Readers write: Dominance of English, problems with nuclear race

Letters to the editor for the Aug. 15, 2016-Aug. 22, 2016 weekly magazine.

Darren Staples/Reuters
Men work at the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station site near Bridgwater in Britain.

Dominance of English

Regarding the June 13 cover story “The new battle of Britain”: Great reporting, but I assume that the story did not mention English as the world’s lingua franca because no one is talking about it. It’s the elephant in the room, after all. The symbolism of Britain leaving the EU is anti-world – essentially, “We’ve had all we can take of global integration.”

The world has embraced English (at gun-point) as the language that can help everyone to explain their issues, if not resolve them. “Brexit” is an invitation for those who don’t want to resolve differences to back off, and for those who love war to keep on fighting.

Alan Krause

Arlington, Va.

Problems with nuclear race

Regarding the June 13 article “Nuclear-capable nations are growing their weapon systems, report finds” (CSMonitor.com): It neglects to mention two major problems with the qualitative race that is now taking place among the world’s nine nuclear-armed nations. First, it is clearly illegal under international law, which requires good-faith negotiations on an end to the nuclear arms race. That is why the Marshall Islands has filed lawsuits against all nine nuclear-armed nations at the International Court of Justice and, separately, against the United States in US federal court, for breaches of this obligation. 

Second, the “modernization” programs these countries are engaged in are often giving nuclear weapons new military capabilities. In many cases, weapons that are being “modernized” right now are planned to still be in use until late in the 21st century. The B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb, currently being “modernized” by the US, will become the world’s first “smart” gravity bomb, with a new guided tail-fin kit and an adjustable explosive yield. These new capabilities could make the weapon more usable in the eyes of military leaders, leading to consequences that are truly unthinkable.

Rick Wayman

Director of programs, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

Santa Barbara, Calif.

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About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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