With the Cold War over, the clout of the United Nations has been steadily growing. Thus the U.N. is where landmark speeches are often made, including the recent one by Nelson Mandela calling for an end to sanctions against South Africa.
But ironically, though white minority rule is finally ending in South Africa, the U.N. Security Council itself remains the last bastion of apartheid.
The Security Council, which controls much U.N. policy, is a relic of the post-World War II world. It is controlled by the five veto-wielding permanent members, only one of whom is a
non-white, third world country.
If the U.N. is to truly evolve into a world body, basic democratic norms would suggest that the Security Council include more developing nations, which account for the majority of the world's population. It is unfortunate that Western powers seem to believe in "one-person, one-vote" only when convenient, and that apartheid-like policies should continue in a body as important as the U.N. Security Council.
U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali recently raised the issue of council reform. Of the permanent members, Washington alone supported council expansion, though President Clinton did not mention this in his speech to the U.N. However, even the U.S. focused only on the candidacies of Japan and Germany, without addressing claims from the developing world.
A truly democratic world government may be currently impossible, because of the overwhelming military and economic strength of the minority industrialized North and its obvious reluctance to relinquish the reins of power. However, the Security Council can be made more democratic by including major Third World regional powers like India, Brazil and Nigeria.
Continued evasion on the part of the wealthy nations will only increase alienation in the Third World, already unhappy over U.N. inaction in Bosnia.
The Clinton administration has tried to increase the emphasis on democratic principles around the world, through the U.N. has escaped scrutiny in this context.
If the United States is to be seen as a principled nation, rather than as a hypocrite, it should be in the forefront of this issue as well, strongly advocating a more equitable distribution of power, by adding third world permanent members to the Security Council.
A. V. Aiyengar
The "Clinton Follies" always follow his policy speeches and, in addition to costing boodles of money, they amuse more than inform.
The well-choreographed administrative crew scatter like little bees to pollinate as many of us as possible with their liberal propaganda. The media, of course, is always right there to help the cause. It's all so obvious.
Sort of reminds one of Chicken Little. "The health system is broken! The health system is broken! It must be fixed now, now, now! Never mind the details -- never mind the cost -- just trust me!"
There is such a push to stampede quick action.
The use of calm reason and sober reflection is discouraged. A sensible idea was advanced recetnly by one pundit that two of the plans (Clinton's and that proposed by the Republicans) be tried experimentally among the uninsured group to compare performance results at the end of a specified period.
To launch a massive, theoretical, untried scheme like President Clinton's health plan without a prior pilot program is sheer lunacy, especially when the cost is a terrifyingly unknown factor. Added to this is the fact that if passed, it would become another entitlement, which, as history shows, stick tighter to future budgets than a tattoo.
As for the Clinton sales techniques, it was embarrassing and distasteful to see a president of the United States acting like Oprah Winfrey, clucking at heart-wringer letters read aloud in his presence on television, in a cheap attempt to arouse the emotions and compassion of the American people. The use of such theatrics as a calculated sales tool is demeaning to the high office of president.
The American people realize well enough that a program on the scale of President Clinton's affecting everyone needs to be analyzed, debated and evaluated from every angle in the cold, unemotional light of day.
That is why a pilot program is essential so the nation can try this on for size before committing its health care to the tender clutches of a massive bureaucracy which would be created to take care of our health, cradle to grave, a la the failed socialist systems of Eastern Europe.
The police officers who dispatched a runaway bull earlier this month demonstrated laudable efficiency in the process ("Bull flees from pen, dies in police gunfire," Sept. 3).
The Sun reports that the police claimed 10 shots were fired and all hit the bull. If it is assumed that each shot contributed to the bull's demise, then one can calculate an efficiency value per round fired, i.e. 1,000 pounds (weight of deceased bull) divided by 10 (shots fired) equals 100 (efficiency value).
Using this formula, it is possible to calculate the efficiency of the tough guy wanna-be's who resort to gunfire to resolve disputes over drug deals, romances, manliness, crap games, which rock group is best or who will win the AL East.
