In Response to: Dear Mr. President

Re advice for President Obama (feature, Jan. 28), my area of special concern is U.S. foreign policy. Here are my suggestions in five crucial areas:

Cuba: Ever since Eisenhower, we have had antagonistic relations with Cuba. During the Cold War this may have made some sense. Since the collapse of the U.S.S.R., it makes no sense. We should normalize relations with Cuba immediately. Everybody wins. American tourists will spend lots of money there, and the one-party ruling regime will begin to fragment. And, most importantly, other Latin American nations will reconsider their anti-U.S. posture.

India-Pakistan: Pakistan is caught between a rising Indian superpower to the east and its own turbulent frontier region to the west. The latter is one of our main concerns as well. Only after India and Pakistan settle their long-standing differences can Pakistan focus fully on its internal problems. The United States must do all that it can to bring about a real and lasting peace between India and Pakistan as soon as possible.  

Taiwan: Taiwan is part of China, and it should be part of China. Its independence makes no sense. We should stop supplying Taiwan with arms and encourage its leaders to talk secretly and seriously with Beijing about reconciliation. We have nothing to gain by siding with Taiwan against China and much to lose.

Russia: Expanding NATO eastward toward the borders of Russia makes no sense. NATO makes no sense. It should have proclaimed victory and gone out of business when the U.S.S.R. disintegrated. If you think it must be kept, seriously consider Russia as a candidate for membership! Better to have them inside the tent, where they can be more easily restrained.

Israel/Palestine: Everyone knows what must be done. The Israelis have to remove all of their settlements from the West Bank, and the Palestinians must renounce their “right of return.” Once the two sides agree on these two fundamentals, the rest is horse-trading.

Thomas Corwin ’62