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Re "Defense of the Realm" [April19]: My problem with this article is the way it extrapolates a military crisis into something altogether more profound affecting the entire country. Britain's self-esteem, as a nation, is not in 2010 especially reliant on the position or reputation of its military. People certainly care a great deal about the well-being of soldiers and will honor the traditions of national remembrance on Nov. 11 every year. But this country has never been especially militaristic (in the way that somewhere like Germany was in the early 20th century). Historically we have always had a small land army, except for during the two World Wars, and so the average British person's sense of connection to soldiering is today very limited. I am confident that the national self-esteem (of England, at least) was more damaged by the exit of the only remaining English football teams from the European Champions League tournament in April, than any military shortcomings in the last 10 years.
Tim MacDonald, LONDON
As British royalty throughout the years have served willingly and with distinction in the British armed forces, why not make it mandatory for the sons and daughters of British politicians, of eligible military age, to serve alongside their royal counterparts?
Denver Morgan, DARLING, SOUTH AFRICA
I was shocked to read this line: "We can't wait to go to Afghanistan." I am a 16-year-old student. In the past few weeks, I've seen how the death of a young German soldier from my hometown as well as the death of a young soldier from my grandmother's hometown in Britain have affected both the communities they called home. The Afghanistan war had seemed distant and far away to me, but reading the obituaries in local newspapers and seeing the flowers strewn on town monuments opened my eyes to what is actually happening out there.
Charlotte Braun, GÖTTINGEN, GERMANY
The Next Great Power Re "How to Think About China" [April 19]: In the last 20 years, the Western world has closed one factory after another to open up business in China. We did not do it for the love of the Chinese; we did it for short-term profit and to satisfy the greed of our corporations. We can hardly be surprised that China, with its constant yearly growth, is becoming a superpower. It reminds me of a time when colonial aristocrats, servants and landless peasants arrived in the New World together: in a short time, the complacent rich were outshone by the hardworking poor, fighting for their place.
John Blanc, AUCKLAND
I burst into laughter when I read: "It follows that any actions by China that threaten global stability have to be rebuked. The habit of trying to make China cooperate only by granting concessions has not worked." I can think of plenty of actions by the U.S. that threaten global stability, such as the invasion of Iraq. As for granting concessions, the U.S. is a master in granting concession after concession to Israel without ever getting any cooperation in return.
Stephen Wong, CASTLECRAG, AUSTRALIA
I was deeply impressed by and proud of the 60th anniversary celebration of the founding of the People's Republic of China last October. But the robust display, matched by the country's skyrocketing economy, ought not mean that China is seeking to aggressively assert itself it just wants acceptance. I don't know why people warily view China's ambitions and why some in the U.S. want to slow China's rise. Both countries should be capable of growing together.
Candy Yan, HONG KONG
It's clear that what the U.S. needs to do first is to just accept China as the new superpower in the world order as well as its own declining power. That done, the way forward will become simpler. At the moment, many in the U.S. seem to be in denial.
Aruma N., PUNE, INDIA
Nice Work if You Can Get It Re "How to Create a Job" [April 5]: The government can help gin up jobs by reducing the 40-hour workweek, which was established in 1940. Since then, technology has increased worker productivity dramatically, resulting in fewer workers producing more. A 36-hour week would require the workforce to be increased to maintain today's total weekly man-hours.
Sidney A. Centilli, CLARKSTON, MICH., U.S.
I oversee 97 employees, 26 in the U.S. and 71 in India, at a large financial company. My offshore employees are superb, but doing a story on U.S. jobs without looking at outsourcing a huge challenge to the job market does a disservice to your readers.
Theresa Fitzpatrick, GROTON, MASS., U.S.