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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Revive Middle East excellence

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Twenty-five years ago, President Reagan stood at the Brandenburg Gate and challenged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall." He could have made those remarks at the United Nations or even on the White House lawn, but he chose the perfect spot to shine the light on the stark contrast between the robust economy of West Berlin and the failed economy of East Berlin. He didn't need to point out the differences between communism and democracy -- the backdrop spoke for itself.

Fast-forward to 2012. Mitt Romney gave a similar speech in Jerusalem, this time highlighting the stark contrast between the robust economy of Israel and the failed economy of the Palestinian territories. Granted, his tone was a little more blunt than Reagan's, but his point was the same: Democracy allows a free people to thrive, while an authoritarian government discourages excellence among the people. By no means was this racist or bigoted. Rather, it was a celebration of freedom and democracy in an otherwise oppressive region of the world.

Two thousand years ago, the Arab culture was a bastion of excellence in the sciences and mathematics. Bright minds were allowed to excel, the region flourished and the world benefited from Arab achievement. Today if it weren't for oil revenue, the despotic regimes of the Middle East would have nothing to boast about on the world stage.

Everything Mr. Romney stated was factual. However, unlike 1987, there is no Mikhail Gorbachev to enact change among the Arab people and "tear down" the cultural divide in the Middle East.

ED GROTH

Mountain Top, Pa.

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