- The Washington Times - Friday, December 20, 2002

Immigration's divided appeal

According to a report by the Center for Immigration Studies, 60 percent of Americans believe present immigration levels are a "critical threat to the vital interests of the United States," but only 14 percent of the nation's leaders think so ("U.S. public, 'elites' differ on immigration," Page 1, Tuesday). This perception gap should be no surprise when one sees that elites benefit most and suffer least from uncontrolled immigration. For them, immigration is practically cost-free.

Consider the following examples. Elites whom the report defines as members of Congress, top business and labor union executives, religious leaders, and media honchos will never have to wait for treatment at a hospital facing bankruptcy because it is legally required to aid untold numbers of penniless immigrants. Their children will never attend schools overcrowded by masses of immigrants who speak English as a second language, if at all. Their property will not be strewn with dead livestock, as has that of the unfortunate Arizona ranchers who were obliged to form local militias to protect themselves from a de facto invasion. (Note, however, that it is unlikely any illegal aliens will be making tracks across President Bush's well-guarded property in Crawford, Texas, any time soon.) They do not live in communities straining to provide services needed by immigrants, such as transportation, housing and education.

But they do benefit from having a practically unlimited labor pool that meets their needs: nannies and gardeners for private citizens, inexpensive employees for businessmen, more minorities able to be manipulated by union leaders and race hustlers.

As the report notes, "Immigration is simply not on the radar of the elite ." The real costs of immigration, like those of taxes and addictive gambling, generally fall on people and communities least able to afford them. When the destructive consequences of these elites' reckless pro-immigration policies can no longer be ignored thanks to the shredding of social cohesion, it will be they who pack their bags, collect their fortunes and move to more salubrious environs, while we commoners are left to deal with the mess they made.


ROBERT BERRY

Montgomery Village

Applying fair-trade litmus test to Chile

I must take issue with the final line of Joseph Perkins' "Cheers for Chilean free trade" (Commentary, Wednesday): "It is hard to see how any lawmaker who is not a downright protectionist could oppose its ratification." He says this as if "protectionist" were an inherently dirty word. But if "protectionist" means promoting U.S. economic interests before all others, then I would support such a lawmaker with glee.

Protectionist legislation enacted during the latter half of the 19th century and first half of the 20th century arguably produced the greatest economy and attendant standard of living in world history all without the "benefit" of an income tax. Historically, "free trade" has resulted in an erosion of domestic manufacturing, downward pressure on U.S. wages, migration of capital overseas and more exposure to the vagaries of global finance. The promised panacea of free trade has not improved our trade deficit, anchored inherently unstable nations nor erased conflict and competition between nations. Strong arguments can be made to the contrary.

The litmus test for our government's trade policy (and foreign policy, for that matter) is whether it benefits "We, the People." All other considerations must be of secondary importance. Call it a return to economic nationalism, if you will. Yet, it is essential that our trade policy be visionary enough to look beyond the popular goal of just achieving the lowest price on discount store shelves. Our leaders must also realize that unfettered access to the most lucrative market on Earth ours, at the present is still the ultimate trade prize most nations seek. That is leverage not to be discounted.

If the Chilean bilateral trade agreement is to the long-term economic advantage of the U.S. citizen, fine. If not, it must be renegotiated.


STEPHEN E. MOORADIAN

Hanover, Pa.

Merry Christmas from Chairman Mao

Tuesday's Page One article "What Christmas means to atheists in China" reminded me of a trip early last January to my grandfather's native country, China, where we visited Beijing's Tiananmen Square. An oversized image of Mao Tse-tung lorded it over the infamous landmark.

As my husband and I joined residents and tourists alike in the nation's traditional visit to surrounding parks, gardens, temples and palaces on Jan. 2 tradition reserves Jan. 3 for visits to families we were happily surprised to see an official greeting to the Chinese people that covered almost the entire wall of the entrance to one of the palaces.

It was painted in green over a contrasting red poinsettia and read, "With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year." Not "Happy X-mas" or a mere "Happy Holidays," mind you.

If only we in the United States were humble and cognizant enough to acknowledge the "reason for the season."


TESSIE PASA

Falls Church

U.S. should be picky about Pakistan

Arnaud de Borchgrave must be congratulated for drawing the Bush administration's attention to the mess in Pakistan ("Pakistan: In flagrante delicto," Commentary, Dec. 13). While the White House seems to be fixated on Iraq's Saddam Hussein, Taliban supporters in Pakistan have formed local governments in the influential and strategically important provinces bordering Afghanistan and are threatening to disrupt our military operations in the region and planning to adopt the Sharia, the restrictive Muslim holy code that drove Afghanistan back to the Dark Ages.

Despite his assurances to the United States, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has done absolutely nothing to control the fundamentalist forces in his country that are a source of instability and bloodshed in the region. Only this week, a Pakistani court freed dreaded terrorist Maulana Masood Azhar, who is responsible for a string of attacks in the Indian state of Kashmir and on India's Parliament last December and is linked closely with Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network.

Such actions clearly point out Pakistan's unwillingness to be a meaningful partner in the war on terrorism. President Bush needs to apply more pressure on Pakistan to clean up its act. How can you be a partner of the United States and let terrorists out of your prisons at the same time?

The plot to attack a U.S. diplomat with a car bomb and the success of anti-American Islamic fundamentalists in the recent parliamentary elections show that Pakistan remains a lawless country where the Taliban is alive and kicking.

Mr. Bush would do well to pay attention to these scary developments.


GEORGE BRUNO

Former U.S. ambassador to Belize

International affairs adviser

Western Hemisphere Center for Security Cooperation

Fort Benning, Ga.

Not-so-innocent royal deserved the gallows

The Duc d'Enghien was executed in spring 1804 and not "sometime in 1803," as Arnold Beichman writes in "Leadership and party quandary" (Commentary, Tuesday). Although innocent of specific assassination attempts against Napoleon by the House of Bourbon, he was nevertheless in the pay of England and wished to participate in the new war against France. He was hardly an "innocent young royalist."

The quote that the execution was "worse than a crime, it is a blunder" attributed sometimes to Talleyrand and sometimes to Joseph Fouche accurately reflects Mr. Beichman's view of Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott's comments, but it never reflected most Frenchmen's view of the execution. Indeed, shortly thereafter, Napoleon was named emperor of the French by an act approved by the tribunate, the assembly and the nation.

As Robert Asprey points out in "The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte," "by June [1804] the tempest had nearly passed. Napoleon had made his signal to would-be assassins, and indeed the attempts henceforth ceased. Tears would continue to flow over Enghien's death, but that did not worry Napoleon in the slightest."

Poor Mr. Lott. If only he had the emperor's "problem."


BARRY ISAACS

Arlington, Va.

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