With Bolton at helm or not, US should take lead role at UN

In the June 28 Opinion "Time to end the twittering over Bolton," Dante Chinni is rightfully concerned about Washington's silliness over Bolton's nomination. Important debates on Social Security, international terrorism, and Iraq do have "the potential to profoundly shape the future of this nation." Unfortunately, Mr. Chinni fails to recognize how the Bolton debate fits into the larger, more important discussion of US national security.

President Bush is wrong to suggest that John Bolton's confirmation and "shake-up" tactics are key to United Nations modernization. The United States has an opportunity to be a leader at the UN, whether Bolton is confirmed or not. American leadership and cooperation are critical, especially as the international body embarks on what could be the most important reforms in its history.

Americans expect the US to be a leader in building international cooperation in an interdependent world. The respect and support of others is necessary to demonstrate that US priorities, regardless of our representation, can benefit not only Americans but the world.
Richard Stazinski
Program Officer, The Stanley Foundation
Muscatine, Iowa

US security holes aren't just in aviation

While it is true that security at smaller airports is not as strict as at larger airports, the June 29 article, "Two thefts of small planes renew security concerns," does not include obvious facts regarding the security of other vehicles.

The typical light aircraft weighs roughly 2,000 pounds and has a load capacity of about 500 pounds. What is the weight and load capacity of a Suburban? How about the load capacity of fuel trucks across the US?

The cold hard fact is that US security is grossly lacking in all facets of transportation. Just because terrorists picked aviation as their preferred method of attack doesn't mean that all forms of aviation pose a similar threat. It also doesn't mean that they can or will use the same delivery method twice.

As responsible citizens, let's concern ourselves with how we can intelligently identify and protect security holes that can cause real damage to the country.
Austin Blanco
Tucson, Ariz.

China benefits from US deficit

I believe it is a gross mistake to question the economic might of a country based on that nation's lack of foreign direct investment, as in the June 30 article "China the behemoth? Not so fast." Capital flows either to where it will earn the most money, or to where it will be the most productive.

The future prospects of an economically advanced China are clearly enticing firms (and their shareholders) to invest in China, as reflected by its immense capital account surplus. Meanwhile, Chinese government coffers build up even greater foreign reserves (mostly dollars) that can be used for a global shopping spree over the next 30 years. If the US fails to address its continued trade and budget deficits, there will be plenty of takeovers of US firms in the years ahead.
Tim Ryan
Evanston, Ill.

It's better to be American

Responding to the June 24 article, "US image in world recovers, slightly": Most countries have an anti-American center of gravity, which is a pity, because despite the catastrophic current American administration, it's still better to be American than it is to be Chinese, Russian, or even Japanese.

As long as America continues its contradictory behavior - for example, spreading democracy in the world while having places like Guantánamo, or practicing disastrous double standards policy in the Middle East - its image will not improve.
Bernard Marchois
Couternon, France

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