For US foreign policy, draw on cultural wealth of immigrants

Regarding the Jan. 14 article, "Can State Department rise again?": State and Defense are two sides of a coin. It is said that diplomacy is the continuation of war by other means, or vice versa. Particularly in a world that has changed dramatically, foreign policy has a more important role than ever.

The US has also changed. The US is not just the most powerful nation in the world. It is actually the most global country in the world. We are all here, and America is present everywhere. Every culture, race, nationality, and economic interest in the world is present in America. US cultural, economic, and technological savvy is emulated worldwide and US investment and trade is present in all countries.

America has become the home away from home for millions of people that are part of the American mainstream but still maintain close ties with their country of origin. Many of these people are highly skilled professionals whose knowledge, expertise, and ongoing contacts with their countries can benefit enormously from US understanding of those societies and the formulation of US policy toward them. Therefore, US foreign policy must assume dimensions that will encompass all these realities, in lieu of the traditional attitude of the US versus the others.

Promoting freedom and democracy - and thereby peace and stability - requires an all-embracing perception of people's aspirations and needs. US policy should focus more on people, rather than on political regimes and governments. People must look up to the US as a friend and not identify it with their oppressors.
Imru Zelleke
Arlington, Va.
(Ambassador Zelleke is a retired Ethiopian diplomat.)

US ideals not mirrored in foreign policy

President Bush's inaugural address ("Freedom 'best hope for peace,' " Jan. 21) reaffirms America's (and Europe's) tragic disconnect between its laudable values of equality, justice, and freedom, and its pursuit of imperialistic foreign policies.

The third world, especially the Muslim world, perceives innate hypocrisy between America's human rights record, invasion of Iraq, support for Israel's colonialism, and support for Muslim dictators.

When the Muslim world hears President Bush speak, they see a president devoid of reality on Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, and most important on Israel's brutal occupation of Palestinians. They want America to understand that global peace can come only with Palestinian independence and self-determination as enunciated by UN resolutions.

Respect, dialogue, and justice - not smart bombs - will end anti-Americanism worldwide. Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan will ever become democracies by force.

Truth will set America free, not perpetual wars.
Mohamed Khodr
Winchester, Va.

US human rights standards need boost

Regarding the Jan. 18 Opinion piece "Terror detainees and America's gulag": In 1979 when my husband Shih Ming-deh and hundreds of others of the Taiwan Democratic Movement were arrested by the former regime here and subjected to interrogation and torture, we could call on US law as a standard.

But now the deterioration of US human rights standards will no doubt be amplified in hundreds of other places around the world. The atrocities to which Americans are giving tacit approval are sure to affect US prestige internationally and make it increasingly dangerous for Americans to live abroad.
Linda Gail Arrigo
International Affairs Officer,

Green Party Taiwan
Taipei, Taiwan

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