I wholeheartedly support the effort of the Anglo-American led coalition to rid Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction and bring freedom to the long-suffering Iraqi people ("Can Blair repair the U.S.-Europe rift?" Cover Story, Apr. 7). President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair need to be congratulated for their determination, courage, and leadership against significant odds: the marginalization of the U.N., the division of the transatlantic alliance, and the serious rifts within the European Union.
I do not believe that Blair will be able to repair the rift in U.S.-Europe relations unless French President Jacques Chirac gives up his destructive, arrogant, and hypocritical opposition. And the likelihood of that happening is remote. Blair might "care desperately about Europe," and he certainly has an eye on a political future in the European Union for himself. But France, Germany, and Belgium will do everything to prevent that. And let's not forget, Blair has significant unfinished business to deal with domestically: the collapse of public services, deteriorating education, little respect for law and order, a crumbling health service, and legions of disgruntled pensioners. The war in Iraq has kicked these issues into the long grass temporarily, but they will resurface just as surely as Saddam's days are numbered.
Dr. Karl H. Pagac
Villeneuve-Loubet, France "North Korea: How high will Washington crank up the heat?" (International Outlook, Mar. 31) described the current situation well. My family and I live within range of North Korea's missiles. Even though North Korea has tested missiles recently -- and fired one over Japan to the Pacific Ocean a few years ago -- the Japanese government has been competent enough only to file "strong" complaints about those missile tests.
The preemptive U.S. action against Iraq makes me comfortable that America will use every option available to protect its people. In the case of Japan, unfortunately, I am certain that the government chooses to do nothing and let its people suffer.
Osaka-Shi, Japan It's ironic that in "A fierce debate over diplomacy" (Readers Report, Apr. 7, regarding "The high price of bad diplomacy," Cover Story, Mar. 24), a gentleman from Istanbul suggests that America is an angel with no imperial designs on its mind and that a separate Kurdish region is impossible. Yet one issue earlier, Robert Barro coldbloodedly suggested the creation of a new map with the Kurds in the north ("A democratic Iraq isn't an impossible dream," Economic Viewpoint. Mar. 31).
Unlike a good portion of those in the Middle East, I don't believe America is evil, but let's keep in mind that recent American policy can only be described by one word: selfish. I would like to remind my friend from Istanbul of an expression from one of the great Turkish leaders: "Allying with a big, superpowerful country is like going to bed with a bear."
M. Ali Ovali