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Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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Recapturing the economic lead China has dislodged the United States from its long reign as the main engine of global economic growth for the first time because China is relaxing more economic laws as it moves closer to a free market (“China becomes the growth engine,” Page 1, Thursday).

As economic laws are relaxed, the economy grows. If the United States wants to regain its title and remain the world’s economic powerhouse, the president and Congress will have to work together to deregulate various industries within the country.

America is in the midst of a presidential campaign, making this the perfect time for such a conversation. Who ever thought we would be asking if we should be more like China?

GARY UZONYI

Fairfax

What’s wrong with the Bush Doctrine?

Victor Davis Hanson concisely summarizes the dilemma we face with respect to Middle East policy in granting credibility to the words of wisdom so freely offered by foreign-policy sages from bygone times: appeasement from Democrats and cynicism from Republicans (“Mideast back to the future?” Commentary, Saturday). Neither approach constitutes more than a fleeting plan for obvious reasons — appeasement and cynicism are both too fragile and too delicate. A stable foreign policy, one that will provide more than finger-in-the-dike utility, requires permanence.

The author of the Bush Doctrine understands this, and thus the Bush Doctrine represents a bold (perhaps too bold at this time) departure from the shopworn policies of the past.

However laudatory the idea of spreading democracy, one must have a fertile field in which this most demanding of governmental systems can flower. It appears that people riven by tribalism and religious stricture combining obedience to Allah with the edifice of government are not ready for democracy. It also appears that the American people are no longer willing, as they were in the aftermath of World War II, to put in the time and effort required for this arduous task.

The problem is more with the timing and specific target of the Bush Doctrine than with its ideals.

PAUL BLOUSTEIN

Cincinnati

Beneficiaries, not insurance companies

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