- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 24, 2002

The world's greatest boss?

Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough referred last month to the "unremarkable tenure" of Vice Adm. Tom Wilson at the Defense Intelligence Agency (Inside the Ring, Nation, June 7). Adm. Wilson retired from his post as DIA director on Friday, ending three years of dedicated service marked by significant contributions.

No one who has attended the recent retirement tributes for Adm. Wilson would agree with the negative assessment of his tenure. In fact, the great outpouring of support, respect and affection that he received from within DIA and across the Defense Department and the intelligence community attests to the esteem in which he is held. Adm. Wilson had to have made outstanding and contributions to the DIA to have generated this kind of outpouring.

Adm. Wilson leaves a stronger and better-prepared organization to serve our nation.


LINTON WELLS II

Principal deputy

Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense

Washington

Trade Rep entertains free-trade fantasies, past and present

Ricardo Reyes, deputy press secretary to U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick, made a lengthy critique yesterday of my July 12 Op-Ed column, "Basing policy on an illusion," which questioned his boss's frequent references to the naive optimism of Norman Angell. ("Columnist selectively critiqued Trade Rep's remarks") Yet Mr. Reyes still missed the point. It is not whether Mr. Zoellick thinks Angell's faith in "free trade" promoting international harmony and ending war proved right a century ago, but that he thinks Angell's views are a useful guide today.

Consider the passage Mr. Reyes quotes in his letter, in which Mr. Zoellick blames World War I on "the anarchists and terrorists of their day that the first modern era of globalization had spawned."In some speeches, Mr. Zoellick also throws in the Socialist International.

Yet the assassin who shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 was not a socialist nor an anarchist; he was a nationalist. The war was preceded by decades of diplomatic wrangling and smaller clashes. The growth in economic and military capabilities moved in tandem, not in opposite directions, as Angell had hoped. Even socialists rallied to the flag because in healthy states, patriotism is more appealing than class division.

Mr. Zoellick cannot admit that nations have real conflicting interests that cannot be transcended by commercial intercourse, so he blames fringe groups and radical "isms" to trivialize the problem.

Why does Mr. Zoellick bring up Angell's idealism at all? Because he thinks we can overcome the obstacles that wrecked it. Consider this concluding passage from a speech he gave at the Institute for International Economics Sept. 24, less than two weeks after the September 11 attacks: "At the dawn of this new century, we again have a choice of ideas. Which ones will triumph those of fear, destruction, and dwindling dreams or those of humankind's untapped potential, its aspirations, and the creative energy of free peoples seeking better lives?" Pure Angell.

After every period of tumult since the Seven Years' War, the claim has been trotted out that a "new world order" has arrived that makes the old concerns about national security and self-reliance obsolete if only we believe. The end of the Cold War saw this same illusion advanced again.

That is what "free trade" means: commerce conducted without regard to geopolitical considerations. It is only in Angell's imagined world, free of geopolitical conflict, that the policies favored by Mr. Zoellick can be implemented safely.

At the World Trade Organization conference in Doha, Qatar, last November, Mr. Zoellick abandoned the pursuit of national advantage in order to promote his ideal of a second globalization. He made unprecedented concessions that weakened the U.S. position just to keep the talks going so as not to weaken the WTO.

The U.S. Business and Industry Council is concerned about such misplaced priorities. In our divided and dangerous world, where trade is not a pacifier but part of the larger competition for wealth and power, America needs to maintain a strong industrial base and a sound financial system. Current policy is undermining both.


WILLIAM R. HAWKINS

Senior fellow for national security studies

U.S. Business and Industry Council

Washington

Togo given bad rap on child trafficking

My government shares the anguish, outrage and concerns about the 13-year-old Tongolese, Carolle Sissokpi, whose unfortunate experience is showcased in "Trade in children fueled by poverty in Central Africa" (World, Thursday).

