Caribbean cooperation on democracy and human rights. Has he reviewed pacts such as the international agreement on the rights of the child, which the US hasn't signed? Maybe other nations would like the US to cooperate on some of their initiatives.
The pluses of nuclear power
"Nuclear Plants Grapple With Early 'Lights Out'" (Sept. 30), on premature closing of nuclear power plants, does not discuss the major environmental issue. If the antinuclear hype were suspended momentarily in order to look objectively at the numbers, it would be clear that nuclear power entails far less environmental impact than power generated by other means, even with special considerations for safety and nuclear waste.
When the environmental impact of building dams for hydroelectric power and the toll in human lives from the pollution from coal- and oil-burning power plants is factored in, nuclear power is a clear winner. Do not confuse the terror and destruction of nuclear weapons with the virtually infinite benefits of peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Your letters are welcome. Mail to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org