Readers write

Spy plane is a pawn in dangerous chess match

We must be careful not to be pulled into the vortex created on the South China Seas by the EP-3 spy plane incident. This fast-breaking news event needs the perspective of history (see April 4 editorial "Fledgling Dragon").

The eyes of the world are on President Bush to observe his management and avoidance of the potential for grave consequences. The leaders in China must have the same concerns for their next actions.

Both sides understand the practical wisdom and necessity to control this burning fuse. In the process, both President Bush and President Jiang Zemin will test the cold waters of the Taiwan Straits as they temper national resolve for the next round of events.

Both China and the US have many pieces on the chessboard. Each has a role. Each can be moved into play or held in reserve. Crowding the China coast with the EP-3 is like giving the command "P to K4," or "Pawn to King's fourth square."

Now we wait for China's next move.

Jack B. Lindsey Santa Barbara, Calif.

Corporate priorities have shifted

Your March 27 article "Seattle sours on promise of global trade" includes comments on the "No.1 goal" and "new priority" of not only Boeing, but General Electric: "increasing the value of their stock."

What has happened to the goal of increasing quality of product? The priority of improving the worth of service? Small wonder that investing has become more the province of speculators than of people with trust in companies and their products and services.

Phyllis Binkley Dorset, Vt.

Understanding the Internet's value

Your April 2 article "Why you can't cut out the middleman" was accurate, but focused too much on the Internet as a medium of exchange of goods rather than data.

When I bought a new car from a dealer last year, the only time I actually visited the dealership was the day I picked up the car. Armed with vehicle data, pricing, and rebate facts from numerous information sites, I was able to negotiate with several dealerships via e-mail. When I located the right car at the right price, all the charges were put in writing and faxed to me. I arranged financing locally and arrived at the dealership with a check for the exact amount.

Eliminating dealerships should not be the end result of Internet use. The strength of the Internet is the availability of useful information, not its use as a virtual store.

Tim Holman Iowa City, Iowa

Enterprising solution

Regarding your March 30 article: "Power politics of energy woes": The suggestion that the USS Enterprise power Los Angeles is not as bizarre as some would think.

Maine had a poor hydro-electric year in 1947, and two destroyer escorts (the Foy and the Maloy) locked their diesel-electric generators into the Maine power grid. They operated all that winter. The Enterprise could be a great help.

Richard C. Hill Old Town, Maine

Adding a personal dimension to events

Thanks for your ongoing column, "Reporters on the job." It makes me feel I'm right there in the field with these journalists, experiencing the excitement and humor (and sometimes danger) in the various faraway parts of the world they write about.

These nuggets give a personal dimension to their stories. The reporter becomes more than a mere byline. He or she is sharing a personal insight not otherwise known.

Eileen Detlefsen Bellevue, Ohio

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(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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