Regrettably, Togo, a country mentioned twice in the article, serves as both a source and transit country for child trafficking. But as the U.S. State Department's July 5 "Trafficking in Persons" (TIP) report declares, Togo, though not yet fully compliant with the minimum international standards on such trafficking, is undertaking significant efforts. However, such efforts are hindered by a lack of resources.

Yet I would take exception to the article's assertion, at least so far as Togo is concerned, that "Few African countries have specific laws or institutions to combat child trafficking." As reported in the State Department report, Togo prosecutes and convicts traffickers, using laws regarding the illegal movement of children, child labor and sexual exploitation. Laws targeting child trafficking to be enforced with financial assistance from the United Nations are before the National Assembly. Personnel specifically charged to combat trafficking are working in the ministries of social affairs, education and labor.

In addition, the government has undertaken public education campaigns designed to alert our citizens to the issue. Togo also is cooperating in a subregional effort to combat the problem in West Africa.

While the practice remains a significant problem in the subregion, I believe national efforts to take required actions should be acknowledged. All too often, those efforts are lost on readers who are alerted only to problems in Africa, not to Africans' efforts to resolve them.


PASCAL BODJONA

Ambassador

Republic of Togo

Washington

Feckless he was

I was pleased to read Al Eisele's generous praise of my July 12 Op-Ed, "Minnesota on Your Mind?" about the current political situation in Minnesota ("'Feckless' wrong word to describe Eugene McCarthy," Letters, July 18). Mr. Eisele, however, took exception to my description of Mr. McCarthy, a well-known Minnesota politician of the past, whom I described as "ultimately feckless."

I chose my words carefully. I had mentioned Mr. McCarthy in the same list with Hubert H. Humphrey and Walter F. Mondale. I felt it necessary to contrast his career with theirs. All three served in the U.S. Senate. Mr. Humphrey became vice president, ran for president and returned to the Senate. I think it is fair to say that his career was one of the most distinguished in American history. Mr. Mondale also was elected vice president, became one of our most influential occupants of that post and later also was his party's nominee for president.

Both Mr. Humphrey and Mr. Mondale had significant impact as senators, exerting substantial influence on a generation of American legislation. Mr. McCarthy did not. Mr. Humphrey died in office. Mr. Mondale, since leaving elective office, has served his country and his community in a singularly distinguished manner. Mr. McCarthy, for whatever his reasons, has chosen to be a political curmudgeon since leaving office, becoming a frequent minor candidate for office (including three more runs for president).

Always witty and charming, Mr. McCarthy is a man with an exceptional gift for speaking, but he also has indulged, in Mr. Eisele's own words, in "arrogance" and "detachment." (He is, I would add, one of the few American politicians who knows how to write a serious poem.)

Mr. Eisele and I are in agreement about Mr. McCarthy's role in the anti-war movement. However, after Mr. Humphrey won the Democratic nomination and was locked in a historic contest with Richard M. Nixon and after he had liberated himself from Lyndon B. Johnson on the issue of the Vietnam War, Mr. McCarthy refused to support his old colleague and fellow Democrat until the final days of the campaign, and then only in a feckless manner. (The war, I might add, was not ended until five years later.)

As a young teenager, I remember being moved by Mr. McCarthy's eloquent nominating speech of Adlai Stevenson at the 1960 Democratic convention. He played a pivotal role in 1968. Ultimately, though, in my opinion, the promise of those eloquent words of the '60s were not fulfilled in his whole political life, especially at the end of it.

Mr. Eisele is well-regarded for his decades of work in Minnesota and now for his superb publication, the Hill, in the nation's capital. His defense of his biographee and friend Eugene McCarthy is both understandable and laudable, and he is right to assert the former senator's place in the history of the '60s, none of which I meant to dispute by implication in my article.

Perhaps, however, we have a different view of the senator's public life after that. I gave it careful thought, and I believe that "ultimately feckless" accurately describes him.


BARRY CASSELMAN

Minneapolis


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