On the October issue:

American Retreat

To the Editor:
I commend Bret Stephens for his excellent article about America’s place in the world after the Afghanistan debacle (“The Post-Pax-Americana World,” October).  It’s comprehensive in its scope, insightful in its analysis, and it makes a good-faith attempt to present counterarguments.

As the article points out, the U.S. is confronted with many geopolitical challenges, and there’s no shortage of global actors who are happy to undermine America’s global influence. As the article also states, however, another danger is the false race narrative that erodes national self-confidence in the foundational values that undergird America. This is perhaps the greatest danger in that it delegitimizes the country’s ongoing evolution toward fully realizing those values.
John Murphy
Muntinlupa, Philippines

To the Editor:
Bret Stephens’s article on the meaning of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan makes the case that President Biden is incompetent. But what if Biden and his administration are ferociously competent?

If the goal is to reduce America internationally, it is hard to imagine a policy that would be more effective and yet still within the bounds of feasibility. The grotesque public abandonment of friends and fellow citizens to barbarians in Afghanistan (not to mention a violent, wide-open southern border in flagrant violation of U.S. law, wild spending, and even wilder spending proposals, inflation, and a looming energy crisis) may seem like bungling but might not be.

By contrast, the Biden administration has shown itself capable of bold, imaginative, and worrisome actions when facing those they are dedicated to defeating—such as parents who dare criticize the local school board for teaching an overtly racist ideology to their children.

Why would the president wish to reduce the U.S. in this way? The Biden administration has been very indulgent of leftists, for whom America is simply the worst place on earth. The vague, corrosive slogan of “systemic racism” means to convince us that everything, everywhere, always in this country is so loathsome that we need a complete makeover.
Kevin Jon Williams
Wynnewood, Pennsylvania

To the Editor:
The outstanding essay about Joe Biden’s foreign-policy fecklessness reminds me of why I subscribe to Commentary. Bret Stephens captures my own sentiments about the role of the U.S. in the world and the real consequences of our shameful defeat and withdrawal from Afghanistan. It is likely that China will act to take Taiwan sooner than in six years. Beijing might even do so while Biden is in office, betting on the chance that the U.S. will not respond. Vladimir Putin is doubtless making similar calculations.

What’s lost on society, largely because of a lack of reporting by legacy media, is that the ridiculous spending decisions coming out of Washington, both what has been incurred and what is on the table in Congress, will crowd out military spending needed to preserve world stability. These are frightening times.
Philip G. Boyle
Sarasota, Florida

To the Editor:
Bret Stephens establishes a parallel between the foreign-policy impulses of Donald Trump and Barack Obama, seeing both presidents as contributing to American retreat.

It is worth considering some differences between the two on foreign policy. Trump, perhaps to appeal to his base, proposed to focus on building up American industry, which he assessed to have been damaged by unfair foreign competition. Nevertheless, he achieved something new and bold in the “Abraham Accords.” Obama’s foreign retreat was not driven by hopes of reviving the American industrial base. In fact, he was guided by an interest in drawing the U.S. closer to Iran and creating some distance between our country and Israel.

As Stephens mentions, many actors in the international scene are working to dislodge America as the dominant global power. The problem is that this goal is shared by the educational and economic elites of this country. This is accomplished at home by destroying the cultural, religious, and emotional links that American citizens once enjoyed as a matter of course.
Ruth Warat
Plantation, Florida

On Renewable Energy

To the Editor:
James B. Meigs offered an honest and fair take on “renewable energy” and how we got here policy-wise (“The ‘Renewable’ Fallacy and Why I Blame Jimmy Carter,” October). As a resident of California, I can personally attest to the high cost of so-called renewable energy. I installed rooftop solar panels in an attempt to mitigate the exorbitant price of electricity in California. 

A pragmatic approach to clean energy should include nuclear power. More research money needs to be spent to enable the development of newer and safer approaches to nuclear-reactor design and other technical aspects of nuclear power. Wind and solar energy are extremely expensive, and they very probably do not reduce carbon emissions as much as their proponents claim. Europe is facing extreme electricity costs (except nuclear France) while the Continent now demonizes natural gas as a fossil fuel. Europe seems to be paying a great deal for very little in the way of actual carbon-emissions reductions. The U.S. also looks as if it’s heading down this path. There’s now talk of eliminating natural gas in new housing in California, which will burden middle- and lower-income Californians in a painful way. It’s hard to think of a more counterproductive policy than making electricity nearly unaffordable while eliminating natural gas, which is one of the few relatively inexpensive sources for heating and cooking.
Dave Wagner
San Marcos, California

To the Editor:
In reading James B. Meigs’s article on our history regarding renewable energy, I was reminded that nuclear power will become renewable once we figure out how to leach uranium from seawater in useful quantities. There’s enough uranium in the ocean to last the entire globe for 10,000 years. This approach, not solar, will be the end of our dependence on fossil fuels.
Scott Henderson
Chelmsford, Massachusetts  

America and the Jews

To the Editor:
Josef Joffe’s article on Jews and America calls to mind a dilemma faced by one of my professors at university back in the ’80s (“American Jews: A Threat Report,” October). As much as he loved his job, his family was enduring anti-Semitic bigotry in his northern New Jersey community. Eventually, the professor decided to take a job in Atlanta, Georgia. He told us that in Georgia, he at least knew where he stood. 

At this moment in time, with the unrecognizable Democrat Party, a media bent on manipulating language, corporate America kowtow-ing to a woke culture, it’s not unlikely that our reliance on a stable situation for our people will be seriously challenged.

I’m not quite packing my bags, but my wife and I are applying for Israeli citizenship. At least there, we know where we would stand.
Stanley Scher
Riverdale, New York

Texas and Roe

To the Editor:
I appreciated Adam White’s truly outstanding analysis of the new abortion law in Texas (“Abortion’s Texas Twist,” October). White’s insight into and explanation of qui tam lawsuits rounded out (for this lawyer) how future arguments may shape up. I’ve long believed that Roe was as vacuous and result-oriented a decision as this article makes abundantly clear. Thank you for a great read.
Jim Rosenberger
Seattle, Washington

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