Gaddafi Digs In

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Bobby Ghosh's lead story on Muammar Gaddafi makes interesting reading for all those who have stakes in a stable Middle East and Africa [Gaddafi's Last Stand, March 7]. It is clear that Gaddafi will not step down peacefully without using his military might and coercive power. The questions that persist are what price Libyans are willing to pay in their desire for democracy and freedom, and who or what kind of regime will govern if Gaddafi is compelled to step down by mounting international pressure. No matter whether the present upsurge leads to transition toward democracy or a standoff between Gaddafi loyalists and protesters, no other country should try to install its own puppet regime in Libya.
Amit Pradhan, BARODA, INDIA

Undeterred by Gaddafi's callous and cold-blooded actions, Libyans are taking to the streets with remarkable resolution to overthrow his regime and realize their wish for transition from dictatorship to democracy. Although Libya is no Egypt and Gaddafi is unlike Hosni Mubarak, Libyans are not unlike Egyptians in their dogged determination to depose a detestable despot. A beleaguered yet belligerent dictator who sends in the army to put down protests by his own people and is subsequently bloodstained cannot cling to power for long. While troops in uniform and civilian clothing fire on peaceful demonstrators, we as the international community cannot idly stand by. We should intervene effectively to avoid further bloodshed and help Libya through the transition, however difficult and precarious it may be.

What is really worrying about the uprisings in the Middle East is the amount of American weaponry on display. Now that the old guard is being removed, who will control these deadly arms?
Salvatore Puglia, CAPE TOWN

No demonstration in North Africa or the Middle East has been met with such violence as Libya's. Washington has censured Tripoli, but will there be a more substantial follow-up? With all the turbulence spreading in the region, the New York Mercantile Exchange oil index is fast moving northward, pulling back whatever painful effort that has been made to expedite the global economic recovery. Nobody wants to witness another recession.
John B.T. Spencer, HONG KONG

Gaddafi is an egomaniac and you give him the honor of being on the cover of Time. How proud he must feel. You should have respected the people of Libya who are fighting and dying for democracy. A photo of those brave people would have been appropriate.
Elaine Trait, BRUSSELS

China and the Jasmine Revolution
Re "The China Syndrome" [March 7]: I generally agree with Hannah Beech that the Jasmine Revolution is unlikely to spread as far as China. Beech also rightly refers to the somewhat economic social contract between the Beijing government and its people. As long as the party delivers, people tolerate a one-party state. What her article omits is that the Middle East, and especially Libya, is very different from China. Beijing is not an absolutist state governed by one man or one family. The Chinese Communist Party comprises a complex set of internal institutions, governed by a principle of interparty democracy and consultation, and all major offices have term restrictions.

The German Powerhouse
Re "How Germany Became the China of Europe" [March 7]: The current German economic success reflects clearly its own sociocultural heritage, based on creativity and accomplishment. The established philosophy places emphasis not just on competition but also on performing high standards of development, while keeping innovation first. For good or bad, Germans themselves overcame an unprecedented political reunification, which paved the way for domestic economic expansion on one hand while enforcing compliance with global trade players on the other. This strategy could prove to be a positive one for the rest of the European Union, considering the difficulties posed by globalization and the challenge from emerging economies.

The short-term work program that helped the German economy through the Great Recession was supported by owners in cooperation with worker-council- and union-organized labor. German managers and workers are traditionally dedicated to jointly sustaining their companies. There is hardly any deriding of one another as enemies as can often be heard in the U.S.
Alan Benson, BERLIN

Comparing Germany with China isn't fair. Germany is a democracy with one of the best welfare systems. No one is forced to work for low wages. We still are among the countries with the highest wages all over — much higher than in most other European countries. As you mentioned in your article, we are not successful because of low prices (as China is) but because of the quality of our products.
Martin Kuchenbecker, GÖTTINGEN, GERMANY