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Letters to the Editor

U.S. should support, not criticize Taiwan's democracy

This letter is in response to Melissa Waage '01's April 7 column on Taiwan. Taiwan's growth as a democracy should be encouraged and not criticized. Both on its own merits, and as an example for the rest of Asia — especially its large neighbor to the West — the success of Taiwan's democracy has the potential to change geopolitics in East Asia for the better.


The proven ability of a former authoritarian nation to transform into a vibrant democracy within a relatively short period of time demonstrates to the outside world that to choose one's own leaders and policies does not mean that economic prosperity and stability must be sacrificed.

The question of whether Taiwan's democracy is sustainable because of China's military threats remains, however. To argue that Taiwan only has one option in the long run, that of absorption into the People's Republic of China, exaggerates China's strength militarily and domestically. Though diplomatically isolated at the moment, Taiwan's armed forces still provide a decisive defensive military edge.

Domestically, the belief that China's Communist regime in its present form, will outlast Taiwanese democracy remains questionable, especially with the tough political and economic issues that have thus far remained unresolved and continue to fester on the mainland.

This leaves the issue of U.S. support for Taiwan. With the defeat of the formerly autocratic KMT, there are now very few moral arguments against the United States protecting Taiwan's democratic way of life. From a global view, for the United States not to stand by its basic policy of encouraging democratic choice over repression and armed conflict would set back U.S. foreign policy worldwide.

Pragmatically, the more resolve the United States shows in supporting Taiwan, the less likely it is that China will take military action against it. The mere fact that cross-straits relations are tense and tricky does not absolve the United States of its commitment toward peace in the region.

Some may not be pleased with the results of the March 18 election, but this is the natural result of democratic choice and free debate. To say that the election of Taiwan's new leader and its right to select future governments should be ignored or sacrificed for the better interests of the world's preeminent democracy is true hypocrisy.


Great nations understand realism, but maintain their greatness because they choose to use their capabilities to alter difficult situations and resolve them for the better. This is exactly what the United States should do on the question of Taiwan's future and its democratic promise. Cheng Chiu '99

Dreadlock discrimination a matter of employer discretion

This letter is in response to Catherine Archibald '00's column in the April 12 'Prince.' The following quotation is from Willingham v. Macon Tel. Publishing Co., (5th Cir. 1975): "Equal employment opportunity may be secured only when employers are barred from discriminating against employees on the basis of immutable characteristics, such as race and national origin . . . [A] hiring policy that distinguishes on some other ground, such as grooming codes or length of hair, is related more closely to the employer's choice of how to run a business than to equity of employment opportunity."

What Archibald must realize is that there is a world of difference between race, sex and, arguably, sexual orientation on the one hand and dreads, tattoos and piercings on the other. The former are immutable characteristics and involve fundamental rights while the latter are personal choices. Just as Archibald may choose to wear dreadlocks, employers may choose not to hire her. Equating race with nipple rings trivializes the true struggles minorities have faced in the effort to end employment discrimination. Kelly Karapetyan '97

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