Deal or No Deal?

4 minute read

Deal or No Deal?
Re “Statecraft and Stagecraft” [Oct. 14]: Fareed Zakaria has opted for a positive evaluation of the speech by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani at the U.N. General Assembly. I would prefer to look at it from a different perspective. Rouhani has a pleasant, smiling countenance. Cool and composed, he is certainly unlike his predecessor. Yet one would not know if under the good gesture lies an anger long nurtured against the West. Iranians have suffered long years of sanctions; many are still mindful of the injustice forced on them. One cannot jump to conclusions too fast as yet. Just wait and see if there could be any definite improvement between Iran and America in the foreseeable future.
Bondi Dan,
Christchurch, New Zealand

America cannot be so naive as to take at face value President Rouhani’s moderateness. His calm diplomacy should not be interpreted as being weak.
Mencius Ding,

Iran is definitely an international tragedy, as Zakaria concludes, but it is unfortunate that he does not mention the actions by the U.S. and U.K. back in 1953 that ended Iran’s possible transition into a democratic state. Readers ignorant about this historic encroachment may not understand a humiliated nation’s conception of U.S. and E.U. sanctions. Any solution must recognize this historical background.
Lars Eriksson,
Nacka, Sweden

Democracy Shuts Down
Re “Loss Leaders” [Oct. 14]: It is sad to watch as a once great democracy, the U.S., moves toward a society governed by a small but influential minority. I speak of an extreme group of Republicans who are prepared to destroy their nation’s economy and risk harming those of other countries simply because a law, passed in both houses, challenged in and ruled legal by the Supreme Court, does not suit them. America holds itself up as the ideal democracy and seeks to tell others how they should conduct themselves, yet at the same time it allows a minority — who have hijacked the system such that they cannot be voted out of office — to hold sway. Others, outside the U.S., look on in sadness and wonder whether America can heal its political system or is doomed to slowly self-destruct.
Keith R. Pike-Weiersmüller,
St. Gallen, Switzerland

The U.S. does have a degree of ideological intensity that is puzzling to outsiders. It is a bit much for Barack Obama to complain too much, as he and his Vice President Joe Biden used to vote against Republican Administration budget and debt measures all the time. Similarly, Democratic obstruction led by then Senator Edward Kennedy blocked health care reform in the 1970s proposed by President Richard Nixon.
Martin Gordon,
Flynn, Australia

A Woman’s Touch
Hannah Beech is right on the dot: we women in Japan have been playing subsidiary roles to men for centuries — far too long [“You Mean Women Have Brains?” Oct. 14]. For instance, as a financial analyst, I am surrounded by all-male officers, apart from female clerks. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes a very pertinent and sensible remark about encouraging greater participation of women in decisionmaking, politically and economically. I am all for this. Female talent is still untapped. There have been a good number of female entrepreneurs and political leaders in other countries for decades, but not Japan. Can our country afford not to realize such an inadequacy?
Miko Isetan,
Kobe, Japan

Food for Thought
Re “Till Mold Do Us Part” [Oct. 14]: I moved to the U.K. from Turkey six years ago, and I still find it hard to believe things like potatoes, onions, eggs, garlic, oils and vinegar can have use-by dates. I have seen so much good food go to waste, just because people “didn’t want to risk it.” When I was growing up, my mother kept food till it went bad, and no fresh fruit and vegetables ever had sell-by dates. If it looked O.K., smelled O.K. and wasn’t moldy, we’d use it. The article was funny as well as thought-provoking, and hopefully will bring awareness to the matter of unnecessary food waste.
Irmak Nur Sunal,

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