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The state of the world

Dear Editor:This is the time of year in which we should reflect on the status of our planet. How are we doing? What should our report cards say?I, for one, am quite optimistic about the status of the planet in spite of what you see on the nightly news. The world has never been in as good a shape as it is today as it relates to peace, mutual respect and tolerance. Of course, the major exception are the terrorists. But they will eventually be defeated as all enemies of free societies have.So, my friends, buckle your seat belts and let’s go around the world. Our first stop will be in the former Soviet Union. In our lifetime this is a miracle. Mikhail and Raisa Gorbachev were spiritually moved to permit the demise of the Soviet Union. It isn’t what they did do, it is what they didn’t do when the Soviet states yearned for freedom. Gorbachev did not send in the tanks. These are the people that should have been the couple of the century. As a result, there is little likelihood of a nuclear holocaust. Russia and the other former states are struggling with democracy and free enterprise, and they will succeed. Again, a miracle in our lifetime.Our next stop is China. China has a very vibrant economy and a free enterprise system. My visit to China some years ago revealed an amazingly warm and friendly population with much commercial and building activity taking place. In fact, I thought as I looked over the skyline of various cities in China that their national bird should be the “building crane.” The guides will tell you that they are free to speak about any political issues in China. While they do not formally have democracy, they have free enterprise. There was a recent statement by one of the Chinese leaders that said within 10 years, China will be a democracy. Another miracle in our times.Now let’s drop down to Southeast Asia and see that part of the world that was torn by war for more than 50 years is now peaceful and quiet. My wife and I recently visited Cambodia and they have a democratic government and a free-enterprise system, as does Vietnam and Thailand.We will complete the rest of our “optimistic world journey” next week. Hope is believing in spite of the evidence, then watching the evidence change.Richard GoodwinSnowmass Village


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