The Chinese are not “ten feet tall,” as Mr. Haass implicitly noted. Like us, they have problems, and the last thing either country needs is a new Cold War. Beijing doesn’t seek it, our friends and allies in Asia and Europe don’t want and won’t support it, and we can’t win it alone.
We would do far better by treating China with respect. The multilateralism Mr. Haass advocated would enable us to deal more effectively with challenges Beijing poses and the far greater challenges of climate change, Middle East instability, Russia, nuclear proliferation and the pandemic.
This is an election year, which can bring out the worst in foreign policy ideas; but come November, we’ll have to take stock. Mr. Haass provided a valuable guide.
William F. Rope, Washington
The writer is a former deputy assistant secretary of state for Political-Military Affairs and former
director of the State Department China Desk.
Missing from the July 29 news article “Report blasts Pompeo’s leadership at State Dept.” was that Mike Pompeo was the first secretary of state since Al Haig in 1981 to meet with the Iran hostages of 1979 to 1981 and their families. Mr. Pompeo and then-Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs (now national security adviser) Robert C. O’Brien did not just “meet” with the former hostages. They also drew out the hostages’ histories of abuse, beatings, mock executions and family hardship at the hands of Iran. It was a powerful meeting that was deeply appreciated by the Iran hostages and their families.
Under Mr. Pompeo’s leadership, the hostage affairs office has taken its obligations seriously, working quietly and tirelessly to free U.S. citizens held hostage around the world. The Iran hostages and their families are thankful for these efforts.
Certainly, Mr. Pompeo will be the subject of partisan attacks. However, a balanced approach to assessing his work might allow the United States to advance a broader foreign policy agenda.
V. Thomas Lankford Jr., Alexandria
D.E. Wilson Jr., Arlington
The writers are attorneys for the Iran hostages and their families.