Re "The Man Who Would Save Europe" [Jan. 28]: Your cover story does justice to Mario Draghi in highlighting his role as a savior of Europe's unity and its single currency. Since the euro was introduced, it has minimized exchange-rate hazard and made import and export among member countries more seamless. It has promoted commerce and trade and, above all, tourism within the zone. Draghi has proved his worth as a seasoned banker, who has tailored a common regulatory system for banks in the region. Besides, he has succeeded in giving more optimism to the euro as an alternative currency to the U.S. dollar on the international financial markets.
Syed Rashid Ali Shah,
Vroomshoop, The Netherlands
Can Draghi be the man to save Europe? The bitter answer is no. The crisis in Europe has assumed alarming proportions. First just small economies were affected, but in the course of different debt problems, bigger nations like Spain and Italy were afflicted. It won't be long until even the solid German economy suffers under the crisis. The task of saving Europe is too big for one man and actually too big for one continent.
The euro, at its inception, seemed a good idea, but it was seen as a gravy train for some participating members. The Celtic Tiger proved to be an overindulgent alley cat, and the Greek entry qualifications must have been based on myth. Without the close supervision of the European Central Bank and a common work ethic that should have been adopted by the participating members, the euro has now been revealed to be a bimbo currency.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration aims to pump more money into public works to stimulate the economy, but such packages have already failed to boost the economy and only increased the national debt ["Loose Cannon," Jan. 28]. Unfortunately the government is rather reluctant to reform the bureaucracy in order to kick off innovation and energize Japan's industry. Right now exporters hail the weakened yen and investors enjoy the soaring stock prices. However, the Japanese should know that they have been close to the dark side.
In the 1980s, when Japan was at the peak of its economic strength, the nation was predicted to surpass the U.S. to become the world's largest economy. By the early 1990s, Japan suffered anemic growth and gradually lost its glitter. Abe aims to restore the country to the glorious days of the 1980s in his attempts to beef up military forces and revive the economic engine. However, China has morphed into a new economic and military giant, outpacing Japan. Abe ought to restrain his hawkish stance: better collaborate with instead of antagonizing his neighbor.
Re "The Next Gunfight" [Jan. 28]: It should be clear that new inventions, like new situations, call for new laws. The U.S. Constitution says nothing about the right to drive a car, simply because that did not exist then. It says nothing about computers and privacy, though everyone agrees that new laws need to be made to regulate this area. The writers of the Second Amendment certainly did not have in mind a semiautomatic rifle capable of firing 45 rounds per minute in the definition of arms. Of course firearm reform will be a long-term process for the U.S., given the historical background, but a society claiming to be a moral beacon for the world should be able to make this transition in mind-set.
Isn't it useful for the U.S. to consider what Australian conservatives decided to do after the 1996 mass shooting in Tasmania? Within six months, Prime Minister John Howard's government enacted a law enabling a gun-buyback program, to immediate effect. In the decade before 1996, there were 11 mass shootings in Australia. There were none in the decade since. Admirers of the U.S. in this part of the world challenge it to look abroad at successful ways to lower the rate of these incidences and to have the fortitude to pursue guns as resolutely.
Napier, New Zealand
Re "Israel's Right Turn" [Jan. 28]: Many Israelis support a two-state solution but have great mistrust of possible partners, like Gaza, that refuse to recognize the state. Israelis just want balance on the political and home fronts. The likes of Naftali Bennett only serve to make Israelis appear like hardcore rightists.
Mazkeret Batya, Israel