x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Sovereignty at risk in new world of intervention

A story about elderly Chinese still working shows a change in values there, a reader says. Other letter topics: state sovereignty, Pakistan and the US, Germany and the Greeks, and moustachioed baseball players.

A reader says that a recent story reveals that China, once a society known for respecting the wisdom of old age, now fails to support the elderly decently. Philippe Lopez / AFP
A reader says that a recent story reveals that China, once a society known for respecting the wisdom of old age, now fails to support the elderly decently. Philippe Lopez / AFP

Your columnist Faisal Al Yafai made an important point in Domestic policy is the new measure of Arab authority (November 15).

But I wonder how wise it is to be pleased that domestic matters can now be considered a legitimate reason for international intervention, even military intervention, in a sovereign state.

Certainly Muammar Qaddafi had forfeited all legitimacy. But state sovereignty is a principle which has served the world well for centuries, starting - in Europe at least - with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.

Now that foreigners are free to decide what's acceptable within a state, who is to say how this freedom will be used? There could be interesting times ahead.

John Salvius, UK

Where is China's respect for old?

Daniel Bardsley's article China's workforce turns a grey hue (November 14), about 70-year-olds who must sell water or collect newspapers since they have little or no pension, was quite sentimental. The decision to work during retirement years should be a free choice but in China it seems to be vital for many old people to work for many years.

We keep reading that China's economy is growing but how, then, are old adults having such difficulty financially?

Is it because respecting and caring for elders has become an old-fashioned attitude in China?

Ali Sedat Budak, Abu Dhabi

Why did Hariri go back to Lebanon?

Hariri makes virtual return after his vanishing act (November 14) was quite informative.

But I wonder if there were real security circumstances that forced the former prime minister Saad Hariri, son of Lebanon's assassinated leader Rafiq Hariri, to leave Lebanon.

His wish to return is either the result of the basic human drive not to be forgotten, or of political responsibility towards his country ahead of the 2013 parliamentary elections.

Gaye Caglayan, Dubai

Column took the Pakistani position

The column about Afghanistan (US can only gain in Afghanistan by not vilifying Pakistan, November 15) is shockingly one-sided, taking the Pakistani position.

Of course Pakistan has " true insight into what drives the Afghan Taliban" - Pakistan has been nourishing the Taliban for years, and is ruthlessly using them to keep Afghanistan poor and bloody, for its own ends.

The US approach to Afghanistan is badly flawed, but Pakistan's is just as bad, perhaps worse, and certainly more cynical.

David Birch, US

Germans hiring the wrong Greeks

There is a kind of justice in the news that German companies are hiring jobless people from debt-crisis countries (Germany recruits Greeks to workforce, November 14).

But this is not the idyllic solution it might appear to be. The Germans are hiring away precisely the kind of employees that Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland need to keep: engineers, computer experts, medical professionals.

The unemployment in those countries is highest among unskilled and low-skilled workers. So this German hiring is making the situation worse, not better, in the southern countries and Ireland.

Patrick Maloney, Dubai

Merkel offers no solution to crisis

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, is often called the most powerful person in Europe, because her government has so much influence over how Europe responds to the debt crisis.

So it was disappointing to read of her speech to her party conference (Europe faces its 'roughest hour', November 15).

She said correctly that this is the biggest challenge Europe has faced since the end of the Second World War.

She noted that the problem has grown slowly, but instant solutions are being demanded. She said too that more unity would be essential.

All of that was correct, and important. But she stopped short of proposing anything, and formally ruled out euro-zone bonds.

Leaders are supposed to lead.

Tibor Mashtam, Dubai

Oakland players wore facial hair

Stash of 'staches (November 14) was quite entertaining.

As a former resident of Oakland, California, I remember Rollie Fingers vividly. Charlie O Finley, owner of the Oakland A's in the late '60s - early '70s, got many players to cover their upper lips, mocking the Cincinnati Reds, whose owner forbade facial hair.

George Foster, Abu Dhabi