EDITOR: What a delight to see that Ambassador Ted Eliot is still active and giving us an informed report about the status of Afghanistan (“Let's not toss away investment in Afghans,” Close to Home, Thursday). Having been a resident of Kabul during 1977-78, he was my ambassador, and every policymaker should listen to his informed suggestions. He and his wife, Pat, were exemplary representatives of our country. She worked hard to help set up an outlet for Afghan women to sell their handicrafts to the largely foreign trade and helped set up a program that advanced good materials to the artists to improve the quality of their final product.
Ambassador Eliot always had multiple Afghan residents attending functions at the U.S. Embassy, and we were proud to adhere to the customs and traditions of our host country. Great strides were made.
It's been a tough 30 years in Afghanistan. We have finally realized that the country is still divided by ethnicity, geography and even religious beliefs. Afghans are proud, loyal people. They honor their families, their homes and, most of all, Allah.
We have spent years trying to get back to where we were. Don't give up now. I urge policymakers to follow the advice of those who have been there. Don't throw away all the good we have done.
China and the West
EDITOR: With the Chinese navy out in the South China Sea rattling sabers with its aircraft carrier, you have to wonder what other mischief they may be getting into.
Bloomberg News reported that the People's Republic imported 130 metric tons of gold through Hong Kong in October. Could the Chinese be diversifying out of Treasury bonds in response to perpetual quantitative easing, or do they have something much more sinister in mind?
If they are plotting to back their currency, the renminbi, with gold, it would challenge the U.S. dollar as the global reserve currency. While China continues its rise on the world stage, indebted western democracies accelerate their decline.