People are resilient
Regarding David Francis's Jan. 10 commentary "Here comes the next bubble: people": It's wishful thinking to suggest that if "the world will have fewer babies and less overcrowding" then issues such as "global warming, food shortages, limited water supply, and increasing competition for resources" will be solved.
What about China?
China has embarked on an aggressive population control program and yet the issues that Mr. Francis has raised, which he proposes will be solved by reducing the number of babies born, are still prevalent in that country.
The problem is that he is trying to solve these issues from an economic worldview perspective. Money must never trump human rights.
In spite of our rapid population growth, we in the US, by and large, have not starved ourselves to death.
Humans are incredibly industrious and resourceful.
We must trust that as long as we believe that humans should be free to choose whether we have 1, 2.1, or 5 children and that humans (including babies) have value and intrinsic worth, we will be able to provide the resources to protect, feed, and educate our fellow human beings.
Obama's realist idealism
Regarding the Jan. 17 cover story "The Obama Doctrine: the new realism": Howard LaFranchi makes only passing reference to the mix of realism and idealism embodied in the president's policy of seeking the elimination of nuclear weapons.
While holding up the vision of "a world without nuclear weapons," President Obama has also made it clear that this is a long-term goal that can best be reached through a series of practical steps that preserve the security of the US and its allies even as they set the stage for a safer world.
The treaty would cut the US and Russian arsenals by about one-third, still leaving more than adequate numbers to dissuade any other nation from attacking either country with a nuclear bomb.
But in doing so, it would also set the stage for progress on crucial next steps like the institution of a global ban on all nuclear tests (the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty).
By using the New START agreement as a steppingstone toward further nuclear reductions, Mr. Obama is engaging in the sort of "realist idealism" sketched out in Mr. LaFranchi's article.
William D. Hartung
Director of the arms and security initiative at the New America Foundation.