On far too many occasions, Malaysia has been put in a bad light in the media, and now we are being labeled as terrorists as well ("Fighting a spreading fire," World Economy, Oct. 22). This is absolutely ludicrous, and to perpetuate such views is both dangerous and malicious. Just ask the Americans in Malaysia.
Malaysians stand united with our Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamed, in condemning the September 11 terrorist attacks, as all sane people do.
Kuala Lumpur Please allow me to turn around your piece on how terrorism is threatening the global economy. As people, we may hate each other, but if I am buying your widgets, and you are buying mine, we will at least behave in a civilized manner, because it is in our self-interest to do so ("What's at stake," World Economy, Oct. 22). This is even more true when our offices and factories are built on each other's soil. Humans are basically greedy and selfish. Seamless global free trade is our best weapon against terrorism, and maybe our only hope for peace. Why don't the anti-globalism protesters see that?
Houston I do not understand how the right of Palestinian return is different from the right of Jews to return to Israel ("A rare chance for Israeli-Palestinian progress," World Economy, Oct. 22). A financially secure Palestine can only be profitable for Israel. Displaced Palestinians returning, reinvesting, and rebuilding would mean fewer out-of-work youths throwing stones or blowing themselves up. The death of young Israelis and Palestinians is a worthless sacrifice to an unnecessarily hard-headed and hard-hearted policy. Both sides should remember that when they talk about sacrifices for peace.
The continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is good for neither Israel nor the Palestinians who live there. We should continue to pursue peace, but let's not kid ourselves. For the terrorist organizations with whom we are at war, to the extent that they even have a genuine grievance regarding Palestine, the "occupation" they decry is not of the West Bank and Gaza but of any "infidels" (read Westerners, read Jews) in any part of the Holy Land.
Bronx, N.Y. Many of the social democratic policies advocated by Robert Kuttner were tried in the 1930s and again during the 1960s ("The economy needs more big government--now," Economic Viewpoint Oct. 15). These policies were poor economics then and are poor economics now. A comparison of American and European performance since 1980 proves this conclusively.
Kuttner's comparing the war on terrorism to World War II and comparing the current recession to the Great Depression demonstrate little understanding of history--or worse, intellectual dishonesty. As dangerous and perfidious as the terrorist threat is, democracy is not threatened with extinction, as it was during World War II.
Also, Kuttner should be reminded that the nine recessions since World War II have been followed by nine recoveries. Economic storm clouds are not gathering, and the sky is not falling.
Donald J. Gaston
Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.