Regarding the June 2 article "Australia, New Zealand part ways on foreign policy": A large part of the New Zealand population definitely does not support Premier Helen Clark's behavior toward the Americans over the past few months. I was ashamed that we did not send some of our dwindling military to the Gulf to support our allies: Australia, Britain, and the US. Mrs. Clark has achieved nothing more than alienating New Zealand from our trade and defense allies. As your article said, New Zealand is now definitely on the back burner when it comes to free trade with the US.
This type of mischief started in the mid-1980s when then-Prime Minister David Lange of the Labour Party came out with his policy that no nuclear-powered vessels or nuclear-weapon-carrying vehicles would be allowed in New Zealand territory, thus ruining the important ANZUS treaty with the US and Australia and annoying two very important allies. I hope down the road we can elect politicians who have the sense to sort this out and aren't terror-stricken of being branded politically incorrect. Only then will New Zealand get back on the right track within the global community.
Pukekohe, New Zealand
Your article about the recent divergence of New Zealand and Australian foreign policy was accurate. Many New Zealanders, myself included, regard Premier Clark as reckless because of the needless damage she has wrought upon our previously excellent relations with the US and Australia. She remains popular only because our small media pool is dominated by left-leaning journalists who praise her actions whenever possible. Most New Zealanders don't yet understand the damage she's done, but when reality bites, she and her government will be dumped.
Auckland, New Zealand
As a US citizen who has lived a third of her adult life in Paris, I was disappointed to see your article "Franco-US ties far from mended" (May 30) present the popular image of the French in general, and Parisian retailers in particular, as being "low and spiteful." There are many of us who can speak of being very well treated in France. Most of us have made the effort to gain an understanding of French culture and to observe the courtesies that are so vital a part of relations in France.
While reading an article about the capture of Eric Rudolph ("FBI usually does get its man, even if tardily," June 2), I was deeply dismayed to read the following comments: "One reason Mr. Rudolph may have been able to hide out so long is the strong antigovernment sentiment in the rugged moonshine country of North Carolina's Smoky Mountains. It was that antipathy toward the feds that long ago led the Scots-Irish settlers to form remote villages and fight every effort to tax them.... [M]any sympathize with his hard-line Christian views and hatred of gays and abortion.... [H]e became a folk hero for many locals."
I fear the writers have bought into the "hillbilly" stereotype and have perpetuated it in their erroneous and biased reporting. It is a gross injustice to portray the ideas of an entire culture through the comments of few individuals. For many years, the residents of this area have fought the image of ignorant, moonshine-swilling, backwoods savages. I live approximately 60 miles from Murphy, as I have all my life, and I can tell you that the passages quoted above could not be further from the truth. I suggest that your writers please use a bit more discretion with their use of the term "many" to describe the opinions, ideas, and culture of an entire area.
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