Embassy bombing could generate positive outcomesAlthough...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 15, 1999

Embassy bombing could generate positive outcomes

Although tragic, the accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade could produce positive results if the United States and Europe don't succumb to China's emotional blackmail.

China's well-orchestrated rage over the bombing is meant to derail efforts to force it to become a more responsible trading partner. China hopes to use this incident to win concessions on trade, human rights and arms control.

It is time for President Clinton and the West to show some backbone.

China has stolen our nuclear and military secrets, continues to suppress freedom, uses prison labor and sweatshops, pirates software and entertainment videos and exports missile technology to rogue countries.

China is not a country we should be embracing, but one from which we should demand better behavior.

And, since it has but a small internal market for its goods, China needs the West more than the West needs China.

If we make no concessions to Slobodan Milosevic on bombing Belgrade and none to the leaders of China on trade and security, maybe Yugoslavia and China will begin to believe in our resolve.

If they do, the world will immediately become a safer place.

Alan McAllister, Severna Park

Bombing distracts attention from China's own failings

I would be the last to defend NATO's accidental bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. I cannot imagine how military "intelligence" can make such a mistake -- and hope to explain it away with an apology.

However, I also think the timing is very fortuitous for the Chinese government.

With the 10th anniversary of the massacre in Tiananmen Square approaching, this bombing provides a fine distraction for the Chinese government.

It focuses public protests on the United States and the rest of the NATO forces, drawing attention away from the Chinese government's own failings, especially in the area of human rights.

Sue A. Wasiljov, Baltimore

Welcoming refugees may `Balkanize' America

Richard Reeves' saccharine column ("Kosovars in search of American dream, too," May 10) about the Kosovar refugees epitomizes how easy it is to look at the future through a rear-view mirror.

But as a citizen of this "nation of immigrants," I see a far more sinister world brought about by the current love fest with the Kosovar refugees.

Unlike the millions who flocked to this country in the past, recent immigrants come to the United States with attitude and nationalism. The "melting pot" ideal is now widely considered a "racist" concept, and multiculturalism and ethnic pride have taken its place.

While the Kosovar Albanians may be welcome additions to some communities at the moment, a future of Kosovarrights, KLA recruitment and fundamentalism could be on the horizon. It is not a pretty thought.

The Albanian refugees may one day return to Yugoslaiva, but that's not very likely. The American way of life is seductive and attractive. American freedom could serve as an arena for ancient ethnic hatreds and nationalism.

If so, America may find itself the next Balkan civilization.

Rosa Ellis, Baltimore

Thankful to Jesse Jackson for rescuing three soldiers

I agree with Sandy Grady's May 6 Opinion Commentary column, "Jackson succeeds where Clinton refuses to go."

Critics can call Jesse Jackson "a media hound" or opportunist or say that his trip to Yugoslavia was a public relations stunt.

All this may be true, but the bottom line is that he traveled to a hostile, war-torn country and returned with three precious American lives in tact.

For that, we should all be thankful.

Gail Blevins, Baltimore

Celebrity won't do the job for Baltimore's next mayor

As the mayoral campaign draws nearer, many are suggesting that Baltimore's citizens again put their confidence in a celebrity who looks great on paper.

Today that person is Kweisi Mfume. Twelve years ago, it was Kurt Schmoke

This isn't meant as a personal criticism of Mr. Schmoke, but I think we have seen that credentials alone do not make a great leader.

Americans seem to be taken with celebrities, giving support to people based on their "name" or reputation.

But as citizens, I think our duty is to look beyond name recognition and seriously consider what characteristics a candidate will bring to a job as complex and difficult as mayor of Baltimore.

The city's daily workings may be frustrating and mundane, and the person in charge has to be willing to see that the job gets done.

I would suggest that we not focus on celebrity but stay grounded in the reality of who will do the best job for the city.

Michael E. Daneker, Baltimore

State voting laws are in need of clarification

Supporters of Kweisi Mfume for mayor feel that recent reports of his possible voting violations are of no consequence; his opponents regard them as a problem.

But the larger problem is that state election laws need simplification and clarification so that State Sen. Clarence W. Blount, Mr. Mfume and others won't continue to make us wonder what in the world is going on.

McNair Taylor, Baltimore

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