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In the midst of a U.S. war on terrorism, China has risen to global prominence, poised to become the superpower of the 21st century. The Asian giant is fueled by economic success, but wealth is just one piece of the puzzle, readers continue to suggest, as the new power must tackle a world of troubles

As China emerges as an international power [Jan. 22], the West must be wary of a brain drain. In order to be a manufacturing giant, the Chinese must get all the know-how as well. As capitalist businesses become increasingly focused on earning quarterly profits through low-cost production, they lose sight of the greater long-term value of their intellectual resources and will lose their markets in the end. The Chinese have a reputation for endurance.
Alan Benson

China faces many serious drawbacks. Its economy depends on trade with the U.S., even though the U.S. has an unmanageable trade deficit with China. Although China had been a superpower, that was 4,000 years ago. China the new superpower? That is wishful thinking. It is only the beginning of the 21st century, and many challenges lie ahead.
William F. VanGelder
Santa Maria, California, U.S.

Simply comparing the GDP of China with that of the U.S. does not give a complete picture of the two economies. The cost of living is much lower in China.
Venkataraman V. Subramanian
Trichy, India

Napoleon said, “Let China Sleep. The day she awakes all the world will be sorry.” Nearly 200 years later, the world is divided: some are indeed sorry to witness China’s re-emergence, but others are quite happy.
Theodore Mathias

No matter how many times I read predictions of China’s bright future, I still worry about my country. As an overseas student whose parents are both laid-off workers because of China’s economic reforms, I am not so optimistic. I believe that many people are so shocked by China’s extraordinary rise that in some ways they ignore what hides behind the prosperity: the expanding income gap between rich and poor, a worsening environment caused by immoderate industrialization and corruption in the government. There are so many acute problems to be solved in modern China. The country is developing fast, but it has a long way to go.
Di Wu

Hillary’s War
William Kristol flayed senator Hillary Clinton for shuffling on issues with the war [Jan. 29]. It is disingenuous for Kristol to write about the faults of Democrats and the war. He should pay more attention to the Republican President and his allies. They have led this country into a bottomless pit, and Kristol has been a big cheerleader.
John W. Mashek

Kristol is right that Hillary’s position on Iraq is going to be problematic and that Al Gore would be a huge threat to win the nomination if he ran. But I doubt Gore will run. There is a candidate in the field whom Hillary—and the Republicans—should fear. Kristol and others who doubt Senator Barack Obama can continue to talk about his lack of experience, but experience alone doesn’t prove anything about a candidate’s ability to serve as President. Consider a former President who, like Obama, hailed from Illinois, lacked a long career in national politics and wasn’t favored to win his party’s nomination. His name was Abraham Lincoln.
Bo Tuerk
Golden, Colorado, U.S.

Saving an Angel
I was appalled to learn from “Pillow Angel Ethics” [Jan. 22] that the parents of Ashley, a severely brain-damaged 9-year-old girl, mutilated her so that she would be less trouble to care for. Removing her uterus and stunting her growth without knowing what potential she might have had through future medical breakthroughs was merely self-interest disguised as love and devotion. Ashley should be placed under protective services to prevent any more atrocious mistreatment.
Don Moss, Executive Director
United Cerebral Palsy of Illinois
Springfield, Illinois, U.S.

My sister had the mentality of a 9-month-old, although her body continued to mature. When the decision was made to place her in a facility, it was only because she was almost as tall as my mother and we were no longer able to lift her and provide her with the care she needed. If the options available to Ashley’s parents had been available to us in the early 1980s, we would have done the same thing. She might still be alive today had we been able to care for her at home. Please do not condemn Ashley’s parents until you have walked in their shoes.
Kim Childress
Evington, Virginia, U.S.

As a bioethicist, I have a question about the justification of infanticide by Britain’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecology on the grounds that “a very disabled child can mean a disabled family.” Why apply this consideration only to disabled infants? Cheating husbands, alcoholic wives and nagging mothers-in-law are just a few of the many sorts of people who can mean a very disabled family. Why not kill them too?
Felicia Nimue Ackerman
Professor of Philosophy
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.

My son is mildly autistic and has had to cope with several medical issues since his birth. In order to spend most of my free time with him, I have neglected my hobbies, curtailed my social life and moved to a country with better resources for his disability. I don’t consider myself some kind of hero or a candidate for sainthood. I simply do my duty and my obligation. It’s not much of a surprise for me to read about parents who ask doctors to cripple and maim their child for the sole purpose of somewhat lightening the burden that this unfortunate little girl represents to them. What really disturbed me is the acquiescence shown by those doctors who consented to commit what in my eyes is a horrific and heinous crime—of course, not before enlisting an ethics specialist who gave them the go-ahead.
Arturo Camillacci
Osaka, Japan

Ashley is not an object, something to touch, snuggle, hug and feed. She shouldn’t be reduced to a “pillow angel,” a sort of living puppet to cuddle. Her parents, with the complicity of an ethics committee, violated not only Ashley’s body but also her soul. Do the disabled have to undergo such procedures for their lives to be considered worth preserving? Everyone needs to be respected and loved for who they are. Ashley’s case is a sign of the beginning of the end of a civilization.
Pietro Dri
Porpetto, Italy

Another Apple Revolution?
I don’t think Steve Jobs designed the iPhone [Jan. 22]. I think he snapped his fingers and told his engineers to do it. And the iPhone sure isn’t revolutionary. It is not an innovation in technology, just packaging. How can a company make more money? Combine more things into one product and charge more. And accessorize, accessorize, accessorize. If I bought all the stuff that Apple makes for the iPod, I would be broke. I guess Jobs is a genius—a marketing genius.
Jeff Simon
New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.

I disagree with Lev Grossman’s hesitation to call the iPhone revolutionary because “it won’t create a new market or change the entertainment industry the way the iPod did.” The iPod wasn’t the first portable MP3 player, and iTunes wasn’t the first MP3 computer jukebox program. They were simply the best. I didn’t buy an MP3 player until the iPod, and I didn’t use an MP3 jukebox before iTunes. Guess what? I don’t own a cell phone, but as soon as I can almost afford an iPhone, I’ll buy one. It isn’t just a cell phone. Revolutionary? Check. Market maker? Double check. Will it change the communications industry? I think it already has.
Gino Carter

A Blossoming Monarch
The popular fascination with British monarchs was underscored last month when Helen Mirren won Golden Globe awards for her portrayals of Elizabeth I in a TV mini-series of the same name and of Elizabeth II in The Queen, in which she conveys the aging sovereign’s emotional complexity. TIME profiled the youthful Elizabeth II in the Jan. 5, 1953, Woman of the Year cover story:

“It was not the fact of her being Queen that made Elizabeth II the Woman of 1952. That year had no more respect for the governance of kings than for the government of politicians … What, then, was Elizabeth’s significance? It was no more—and no less—than the significance of a fresh young blossom on roots that had weathered many a season of wintry doubt. The British … saw in their new young Queen a reminder of a great past when they had carved out empires under Elizabeth I and Victoria, and dared to hope that she might be an omen of a great future … ‘It may well be,’ wrote a thoughtful London editorialist, ‘that we here in Britain, by accident rather than design, have stumbled back to the original, the true and abiding function of monarchy, which lay in the magical power of kings … to represent, express and effect the aspirations of the collective subconscious.'” Read more at timearchive.com.

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