- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Science, ethics near critical moment

I agree with your editorial on human cloning (“Science won’t wait,” Editorial, Friday). There will be a time when a generation will become the last naturally selected humans.

When we cross the line, substituting human choice for natural evolution, it will have a lasting effect. Science, not policy, is dictating the pace of change. Ethicists and theologians are struggling to keep up; the general public is often baffled.

The announcement of cloned human embryos takes us a giant step closer to that moment. Unless such research is conducted under strict monitoring in the United States, this will become one area of advanced technology outside our scientific or political control.

This is a serious matter of national security and human concern. The future may very well be dictated by those who control the means for best addressing disease, disability and death. We no longer have the luxury of waiting. We do have the ability to help control the pace of change.

JOHN SHOSKY

Alexandria

Two countries, two systems

What is China? If you ask people this question, you probably will get as many different answers as you might think of. Indeed, answering this easy question is not as easy as it looks.

The truth, however, is that there is but one China in the world. And there is Taiwan.

To most people, when the name of China is used, it refers to the People’s Republic of China on the mainland. It is an undeniable fact.

Sun Weide, press spokesman for the Embassy of China in his letter Friday, “There is only one China,” stated that “being different from [the United States] does not make us ‘authoritarian.’ ” That is true. What makes the People’s Republic of China authoritarian lies in the political system it has. China exists as a one-party country. It does not allow any opposition party to flourish on the mainland. Taiwan, on the other hand, has become a vibrant democratic country in the past 10 years.

Since its founding in 1949, the People’s Republic of China has never ruled Taiwan, even for one day. In other words, China and Taiwan have been separate countries on each side of the Taiwan Straits for more than 50 years. This is a very harsh fact for China to swallow.

To most of the Taiwanese people living on the island today, Taiwan has been an independent country for as long as they know. Taiwanese people have fought hard and long for the democratization of Taiwan. To tell them that the future of Taiwan lies on the “one country, two systems” model advocated by China definitely would be neither appealing nor acceptable.

JOYCE C. SHIEH

Executive director

Formosan Association for Public Affairs

Washington

Fence would sever peace treaty

It is regrettable to see a former Israeli ambassador to Washington twist reality in the manner Zalman Shoval does in his Feb. 9 column, “Jordan twists the fence,” (Op-Ed) in The Washington Times.

Jordan values its peace treaty with Israel because it believes the treaty is the only means to allow the people of the region to live in security and prosperity after decades of conflict. In fact, despite differences that may arise, Jordan’s peace treaty with Israel is the warmest and strongest Israel has been able to achieve with any of its Arab neighbors since its creation. In no small degree is this because of the vision and moderation of Jordan’s leadership.

Israel’s government certainly will not be acting out of generosity toward its eastern neighbor by fencing off the Palestinians in a ghetto state. The biggest blunder anyone in the region could commit would be to deny the Palestinians the last opportunity left for them to live in dignity in a viable state of their own. The fence would expropriate almost 15 percent of the West Bank(excludingEast Jerusalem) as it is currently approved and up to 55 percent of West Bank land if plans to build the eastern fence are approved. Thousands of farmers and children would be isolated from their lands and schools. Thousands already have been displaced in the West Bank because the fence cut them off from their sources of income. This is no minor deviation required by day-to-day security needs, as the ambassador describes.

What is recognized by the entire world except the Israeli government is that the territory on which the wall is being constructed is occupied territory. A particular limitation on the occupying state’s rights and powers is the impermissibility of the state’s annexing or otherwise altering the status of occupied territory. Had the fence been built on the 1967 border line, it would have been considered a security fence and would have been accepted. However, the fence in its current path sows political mines that will be hard to extract and will only derail future final status negotiations.

Jordan has always put its neck on the line for peace, even at times when it had to pay the price for its stance in blood to those who espoused war and terror. Jordan will not be silenced, however, when it sees the Israeli government taking steps that will unravel the very peace Jordanians and Israelis have struggled and even given their lives to establish.

No other country in the Arab world has stood against terror and against suicide bombings as Jordan has. Jordan was vocal in expressing this position not only in the West, but more so at home and in the region. Jordan is the last party to be committing any mistakes in the stand it takes. The corrections are due elsewhere, as many moderates in Israel advocate. However, Jordan, this time, will not pay the price for others’ mistakes.

KARIM KAWAR

Ambassador

Embassy of Jordan

Washington

Morality, not bigotry

I agree with Andrew Sullivan (“Separate but equal,” (Weekly Dish, Op-Ed, Feb. 6) on comparing “civil unions” to homosexual “marriage”: They are the same thing, with only another name.

Where we differ, however, is on Mr. Sullivan’s insistence that maintaining marriage as the union of a man and a woman is a matter of “stigma” — that is, bigotry. Morality is not bigotry, and defending the integrity of marriage in no way demeans homosexuals or others who choose to live in ways that are unlike marriage.

Preserving marriage benefits the entire society, including the unmarried, because it is the central stabilizing element. Creating counterfeits by any name, whether it is “palimony” or “civil unions,” cheapens and destabilizes this vital institution, putting all citizens at risk because of the social fallout. No-fault divorce, sexual promiscuity and a cultural shift toward selfishness all have hurt marriage. Kicking it down yet another set of stairs will not strengthen it.

Marriage, as created by God and protected in all major cultures and by all major religions, is the union of the two sexes, not just any two people. Marriage and family predate any political institutions, and they can be counterfeited but not replaced.

Mr. Sullivan’s attempt to hijack the moral capital of the civil rights movement and even use the analogy of segregated drinking fountains is beneath his usually cogent grasp of events. He should stick to foreign policy and other areas in which we all benefit from his fresh and witty observations.

Rep. Tom Finneran, the Democratic House speaker in Massachusetts, put it well the other day when he was asked whether marriage was a civil rights issue. He replied, “I know the advocates like to cloak themselves [in civil rights]. But the cloak doesn’t fit.”

ROBERT H. KNIGHT

Director

Culture & Family Institute

Washington

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