First, select some recent article from The Sun describing how an unidentified gunman expended, say, 12 rounds and didn't hit anyone. Then assume the weight of the average intended victim is 130 pounds. Apply the formula: 0 (weight of person killed) divided by 12 (shots fired) equals 0.000 (efficiency value).
Tragically, every now and then they do hit some innocent child bystander. That's the only way these creeps can possibly beat the formula.
Simple math now proves what we have known all along. These
are not tough guys. They are zeros.
Allen S. Lloyd Jr.
Deadly Epidemic of Handguns in Maryland
There is an epidemic in Maryland, and it is killing our children. We know what causes it and we know how to cure it, yet its eradication depends on a Maryland General Assembly that has turned a deaf ear each time the community has asked for help.
That is because this epidemic is caused by handguns.
More children in Maryland are killed by handguns than by motor vehicles. Think about what that means. Because Maryland legislators and special interest groups find childhood motor vehicle deaths intolerable, we have legislation that says our kids must be protected by seat belts and child restraints, we keep our speed limit at a safer 55 m.p.h., and we teach children how to be good pedestrians and bike riders.
It is time the Maryland General Assembly becomes just as humane and concerned about the tragedies caused by irresponsible and uncontrolled use of handguns.
If these children came to our emergency room with polio or typhoid fever there would be panic at the spreading epidemic. Instead, our complacency about handgun injuries and deaths is a sickness in itself.
Action is required at many levels within the community to say that enough is enough and to place the moral and legal responsibility in the elected hands of our General Assembly.
Physicians at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center took an important step in early August by joining Marylanders Against Handguns Abuse in a new coalition calling for comprehensive gun control legislation, including a requirement that prospective gun purchasers obtain a permit from the police before they can buy a handgun.
Why is it important for the medical community to speak up? Because we no longer find the psychological and physical havoc of guns acceptable. We no longer want to witness and try to fix the devastation. The Johns Hopkins Children's Center has treated 22 children for gunshot injuries in the first nine months of this year. That is three more than all of last year. In 1991 the number was 13.
Our pediatricians predict that by the end of 1993 we will care for at least 27 children with handgun wounds; the number is likely to be 35 next year. And that is just at the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Trauma Center.
We don't claim to know all the causes of violence. It could be poverty, it could be drugs, it may well be the lack of parental discipline and much more. One cause is certainly easy access to handguns. Legislators, from U.S. members of Congress to local city council members, should be removed from public trust and public office unless they introduce or support legislation that bans the manufacture and uncontrolled sale of handguns.
Vincent DeMarco, executive director of Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse, preaches repeatedly that it should not be easier to buy a gun than it is to get a driver's license. Like it or not, that is the way it is in Maryland today. Our response is to go on the record that we want change and to support STAGE (Standing Together Against the Gun Epidemic), a coalition of more than 100 medical, law enforcement, community and ZTC religious organizations.
Let's hope our outrage and anguish over our crippled and dying children reaches a crescendo that can be heard in Annapolis.
Dr. Frank Oski
Dr. Modena Wilson
Dr. J. Alex Haller
The authors are, respectively, the director, the director of the division of general pediatrics, professor of pediatric surgery and emergency medicine and the director of public affairs of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.
Doctors Are People Too
I got the impression from the Sept. 7 article, "The Futures Market in Doctors is Bullish," that Daniel S. Greenberg would be happier if doctors and other medical professionals were underpaid or unemployed.
There was a tremendous focus on doctors' salaries and the hint that as humanitarians they are above earning cash for a living.
If indeed a doctor brought home the entire $500,000, is this person hoarding all the money or is he/she a consumer spending money in the community?
It would be more realistic to assume the doctor earning the hypothetical $500,000 a year is not using the total salary for personal pleasure.
Portions of those earnings are taken for taxes, malpractice insurance, staff salaries and office overhead.
I wonder if Mr. Greenberg could be thankful there is one industry left in this country that has allowed many to maintain a livelihood although not for long.