This is with reference to the Sept. 19 Opinion piece, "Security is vital in US-India nuke deal," by Charles D. Ferguson: The author has tried to convey that India at present is insufficiently prepared or is incapable of providing a higher level of security to its nuclear establishments in the future. The author proposes that India should hence "cooperate" with the US to improve security.
While the author is right that nuclear sites in India (or anywhere in the world) face an enhanced threat from terrorists, he has not substantiated how India is not capable of dealing with the threat on its own.
India has defended itself from terrorist attacks – on its soil – for decades before Sept. 11, 2001. While I am sure there is always scope for improvement, the steps outlined in Mr. Ferguson's piece would be seen as an attempt for more controls on the Indian program, and hence disagreeable to India.
Aditya N. Gupta
James P. Pinkerton's Sept. 22 Opinion piece, "Help today's immigrants integrate: Keep tomorrow's out," left out a significant number of illegal immigrants who come to the US to work, not to become Americans. The message seemed to be that immigrants must integrate. I immigrated legally to Saudi Arabia, but made no real attempt to integrate. I was there to teach English, and that I did for four years. I was well paid and well treated. Everyone seemed satisfied with the arrangement.
Of course, an immigrant must respect the laws and customs of the host country. If that is what is meant by integration, then that is fine. I think, however, that integration involves internal acceptance, rather than respect. I would argue that integration, then, is not necessary. Guest workers, by definition, come to work, not to integrate. The US needs the workers, and the workers need the money. Saudi Arabia seems to get along well with large numbers of foreigners.
Of course, Saudi immigrants are almost all legal, as far as I could tell. And we could have many more legal immigrants if we increased the number of legal visas.
Temporary legal workers who are needed and who will respect our laws and customs should be welcomed.
James K. Bachmann
Regarding the Sept. 25 article, "Travel globally, spend locally": It is not so much about where we travel but how we travel that really determines the ethics in traveling. Ensuring that you leave the environment as you found it, respecting and even participating in local customs, as well as using local products and staying in local places, rather than tourist resorts (even if the local places are not the most comfortable) all go to ensure that we as tourists have in some way contributed to helping local people maintain their lifestyles and their environment. Thus we are differentiating between rogue governments and innocent citizens. I have always had the most enjoyable travels off the beaten track and enjoyable experiences mingling with the local populace in any corner of the world. One gets the real feel of the place – its culture, heritage, wildlife, and beauty.
Regarding an issue such as begging: It has no standard answers. Refusing to give alms to a child who is being used is one thing, but giving food to a child who is desperately hungry is the least we can do. Let us use both hearts and minds (and less rhetoric) as ethical travelers.
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