Sectarianism is the rule in Middle East
To the editor:
To foster world stability, it is in the best interest of the United States to promote equilibrium in the Middle East.
Israel should be kept strong because it is a Western-oriented ally and buffer country in the region.
Iraq was a buffer against Iran. With the death of Saddam Hussein and the takeover by the Shiites, the balance of power has shifted to Shiite Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
The Sunni majority in Syria, supported by Sunni Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, are fighting President Bashar Assad of Syria, a Shiite. We should support the Sunnis in Syria with some arms and hope they can hold their own and keep Assad off balance. Since the Syrian rebels have al-Qaida elements among them, we do not want to strengthen them, nor weaken Assad, too much.
Egypt is a dubious friend of the United States. The Sunni Muslim Brotherhood continues to cast a shadow on the country. We should back the Egyptian military as a counter-weight to the Islamists in Egypt.
Sectarianism in the Middle East prevails over national identity, and conflicts will be fought due to sectarian and religious differences. We have to remember who our potential enemies are in the world.
Donald A. Moskowitz
No need to rush Syria attack
To the editor:
President Obama wants to “punish” Syrian President Bashar Assad for allegedly gassing his own people. But, will Obama’s stated actions, which don’t include regime change, really punish Assad, or will they more likely harm innocent people including foreigners, diplomats, or even Americans?
Has “punishment” that doesn’t actually harm a nation’s leaders ever resulted in policy changes? Not that I know about. If Assad falls and radical Islamists take over his gas stockpiles, the U.S. and the world are in greater danger than now.
President Obama and news sources allied with the rebels say Assad released the poison gas although they haven’t explained his motive for this militarily unnecessary action. Assad, independent media, and a Russian study says the rebels — which include al-Qaida, the Muslim Brotherhood, and people who butcher captives — released the gas, perhaps hoping to blame Assad and dupe the U.S. into helping them defeat Assad.
If the evidence of Assad’s guilt is strong, why can’t President Obama easily get a large coalition of nations to join his “punishment” efforts?
The benefits of President Obama’s proposed actions against Syria seem miniscule. The possible negatives seem abundant: killing innocent people, damaging property of innocent parties, inciting military or economic retaliation by Syria or its allies increasing prices of oil and other goods, weakening our currency, and creating more terrorists who attack Americans, maybe with poison gas or other weapons of mass destruction.
While there seems little benefit from rushing to “punish” Assad, there are many benefits from delaying or not acting. We can await a thorough and factual investigation of the poison gas release. We save U.S. resources, avoid killing innocent people or damaging their property, we avoid inciting retaliation, and we avoid taking ineffective actions that make us look weak.
Delay offers the added benefit of allowing two U.S. enemies spend their resources, weaken each other, and become reduced threats to others.
Business won’t regulate itself
To the editor:
Let the voter beware! The political spin doctors are at it again trying hard to distort the benefits of government oversight. You hear the it from “the Right” all the time: “Leave the private sector alone, it doesn’t need government interference!” They perceive actions to protect consumers and workers as interference.
This “interference” takes the form of laws, rules, regulations, standards and inspections. These initiatives require the private sector to behave in a way they claim they would without government “interference” — if that’s the case, why do they complain so loudly?
Libertarians and the anti-government crowd hold the overly simplistic position — we don’t need government oversight; the private sector can and will self-regulate. This is not true.
We have two reference points to prove this: What were some of the past workplace/product disasters in America and what are they in much of the rest of the world today, where laissez faire rules?
Why do we need the federal oversight? Not long ago the industrial workplace was much more dangerous than necessary; cribs killed kids and strollers amputated baby’s fingers; drugs, food, air and water regularly made people sick and toxic waste was dumped anywhere. What has changed? Government regulation. Today these calamities, while much less regular, still happen because the government’s inspection capability is constantly underfunded or blocked by anti-government advocates.
The private sector fought tooth and nail to prevent any and all efforts to significantly reduce these risks to workers/consumers. So much for letting business regulate itself.
Even today many of our “good corporate citizens” operate quite differently in foreign countries where governments do not “interfere” with their practices.
Too many companies have proven — in the U.S. in the past and today in other countries — that without oversight they will cut corners on quality and disregarding basic safety rules. Free markets are a very good thing but a market free-for-all is not.
Let the voter beware! Small government — code for weak government — translates into potential harm to your health, wealth and happiness.