Euro Zone's Debt Crisis
Your article "Why Germany Can't Save the World" is right [Oct. 3]. Germany doesn't want to lead Europe (nor would the other European nations allow it to). Germany is only Europe's third largest country in area, and since 1945 it has been physically and psychically scarred. Its present resources should not be overstated. The national debt amounts to $2.7 trillion, and the economy cannot keep its strength in the long run, because the dominant manufacturing industries have no bright future. Nevertheless it should be appreciated that Germany is still pulling its weight in Europe, more so than most other nations, some of which throw their weight about and yet refuse to make any sacrifices.
Tea Party Lines
In "Where the Tea Party Runs Strong," Joe Klein asks Texarkana's Miller County Patriots if Obama is a patriot, to which the reply is, He couldn't possibly be [Oct. 3]. This exchange brought to mind a famous quotation from Dr. Samuel Johnson: "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel."
Cherry Hill, N.J., U.S.
Science and Faith
I'd like to thank Lisa Randall for putting forth in a delicate but convincing way the need to trust science and for politicians to take it into account when developing public policy ["How Science Can Lead the Way," Oct. 3]. Science can no longer be ignored, even if it contradicts some religious beliefs. There is too much at stake.
Vincent M. Carini,
Lyndhurst, N.J., U.S.
Science is morally neutral and must be guided by basic moral values like "Love thy neighbor" and "Do not do unto others what you would not want others to do unto you." Americans are right to put moral values first.
Joseph A. Feld,
There is no inherent conflict between faith and science. The proponents of creationism who oppose science and evolution are fundamentalist throwbacks and do not represent the views of enlightened faith. The contribution of both Jewish and Christian faiths is that we are all one family, co-creators with God, and are to treat this earth with respect and practice good stewardship. Enlightened faith and science are partners, not enemies.
The Rev. David L. Middleton,
Shelbyville, Ill., U.S.
Schools in South Korea
While I am glad to see that someone has shone light on the dark side of South Korea's education system and that the government is finally taking action, I'm sad to admit that there seems to be no difference in my life and the lives of my peers ["Teacher, Leave Those Kids Alone," Oct. 3]. We start school at 8 a.m. and go home at 9 p.m. Schoolteachers and parents continue to emphasize the importance of admission to good colleges. The mind-set is so hardwired that I doubt any change will happen during my generation. The government should work on eradicating this perception instead of relaxing admission exams or putting hagwons (private, after-hours tutoring academies) on a curfew.
Daegu, South Korea
As a Korean student, I don't think any parent or student has a choice other than to use hagwons to fill in the gaps of our inept public education. Before any regulation on private education takes place, the government must reform its public schools to give students a sufficiently satisfying education. We are just searching for the best education; if our schools were doing a good job teaching us, what would be the point of hagwons?
Your feature on the Israel-Palestine conflict revealed the extent of the divisions between the parties ["The Debate on a Palestinian State," Oct. 3]. But those in the Israeli camp like Yossi Beilin who imagine that the solution lies in Israel recognizing a Palestinian state, are sadly deluded. This would mean abandoning half a million Jewish settlers in the West Bank to their fate. It would also mean dividing Jerusalem, against the wishes of most of its citizens. Even for the Arab population of East Jerusalem it would be a disaster, as they would be forced to leave a prosperous, democratic country and become citizens of a poverty-stricken, corrupt state where political differences are resolved through violence.
It's infuriating to read Uzi Landau's contribution on Palestinians' decision to resort to the U.N. When he accused Mahmoud Abbas of flaunting the Oslo accords, he forgot to say it was Israel who time and again flaunted the accords and built illegal Jewish settlements across Palestinian land, in defiance of international court decisions. Most sadly, the U.S. applies a double standard and supports a cold-blooded aggressor while asking other Middle Eastern countries to respect human rights.
The contribution by Landau has finally convinced me that either he or all Israelis are in denial and obfuscating the truth to suit their position in the ongoing peace process.