Letters to the Editor

Readers write about Bush's Iran plan, job creation in North Korea, the role of the Japanese girlfriend, France and possible immigration regulations, and the persisting Arab repression.

The media should not follow the Bush line about Iran

In response to your Sept. 7 editorial, "Iraq's Persian puzzle:" This editorial seems to somewhat buy into the Bush administration's propaganda campaign for invading Iran. Since the Monitor is not a part of the corporate media, I hope it will continue to consider independently the hype that pushes for the invasion of Iran. All of the newspapers under the thumb of corporate America will soon be pushing the invasion of Iran just as they did the invasion of Iraq.

Let us be aware of Zbigniew Brzezinski's warning on Feb. 1, 2007, at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing: "If the United States continues to be bogged down in a protracted bloody involvement in Iraq, the final destination on this downhill track is likely to be a head-on conflict with Iran and with much of the world of Islam at large."

Deanna Homer
Stillwater, Okla.

Don't curb job creation in North Korea

Regarding Hans Schattle's Sept. 13 Opinion piece, "Don't unite the two Koreas on the backs of cheap labor," he argues that the Kaesong project should be accompanied by a robust set of human rights and labor standards enforceable by a "special inter-Korean court with jurisdiction over the complex." I disagree that the sort of legal standards he advocates would promote building the right kind of Korea, or any unification on the peninsula whatsoever. An inter-Korea doctrine of labor standards and human rights would discourage cross-border economic activity. Even if a hypothetical minimum wage was an insignificant cost, the risk and cost associated with the litigation at the court he proposes would be enough to scare South Korean business interests far away from the demilitarized zone. There is certainly no shortage of cheap and willing labor in East Asia. Consequently, the right thing for North Korean laborers – and South Korean business – is for the Korean governments to resist imposing legal labor protections at Kaesong. Labor laws would discourage investment, thus creating fewer jobs north of the border. Especially in a country as destitute as North Korea, nearly any job is better than no job at all. The right course of action for the Korean governments is to welcome and encourage cross-border economic activity – in part by resisting any inter-Korean labor standards.

Matthew Carroll
Bloomington, Ind.

The Japanese blame game

In response to the Sept. 17 article, "I sound like what in Japanese?": It's interesting that the shame of speaking feminine Japanese now falls on the boyfriend; when I lived in Japan in the late 1970s the "waruki-jibiki" or "walking dictionary" (Japanese girlfriend) who taught the "gaijin" (foreigner) boyfriend was the object of scorn, not the boyfriend.

Jerry Thornton
Lake Forest, Calif.

France needs immigration laws

Regarding the Sept. 17 article, "France's open door is closing": It certainly is not unreasonable for the current government of France to impose requirements on those opting to be citizens that they are at least somewhat conversant in French and can demonstrate they can support themselves.

Unlimited immigration will kill the goose that currently lays the golden egg for too many recent immigrants who join the welfare system when they arrive and plan to stay on it indefinitely.

If the immigrants are fleeing for their lives from a brutal regime, then there should be a waiver of requirements. But for new arrivals who are seeking only a welfare system, let them stay home.

Nelson Marans
Silver Spring, Md.

Arab repression presists

The Sept. 16 article, "Egypt extends crackdown to press," illustrates part of the problem that is plaguing Egypt and the rest of the Arab world.

When it comes to repression, the press often gets the attention; however, Arab regimes tend to use all forms of repression. People are not allowed to do anything deemed inappropriate by the security services. Decades of repression by these regimes have created an Arab population that is unable to organize itself into an "Orange Revolution" to end these bastions of tyranny. Eastern Europe – which inherited a Stalinist system – was able to introduce bold reforms and join Western civilization, but the Arab world is regressing into tyranny. Arab dictators rule with impunity, and the masses are left to their fate.

It is time for a global blockade of these regimes, and for Western nations to come to support the Arab population to end their bondage.

Zerougui Abdelkader
Adjunct professor, American University

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 may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

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