Obama, Middle East Unrest, and China

Unrest at home and abroad, the State of the Union, and the rise of China.

+ More

Unrest Abroad and at Home

Unrest over conditions experienced by common people bodes ill for leaders who refuse to or are incapable of proposing substantive solutions ["All Eyes on Egypt," February 4]. When I was in Egypt a year or so ago, I sensed the frustration of people who want work but can't find it. Dissatisfaction with the Mubarak regime was evident, as shown by the snide comments made by Egyptians as we passed the Mubarak political billboards. Many Americans are now moving in a similar direction. Leadership involves more than throwing money at a problem. The intrusion of government into the lives of people has the potential for strife.

DON MATHIS Carmichael, Calif.

The State of the Union

At a time of unprecedented debt, the president spoke of more "investment" and a piddling "hold fast to current spending" ["Obama's Centrist Message," January 28]. It would impact a very small part of the economy. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid take a huge chunk of the budget. Entitlement spending needs to be fixed, and it will take an inspired leader. Our current president is not capable, and indeed, I can't think of anyone on either side of the aisle who is.

WILLIAM T. BERTRAND Wilmington, N.C.

This "say anything" president won all the instant ratings for his oratory, not for what he proposed, which was to freeze government discretionary spending (12 percent of what it spends) for five years at the current unsustainable level. What was needed was a courageous call to make some tough choices. [Rep.] Paul Ryan did that, and he got slammed for sounding alarmed. Give us a break!

CHARLES WATKINS Fredericksburg, Va.

President Obama's State of the Union speech was a brilliant effort to promote unity in America. It would be refreshing if analysts and commentators spent more time looking for points of agreement and acting on them, rather than feeling compelled to be contrary just for the sake of a provocative headline or sound bite. Restoring America's prominence in the world is more important than stitching up threadbare egos.

JAY GORDON Willits, Calif.

The Rise of China

You, as well as other media, allude to America's decline and China's rise ["Editor's Note" January 21]. Sure, the economy in China is on a roll, and people are being lifted out of poverty. So, relative to where China started 30 years ago, there is vast improvement. But on factors such as healthcare, overall living standards, educational opportunity, civic engagement, commercialization of research and development, and many other factors, where is the United States's steady or deep decline?

JACK FENSTERSTOCK Bethesda, Md.

Many Americans are apprehensive of China's rise. I am wondering: Why? For many years, the United States has been the wealthiest nation on Earth. Now globalization comes in, and China is coming next. The natural law of equilibrium is always functioning. Why be apprehensive? Relax.

VENANCIO CHEOCK Los Angeles

  • See a roundup of editorial cartoons about the Egypt uprisings
  • See photos of protests in Egypt.
  • See a slide show of the best cities to find a job.