- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Spotlight on Cyprus

The Washington Times deserves credit for the balanced, matter-of-fact article titled "Cypriots may decide separately on Annan confederation plan" (World, March 4). The article, however, may have been overtaken by events.
As far as referendums and public demonstration are concerned, Sunday's demonstration in support of President Rauf Denkta and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) government's policy on Cyprus was by far the biggest that the streets of northern Nicosia have witnessed in living memory. This prompted Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu to declare that the people had spoken and the referendum issue had been settled.
Considering that the newly elected Greek Cypriot leader, Tassos Papadopoulos, has also declined to commit himself to the holding of a separate referendum on the Greek Cypriot side, is The Hague meeting scheduled yesterday with the U.N. Secretary-General a mere formality? It seems this will depend on the ability or willingness of Kofi Annan to allow significant changes to his settlement plan. The Turkish Cypriot side has already made it known that it cannot accept a territorial arrangement which purports to reduce its territory by nearly one-fourth, and promises to displace, in good time, nearly half of its population, coupled with an extremely complicated property regime and less than equal share in the government, etc.
The Greek Cypriot side has its own objections to the plan, of which it has made no secret. Regarding Mr. Papadopoulos, a former EOKA underground activist, having "mellowed," I leave your readers with the following question: Can a leopard change its spots?

OSMAN ERTUG
Representative
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Washington

America pays for 'free trade'

Here we go again, alas. Another columnist is blaming the United States for thwarting free trade. Daniel T. Griswold's column "Hill hypocrisy and free-trade policies" (Commentary, Sunday) bemoans U.S. farm subsidies and dumping laws for impeding global free trade. What Mr. Griswold ignores, however, is that the United States is the most generous free trader in the world.
With our 2002 trade deficit at a record $435.2 billion, we can claim the world championship when it comes to opening our markets. Not so with our trading partners, who continue to maintain trade barriers against U.S. goods while they provide enormous subsidies to their domestic industries, thus making their nation's products bargains to American consumers. From the European Union's prohibition against genetically engineered foods to Japan's 490 percent tariff on imported rice, it is a one-way street when it comes to free trade.
Many Americans were surprised to see how France, Germany and Belgium worked against American interests in the United Nations in dealing with Iraq. It appears that they are protecting their trade with Iraq, some of which may be illegal. They also have been working against America when it comes to free trade. French farmers cannot compete against American agriculture so the French enact laws to keep American farm products out of France. Is that free trade, Mr. Griswold?
So, complain all you want about hypocrisy in Congress. Surely there is plenty of it. But, before you become another "blame America first" critic on international trade, take a close look at the statistics to see whose markets are really closed. Our goal should be balanced trade, because there is nothing "free" about a $435.2 billion dollar trade deficit.

RICHARD W. RESSLER
North Olmsted, Ohio

Chief Moose's book

Despite pleas from both prosecution and defense attorneys alike, Montgomery County Police Chief Charles A. Moose said he would not delay the release of his new book, "Three Weeks in October: The Search for the D.C. Sniper" ("Chief Moose won't postpone book," Metro, Sunday). Attorneys from both sides are concerned that releasing Chief Moose's book before the trial would impair their ability to seek justice by tainting a potential jury pool. Some may argue that point, but let me ask, "What's the hurry?"Why not wait until after the trial to release the book?
If Chief Moose merely wants to get his story heard, plenty of people will still be interested after the trial is over. In fact, after a long, high-profile trial, public interest may actually peak after the verdict is rendered.Releasing the book so soon makes it appear as if Chief Moose wants to maximize profits, when he has repeatedly said that he merely wants to get his story out. Also, he has said that the book is about his life story, but the title of his book certainly suggests otherwise.
Chief Moose is not an elected official, but Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan and the county council are, and we have ethics laws for a reason. Maryland politicians need to be very wary of the state's sad reputation for political corruption. Republicans and Democrats alike should demand more from their elected officials. I know I do.

STEVE DIRLIK
Montgomery County Republican Central Committee, District 18
Silver Spring

The brain and obesity

Friday's article describing the University of Florida's recent study of brain activity in the obese is very intriguing as it confirms what many of us in the field of bariatrics have known for years: There is a "hunger switch" inside our bodies, and it is controlled by the brain ("Study says feeling full takes longer in obese," Nation).
After 15 years of treating more than 15,000 overweight and obese patients in my practice, I've found that food compulsions and overactive appetites are affected by brain chemistry. In fact, food cravings, overeating and sensitivity to carbohydrates are all symptoms of specific chemical deficiencies in the brain.
Addressing brain chemistry is a highly effective method of controlling weight and eliminating obesity. Common methods of restoring balance to brain chemistry include the use of prescription drugs or natural dietary supplements.
As obesity and the health problems associated with obesity reach epidemic proportions, it's important that we solve these problems by treating the affected area the brain. Diet and exercise are always beneficial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but effective weight control starts with the brain.

DR. PAUL RIVAS
Bethesda

A footnote to Israeli history

In his letter last Thursday, "Roots of Palestinian strife," Thomas Troy contended that the source of the Arab-Israeli conflict was the Balfour Declaration.
Yet, for a great many Jews and Christians, Israel's rebirth had very little to do with that declaration and everything to do with Genesis 12:7, in which God presented Israel to the Jews as their promised land. In the fullness of Israel's history, the Balfour Declaration was at best a mere footnote.
Characterizing the Balfour Declaration as the "most costly promissory note ever issued" is, I would contend, a bit overdrawn. In 1922, just five years after Great Britain issued the Balfour Declaration, it summarily snipped off 80 percent of the mandated territory and renamed it Jordan. In 1939, Britain issued a White Paper that essentially barred all further Jewish immigration to their ancestral patrimony. Once that slim hope for deliverance was denied, the Nazi inferno was the only remaining alternative for Europe's beleaguered Jews. Even after World War II, the British did everything they could to abort the rebirth of the Jewish state.
Mr. Troy would have us believe that the Balfour Declaration was the original sin of the Arab-Israeli conflict. But if it was a sin, it was a sin that was never consummated.

MITCHELL FINKEL
Silver Spring

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