- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 3, 2000

Clinton risks Balkan chaos with Montenegro scheme

Thank you for publishing "Mounting anxiety in Montenegro" (Aug. 29), regarding President Clinton's continued machinations in the Balkans.

Anyone knowledgeable about the significant history of Montenegro knows that any effort by Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic to declare independence for the tiny Yugoslav republic will engender a fierce and brutal civil war, as a significant fraction of the populace still wishes to remain with Yugoslavia (e.g., the Zelenashi).

The fratricidal fighting (which has plagued the republic for centuries) would make the Kosovo conflict look like a walk in the park. The United States and NATO would face an even worse war in an incredibly mountainous and difficult region of the world in which the Ottoman Turks could not win for 500 years. A conflict in Montenegro could seriously jeopardize Vice President Al Gore's presidential chances, as the United States likely would endure casualties in an area of the world where it has little national interest.

I realize that Mr. Clinton is desperate to ensure his legacy and is obsessed with removing Slobodan Milosevic from power. But stealing more land from Yugoslavia (still the most multiethnic region in Europe) and encouraging yet more ethnic cleansing of Serbs will destabilize the Balkans further and will ensure a legacy of hatred and revenge for decades. The best way to remove Mr. Milosevic and bring democracy to Serbia is to lift the crippling penal sanctions against the Yugoslav people.

MICHAEL PRAVICA

Las Vegas, N.M.

Not all under 40 accept Clinton behavior

In response to the letter from Larry Stone of Peyton, Colo. ("Clinton has been 'Me president,' " Aug. 30), I agree that the baby boomers are accepting of President Clinton's self-absorbed and narcissistic behavior. I disagree, however, with Mr. Stone's age groupings.

Many of us under age 40 too young to be boomers but too old to be Generation Xers find Mr. Clinton and his antics nauseating. We do not accept his behavior and are dismayed by where we see our nation heading.

We are a largely unacknowledged and underrepresented group of young, conservative-minded people (remnants of what could be termed "Reagan youth") who are disillusioned and disenchanted by what we see in Washington.

We are tired of having liberal policies rammed down our throats and our individual freedoms infringed upon. It's difficult, however, to have our voices heard over the aging hippy generation. We appear to be outnumbered, after all.

Mr. Stone is correct on another point as well. Mr. Clinton is desperate to have some sort of legacy. When the smoke over the West finally clears, he may have one.

LISA GAW

Bethany, Conn.

China's failure to understand democracy evident in dealings with Taiwan

Zhao Qizheng, minister of China's State Council Information Office, recently "criticized the United States for proposing U.N. resolutions that denounced China's human rights record and for supporting Taiwan" (Embassy Row, Aug. 31). The criticism reflects China's failure to comprehend democracy and the respect for individual human beings upon which it is based.

This inability to comprehend the workings of democracy shows clearly in China's dealings with Taiwan, with which it seeks unification. Taiwan's new president, Chen Shui-bian, repeatedly has expressed his willingness to discuss unification in talks with Chinese leaders. The latter, however, have refused to resume cross-strait talks suspended in 1995 unless Mr. Chen declares a priori that Taiwan is part of China and will reunify.

This is not a statement Mr. Chen could make even if he wanted to. As he explained on Aug. 28: "No single government, no single party, no single leader can make any decision on the future and direction of Taiwan. Anything is possible, but whatever change and direction the future of Taiwan will take will have to be decided by the 23 million Taiwanese."

If China's leaders would explain directly to their Taiwanese counterparts why reunification might be desirable, Mr. Chen then could discuss the issues with his fellow citizens, and closer ties might follow. But the Taiwanese and their president, who struggled so long to achieve democracy, will not be dictated to by China or anyone else.

LORNA HAHN

Association on Third World Affairs Inc.

Washington

Lieberman not so religious; ADL anti-religious

The Anti-Defamation League should not be blasting what Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman is saying but rather what he is doing ("ADL demands Lieberman drop appeals to religion," Aug. 29).

Mr. Lieberman's professing of faith in God and making a case for the role of religious life in America would be fine if the Democratic nominee for vice president practiced what he preached.

Where was Mr. Lieberman's faith when he voted with President Clinton and against the ban on partial-birth abortion?

Where was Mr. Lieberman's faith when he voted to acquit Mr. Clinton when it was obvious the president had lied and trivialized immoral acts? The list could go on.

One is left wondering what impact this great faith of Mr. Lieberman's has on his life. When the really big issues are at risk, his faith is nowhere to be found.

The ADL is wrong on another issue, too. Faith in God is an American ideal. Has the ADL ever taken a look at our currency? Has the ADL ever read the writings and speeches of our Founding Fathers and early Supreme Court justices? The Constitution prohibits Congress from passing a law making one religion or denomination the state church or faith. But faith in God is an American ideal and, by the grace of God alone, will be forever.

LARRY GALENSKI

St. Louis

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In your Aug. 29 front-page article on the Anti-Defamation League's demands on Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, I was taken aback by ADL National Chairman Howard P. Berkowitz's comment that belief in God is contrary to the American ideal ("ADL demands Lieberman drop appeals to religion").

Where is this man coming from? America has long enjoyed a social order that is based on religious freedom. Even the 2 percent or 3 percent of Americans who are agnostics and atheists have found a home in this land of people who believe in, as Mr. Lieberman puts it, "the same awesome God."

True, we do have a religiously diverse society. It is only through respecting each others beliefs that we have created a unique society that can extend equal rights to everyone, including nonbelievers. We should not, however, permit nonbelievers to forbid us to speak in public about our "awesome God."

TERRY MOHAMMAD TAHIR

Washington

n

According to news reports, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman claims he has "not changed my position since Al Gore chose me as his running mate." The Democratic nominee for vice president clearly has changed some views that he had held before he was chosen but not actually since he was chosen. He cannot be tagged a liar, even though his statement is not exactly true. It has a definite Clintonian ring.

MILDRED M. FISCHER

Fredericksburg, Va.

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