- The Washington Times - Monday, May 14, 2001

Indian sanctions should not proliferate

The State Department must not be allowed to stifle the United States burgeoning relationship with India, the worlds largest democracy and a region vital to U.S. strategic interests, simply as a result of its own failed policies ("State split over lifting sanctions against India," May 10). The United States and India already enjoy a wide-ranging bilateral relationship, and are cooperating on everything from pharmaceutical development and the fight against HIV-AIDS, to environmental and business issues. Unfortunately, the sanctions cloud that has loomed over this relationship for two years has kept progress from being made in widening these sectors of engagement.
If the Bush administration is serious about enhancing its security structure in Asia, it will need India as a partner with which to cooperate on military, technology and intelligence issues. Sanctions are no way of going about achieving this goal.
Already, all key Cabinet members have publicly voiced their wish to roll back the use of economic sanctions, especially as they are applied to India. In congressional testimony, Secretary of State Colin Powell made clear that he did not think that sanctions were a useful instrument of U.S. policy and promised a wholesale review of all bilateral sanctions. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, in meetings last month with his Indian counterpart Jaswant Singh, echoed this same view. More recently, Treasury Secretary Paul ONeill communicated his support of an early lifting of sanctions against India during World Bank meetings with Indian Finance Minister Yaswant Sinha.
While nonproliferation proponents argue that lifting sanctions "could send the wrong signal" to other states who have forgone the development of nuclear weapons, applying sanctions to India sends the wrong signal to a friendly nation whose support we need in a region of the world where the forces of hegemony and fundamentalism are constantly at work.


Lindemann was off the radar screen

Tom Brays otherwise excellent column "Visionary Star Wars precedent" has a critical misstatement about the history of radar development in Britain before World War II (Commentary, May 11). The government was not "prodded by scientist Frederick Lindemann," as he claims. The exact opposite occurred, as documented by C.P. Snow in "Science and Government" and by many other authorities. The British RDF (now radar) development program was run by the "Tizard Committee," headed by Sir Henry Tizard. Lindemann was, at Winston Churchills request, put on the committee in 1935 but consistently opposed priority for radar. His opposition actually led to the committees temporary dissolution. Tizard is universally recognized as the primary driving force, Lindemann as a persistent opponent.

Athens provides more than spartan safety

On behalf of the board of the Hellenic Association of Columbia University, I would like to respond to Arnold Beichmans April 20 Commentary column, "Where terrorists stalk without fear." We believe that Mr. Beichmans column creates a misleading impression about incidents of terrorism in Greece. Terrorism, specifically politically-motivated terrorism, is an international phenomenon. Greece, unfortunately, has had its own share of related incidents, with the terrorist organization "November 17" being at the core of the problem. The Greek government, in collaboration with U.S. and British agencies, have attempted to solve this problem over the years, but the terrorist organization still exists despite some breakthroughs in the official investigation. At the same time though, there is no doubt that Greece continues to be a very safe place for its citizens and its guests. Practically all terrorist attacks in Greece have been against particular individuals with political or military power and are not random acts of violence that would endanger the general public. The severity of terrorist attacks in Greece has been significantly lower than in most countries, and it is unfair to single it out the manner that Mr. Beichman has.
We believe that Mr. Beichmans fear that American athletes and visitors attending the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens will be in danger is unrealistic. Greece, and Athens in particular, have been very successful in organizing international athletic events. For example, the World Track and Field Championship held in Athens in 1999 received international acclaim.
Based on Mr. Beichmans argument, there are very few countries in the world that could and should host the Olympic Games. A bomb exploded among innocent visitors during the Games in Atlanta in 1996. Should the United Stated be forever banned from hostingany international event? We are not experts on international terrorism, but we do know that Greece is a very safe country. Athens is taking the organization of the Olympic Games very seriously, and it will not be vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

New York

Conservation begins at the checkbook

One crucial point is being missed in discussions of energy conservation as a solution to Californians woes: Nobody has a direct economic motivation to conserve ("The limits of conservation," Editorials, May 10). Rational energy usage will come only when consumers are forced to pay the real cost of energy.
Until recently, the state government has forced utilities to take a loss for the difference between the low retail price and the high wholesale cost. With that golden goose now dying, the legislatures latest scheme merely takes out a mortgage to pay current energy bills, assuring higher taxes in the future. Meanwhile, the high demand is being "managed" by rolling blackouts, preventing those who are willing and able to pay for reliable power from doing so. Nobody in California knows what energy really costs.
Were the damage localized to California, we in the rest of the country could all sit back and have a good laugh. But Gov. Gray Davis refusal to allow utilities to pass on real costs is forcing up energy prices throughout the West; on hot days the states energy buyer pays whatever price it must to purchase all of the electricity it can. Moreover, Californias insistence on clean air at any cost also drives the move to natural gas generating systems, pushing gas prices up nationwide.
A more sensible route, admittedly politically hazardous, would be to deregulate prices today and allow utilities to enter into long-term contracts. Politicians could redirect state expenditures to temporary assistance to the poor to offset the higher energy costs. The point is that energy consumption would fall immediately as people rushed to protect their wallets. They would do more than conserve: They would find ways to do without.
This approach would be more honest and fiscally responsible than the open-ended, risk-laden measures being taken today. It would allow the state to lessen probable shrinkage of its business base by ensuring that there would be enough power for those who could afford it. It also would encourage novel pricing schemes that reflect the cost of electricity at different times of the day.
Leadership at the state level is absent. The federal role should be limited to explaining that any federal move to cap or regulate power prices will spread Californias misery throughout the nation; advising the state on eliminating retail price caps to give consumers control over their energy costs; warning that current measures are damaging the states tax, business, and employment climates; and suggesting that the way to win the war against the energy gougers is to make sure that there are enough of them around to compete against each other.

Columbia, S.C.

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