Violence in France, terror around the world
Yesterday’s Op-Ed columns “Islamist threat in France” by Tony Blankley and “Revolution in France” by Helle Dale vividly describe the tragic situation in France. Mr. Blankley’s perception in his book “The West’s Last Chance: Will We Win the Clash of Civilizations?” has turned out to be prophetic.
The situation in France and elsewhere in Europe should be a very loud wake-up call to all European countries. Of course, any civilized liberal democracy should protect all citizens without discrimination — nothing less and certainly nothing more.
It is essential to confront violent Islam in every form, and all actions should be taken — without any political correctness, short-term geopolitical interests or left-wing lunacy — to destroy it without any exceptions internationally.
There are no excuses for the Muslims, as they should make efforts to improve their economic and social status as the Jews and Indians have done in the United States and Europe by sheer hard work, dedication to education for male and female children, responsible attitudes and being open to the local environment. The government cannot be expected to provide a free ride and unlimited resources to any section of the society.
The European human-rights laws and other international acts and treaties formulated after the world wars of the last century do not have any relevance to the real, present and ever-increasing danger of global Islamic terrorism and violence of the 21st century.
Liberal democracies cannot afford to have any more actual or potential Islamic terrorists in their countries. In Europe, the Muslim minority is increasing at a geometric rate because of its high birthrate, and most of the asylum seekers and immigrants — both legal and illegal — are from Islamic countries.
If the indigenous Europeans’ growing but not very clear perception of the green tide of Islam trying to overwhelm their countries and culture is not responded to, there could be large-scale reprisals against Muslims in Europe.
It is necessary to stop all further immigrants and asylum seekers from Islamic countries coming into Europe for about 15 years to stabilize the situation and improve the conditions of all citizens, especially Muslim minorities in Europe.
Islamic terrorism is indivisible and has affected the United States, Britain, Europe, Israel, India, Thailand, the Philippines, East Africa, Indonesia, Australia and other countries. If the democratic countries do not respond in a united way by being selective, the clash of civilizations may not be won by the free people.
The United States, as the leader of the democratic countries and the only superpower, should use all its power and influence to win the war against global Islamic terrorism. For instance, the Bush administration is not being tough enough with Pakistan for tactical reasons. India, the largest democracy, can assist the United States in achieving its strategic objectives of fighting global Islamic terrorism and countering any negative influence of China.
However, the Bush administration would have to give India all necessary support, including civilian nuclear technologies, plants and high-tech defense equipment now, irrespective of small but vocal opposition in Congress.
An extra burden for seniors
The continuing coverage of the very serious natural-gas supply problem facing America is quite commendable. Both Jack Gerard of the American Chemistry Council in his Nov. 1 Op-Ed column, “A vulnerable natural-gas supply,” and William R. Carteaux of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. in his Monday letter, “A solution to natural-gas supply problems,” focused on the effect the natural-gas supply problem is having on American industry. However, supply is not the only thing troubling many Americans. The natural-gas market continues to be highly volatile, and the rising price of natural gas will greatly affect a vital group, America’s seniors.
Seniors are a unique group. We live on tight fixed incomes, which constantly are being picked away by higher prescription-drug costs, high gas prices and a greater cost of living. Now the cost to heat our houses this winter and the increased cost in food bills will put even the most frugal senior’s budget in jeopardy. The Wall Street traders on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) are trading natural-gas futures. To them, they’re just trading paper futures, but to seniors, each inch up can be devastating.
According to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, we will have an estimated 48 percent increase in our home-heating bills, but some areas of the nation will see higher increases. For example, in the Midwest, about 75 percent of households rely on natural gas to heat their homes, and those households are expected to pay nearly 61 percent more in natural-gas expenditures relative to last winter, and seniors in the South are expected to see a 56 percent increase. Additionally, the agricultural sector says it’s looking at major increases in diesel costs for harvesting and hauling, propane costs for drying grain, and fertilizer costs for fall application. All of this means bigger bills at the grocery store for seniors across this country.
The natural-gas market is unique in how it’s traded. While crude oil is going down, natural-gas futures are skyrocketing. Just a small movement on NYMEX has a big impact on seniors. Volatility of the natural-gas market is twice as important today as before the hurricanes because the base price is higher. A forward-thinking bill introduced by Rep. John Barrow, Georgia Democrat, and Rep. Sam Graves, Missouri Republican, would bring stability to the natural-gas market and help protect America’s seniors. It’s time for seniors to budget for winter, but without this necessary legislation that addresses the unnecessary volatility of the natural-gas market, seniors may be left out in the cold.
MARY M. MARTIN
Board of Directors
The Seniors Coalition
‘Free trading’ American industries out of business?
While the headlines last week focused on the economic summit in Latin America (“Bush espouses free trade,” Page 1, Saturday), U.S. negotiators were putting the finishing touches on a three-year trade deal with China covering textiles. Terms of the tentative agreement call for double-digit increases in Chinese textile imports beginning in 2006, culminating in 15 percent to 17 percent increases in 2008.
Missing in the news reports thus far is what the United States gets in return from China. One can only speculate that we get nothing except a more controlled, orderly flow of Chinese textiles, instead of the avalanche that occurred in January when global garment quotas expired.
Maybe it’s just me, but aren’t trade negotiations supposed to benefit both countries? China represents an enormous market for U.S. goods and services, and yet our negotiators don’t seem to be concerned about American producers. Our trade deficit with China alone is expected to reach $200 billion in 2005, and this trade agreement surely will add to that total going forward.
All this comes ahead of a planned trip by President Bush to China later this month. Why do our leaders feel obliged to give away the store, apparently to appease demands from China for greater U.S. market access, without getting something in return besides pandas? What about Chinese market access for American producers?
A disconnect between cost and benefit appears to be occurring with our trade negotiators when they make our 280 million consumers available to China’s 1.3 billion producers without any apparent benefit to us except lower prices at Wal-Mart, offset by lower profits and higher unemployment in our nearly extinct U.S. textile industry. Which industry will be the next to be “free traded” out of business?
RICHARD W. RESSLER
North Olmsted, Ohio