- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Negotiation table only solution for Cyprus

I was genuinely hoping to find that Tassos Papadopoulos would shine light on the path to be followed in his article (“Cyprus: the way forward,” Commentary, Oct. 26).

Unfortunately, his vision does not address U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s advice that “if the Greek Cypriots are ready to share power and prosperity with the Turkish Cypriots in a federal structure based on political equality, this needs to be demonstrated, not just by word, but by action.” (Report to the U.N. Security Council, May 28, 2004). Instead, Mr. Papadopoulos produces a maximalist wish list, preferring to denigrate the United Nation’s “Comprehensive Settlement of the Cyprus Problem.”

In contrast to his current view, Mr. Papadopoulos once led the international community to believe that he endorsed the plan which the Security Council considers a “unique” basis for negotiations (Resolution 1475, 2003).

Indeed, at one critical juncture Mr. Papadopoulos claimed that he was “prepared not to reopen the substantive provisions of the plan if the other side was prepared to do likewise.” (Mr. Annan’s report of April 1, 2003).

He reneged on his commitments in the run-up to the referendum, pulling all the stops to orchestrate a “no” vote. Gunter Verheugen, the European Union commissioner responsible for expansion, said in despair that “I feel cheated by the Greek Cypriot government. Mr. Papadopoulos must respect his part of the deal. Under no circumstances was a resolution to the conflict to fall as a result of opposition from the Greek Cypriot authorities.”

Mr. Papdopoulos contends that the Greek Cypriots simply “rejected this particular plan.” This conclusion lies in stark contrast with that reached by the U.N. secretary-general who finds that “what was rejected was the solution itself rather than a mere blueprint. Benefits for the Greek Cypriots which have been sought for decades…have been foregone.” (Mr. Annan’s report of May 28, 2004).

Now Mr. Papadopoulos claims that the democratic will of the Cypriot “people” must be respected, but Mr. Papadopoulos misses the point. The will of the Turkish Cypriot people, who approved the plan, has been thwarted, and his government continues to pursue policies that are designed to isolate the Turkish Cypriots from the international community.

Surely the way forward is not rehashing old maximalist positions in the cloak of European or American values. The way forward is to return to the negotiation table with the Annan plan as its basis, a plan that acknowledges the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots and includes transitional features that satisfy human rights conventions, as well as the EU acquis.

EROL KAYMAK

Chair

Department of International Relations

Eastern Mediterranean University

Famagusta

North Cyprus

The ‘buzz’ over secession

With laughter erupting, I read the article “Blue states buzz over secession” (Page 1, Tuesday). Since several of the tenets at the very heart of the liberal Democrats are antiwar, anti-gun and anti-military, whom do they propose will protect their newly formed haven?

Most countries without the means to adequately protect themselves turn to the United States to play guardian, but this would surely not occur with a country formed by secession. How long do they think they could possibly last with no visible means of protection? How long do they think they would last with the drain on their economies caused by the removal of massive military bases and huge numbers of military members and dependents from their current base locations?

The liberals couldn’t talk all of their enemies to death, and the coastlines of California and New York alone would be worth invading to many people around the world. Go for it, “Coastopians.” You’d be begging to be part of our great country within a week.

KATIE SPICER

Springfield

The blue states have more in common with the Confederacy than they think. The Confederacy seceded, in part, to protect “that peculiar institution,” slavery. Ironically, the blue states are at the vanguard of protecting another peculiar institution, unlimited access to abortion.

Both institutions exclude a class of people from any protection under the law. Representatives of this blue-state mentality, while castigating the Southern states for maintaining Confederate symbolism, are advocating a practice that this symbol once represented, denying the personhood of some human beings.

THOMAS M. DORAN

Plymouth, Mich.

Comparing presidential mandates

In his column “Public confidence supreme” (Commentary, Tuesday), Bruce Fein argues that President Bush received a mandate comparable to the 1936 mandate of Franklin D. Roosevelt to “appoint Supreme Court Justices in the image of Justice Scalia or Justice Thomas,” the two justices Mr. Bush has said he admires most.

As a matter of history, I must disagree. In 1936, President Roosevelt received 98.5 percent of votes in the Electoral College and more than 60 percent of the popular vote. By carrying every state except Maine and Vermont, the broad-based election of Mr. Roosevelt certainly gave him a mandate to pursue his policies.

Mr. Bush, on the other hand, won re-election in 2004 by the slimmest of margins — about 53 percent of the Electoral College and a mere 51 percent of the popular vote. A resounding victory for Mr. Bush might have been a mandate to implement his agenda of callous conservatism. However, his narrow victory is a mandate for moderate appointments.

Mr. Fein bemoans Mr. Roosevelt’s justices, whom he argues “sounded the death knell for freedom of contract.” Perhaps he forgets that along with that unfortunate event came the Wagner Act and other critical legislation that helped protect workers from being exploited, overworked or beaten up by company goons for simple organizing.

Although Mr. Fein and others may desire a return to the corporate excesses of the 1920s, I find it hard to believe (or find any evidence) that most Americans desire such a world.

ROB GOODSPEED

Washington

Electoral College gives all a voice

I disagree with the contention of Gary E. Kaminski in his letter (“Reflections on the election,” Thursday) that the Electoral College should be abolished.

First and foremost, the Electoral College assures that all Americans, in all regions of the country, have a voice in selecting a president. People who live in crowded urban areas have different concerns and perspectives from those who live in rural areas. If the presidential election were a straight majority vote among all citizens, then candidates would spend all their time in the large cities. Those in the less-populated areas would probably never have a visit from the candidates, and the concerns of those voters would be largely ignored.

Even though they technically would still be able to vote, they would effectively be disenfranchised. Mr. Kaminski stated that he was a Kerry supporter; but were Kerry supporters not the ones urging us to make sure that every vote counts?

A less-important function of the Electoral College is to weed out dilettantes from the serious candidates. In the run-up to the 2000 election, Warren Beatty hinted that he might run for president. The only idea he expressed was forcing taxpayers to fund the campaigns of candidates, many of whom they strongly disagree with. Still, there are those who would have voted for him simply because he is a handsome and popular actor.

How does Mr. Kaminski think that this republican, eminently fair institution harms the country?

THOMAS M. CRAWFORD

Laurel, Md.

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