Letters to the Editor

Readers write about oil politics, free trade, and 'real' farmers.

Put an end to oil politics' dark past

Regarding the April 3 article, "Risks of rising oil nationalism": Perhaps developed countries should be reminded of the golden rule. The Muslim world and the developing world hate us for a reason. We in the developed world have had a hand in installing corrupt regimes that pillage their own people, and worse, simply because they are friendly to us.

If developed countries and multinational corporations had offered fair trade and shunned colonialism during the past 200 years, the world might be a less violent place today. The world is shrinking every day. It's not "us" against "them." It's the human race against its own decisions.

The privileged classes in all societies must accept that sometimes the biggest profits have nothing to do with money. Today we're reaping the blowback from at least a century of greed-based policy. The golden rule cannot be left outside the boardroom or halls of government for the sake of profit.
Ted Wieclaw
Palm Beach, Fla.

Real farmers buy land, not pickups

In response to the March 22 article, "In US Midwest, young farmers priced out of land": Anyone who wants to farm has to have a high threshold for risk and adversity. Instead, many of these young aspiring farmers seem to want everything handed to them on a silver platter.

Many younger farmers prefer to ride around on new equipment, drive new pickup trucks, and look successful, while renting someone else's farmland at $150 to $200 an acre. But tenants are not farmers; they are "hired help."

Real farmers do not just hope someday to own a farm. Real farmers want to own land and will go where the land is that they can afford. There are places in the United States where farmland does not cost $4,000 an acre yet has excellent soil.

Farming is a tough game; it has never been easy. The only way to become a farmer is to purchase your first piece of land, however little it may be. Once it is purchased, most farmers figure out a way to hang on to it.
John Foust
Des Moines, Iowa

Free trade hits home hard

Regarding your April 4 editorial, "Trading up with South Korea": Since Day 1, free trade has only helped the rich get richer, while all along hurting the American laborer.

Because of free trade, many families here in Detroit are either unemployed or underemployed, since we're now forced to compete with the lowest common denominator in terms of the standard of living. Free trade has forced us to compete against people who have a standard of living much lower than ours.

While South Korea isn't that different from America in terms of standard of living, we need to focus on rebuilding and reinforcing our own industries rather than foolishly expanding an already epic trade deficit. We owe it to future generations to have a strong local economy that can survive anything that the world throws at it.
Gabriel Engler

Words, friendship reach over oceans

The April 2 article, "The 'sound' of friendship," touched my soul and heart equally. I'm Lebanese and speak Arabic. This article was written with a universal accent. Between the author in the US and me in Lebanon are thousands of miles. But the words of the story have no borders and undeniably reach both our souls, no matter what the number of miles between us. I'd be glad to have the author accept the feelings of friendship that I send from afar.
Norma Fares
Beirut, Lebanon

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted will appear in print and on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to (617) 450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com.

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