The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 26, 1998 · Page 4
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 4

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Tuesday, May 26, 1998
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A4 TUESDAY. MAV 1998 THE SALINA JOURNAL By GEORGE B. PYLE / The Salina Journal Do not pass Go THE ISSUE Microsoft vs. the government THE ARGUMENT Giant is a monopoly that bears watching B George B. Pyle . editorial page ; editor Opinions expressed on this page are , those of the / /> identified ;'*' writers. To join the : conversation, write a letter to the Journal at: P.O. Box 740 Salina, KS 67402 Fax: (785)827-6363 E-mail: SJLetters® saljournal.com Quote of the day "Netscape is the direct beneficiary of this case, but the indirect and real beneficiaries are the lawyers and I am one of them." Charles Rule legal consultant to Microsoft, and former head of the Justice Department's antitrust division ' in the Reagan i administration, on ! '''•' the lawsuits '-against Microsoft. > ill Gates had a point the other day when he compared the battle between his Microsoft Corp. and rival Netscape to the ongoing war between Coke and Pepsi. If, that is, you can imagine that Coke owned 90 percent of the nation's supermarkets and somehow forgot to put any Pepsi on the shelves. Microsoft is a monopoly. When a company provides 90 percent of the world's anything, carrots or personal computer operating systems, there is nothing else you can call it. Not, as Jerry Seinfeld might say, that there's anything wrong with that. Microsoft's Windows, Windows NT, Windows 95 and, soon, Windows 98 operate such a large percentage of the world's PCs and PC networks that its main rival — Apple's Macintosh — might as well not exist outside of the niche where it still thrives, publishing. But Microsoft won that position fair and square, by convincing people it made the better product. The problem, and the core of the lawsuit filed by the federal government and 20 states, is the fear that Microsoft has used its position as a stick to threaten the rest of the industry with. The feds and the states have reason to believe that Gates is strong-arming the companies that market computers into providing software made by his company and directing Internet users to Web sites operated by his partners. Computer dealers such as Dell and Compaq dare not stand up to Gates, for fear of losing the one ingredient that makes their product something more than a very expensive doorstop. The demand that Microsoft's newest product, Windows 98, come with rival Netscape's Internet browser built in is too much. Developing an operating system where the browser is not just a separate program but a basic part of the computer's desktop is a reasonable improvement that serves customers, not a stunt to shut out a pesky rival. The real fear is that the software giant will use its pull to insist that computer makers push Microsoft products that are still challenged by rival suppliers, spread sheets, for example. Or that Microsoft will force Internet services to link only to Microsoft sites, such as its auto sale exchange. No one is out to drain billions of dollars out of Microsoft, as is the case with tobacco companies, or to break it up, as happened to Bell Telephone. All the government wants is for each Microsoft product to make its own success in the marketplace, not get a free ride on the shoulders of Windows. T THE OBSERVER Yes, Virginia, there is an India f LETTERS TO THE JOURNAL Tobacco industry is at it again T he tobacco companies are at it again! Not content with addicting generations of people to cigarettes and other tobacco products, the tobacco industry is now waging a public relations battle-to eliminate any federal legisla- tjo'h that would hinder their ability .'.'to market their deadly prod- h ucts. £' piis multi-million dollar media campaign is conjuring up false images of government's role and to- tjacco-related crime while bewailing the extra expense for millions of Jower-income people already afflicted by tobacco use. What these a£l!s fail to mention is that tobacco Usfe is the single most preventable cause of death and disease in our country. |"ne .tobacco industry has become such a financial force over the last 50 years because it has lutjed teens and children into us- inj| its death-producing products. The tobacco companies are now unjler attack from lawsuits by 41 states and the prospect of national legislation that will penalize the industry for past misdeeds and prevent marketing to children. Tine states of Mississippi, Florida, Texas and, most recently, Min- n£sota, have wrested billions of dollars in compensation from the tobacco companies. ^With all these "losses," the mo- fhjation for the industry's recent Propaganda is clear. Tobacco ex- gtutives want to save their profits. They are not interested in keeping 'cigarette prices cheap for those with low incomes. They are com- jnftted to maintaining corporate 'profits They are not interested in /curtailing "big government." They want to keep laws and regulations from hampering them from selling their deadly products to''new customers, virtually all teen-agers. They are not interested in protecting children. They And, no, it is not populated by people who run gambling casinos or led by Crazy Horse W! RUSSELL BAKER r hen someone says "Indians," most Americans probably think of gambling-casino operators. So isolationist have we become. Even Washington's best minds were astonished to learn that the Indians were exploding atom bombs. On first hearing the news, President Clinton is said to have cried out, "Thank God they didn't get the H-bomb while Crazy Horse was still on the warpath!" That, at least, is what Clinton should have cried out, if only to emphasize how completely he is in touch with the American people. I am not saying we are so ne New York Times dumb we don't remember that 1» a place called "India" can be found on a map by anybody who scored 1590 on the SAT's. India is where "Gunga Din" was set. Or was it Pakistan? Whatever. So after remembering that yes, Virginia, there is an India, Washington biggies were very cross. India had been very rude. That was the considered and official opinion. Very rude. If India had been a schoolboy, the teacher would have sent a testy note home to its mother. Instead, Clinton is going to cut off India's goodies. That's Washington's usual punishment for countries that irritate it. When you've got a country that needs to be taught a good lesson, cut off its goodies. Cuba, Iraq, Libya, Iran — no more goodies for them until they start behaving themselves. This goes double for Cuba, because it has chafed Washington almost beyond endurance by surviving for 50 years in spite of having its goodies cut off. India is not the only country that bores Americans except when it's irritating them. Who can name the president of France, the prime minister of Canada? Who cares what's happened lately in Cairo, Athens, Krasno- yarsk? The people who run the world's big international corporations, that's who. As our most fervent capitalists are always explaining, the future lies in the global marketplace, kids, so don't let hometown sentimentality about American jobs and industry make you do something stupid. We now have a commercial culture that is totally internationalist and a political culture so isolationist that O.J. Simpson, Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky — Americans all — dominate the media for weeks, months, years. Two of them have dominated the White T TORY NOTIONS Big-time U.S. businesses with political muscle have forced the politicians to stay awake about matters Chinese, but without smart capitalists leaning on them, the Clinton people seemed to forget that India was around. House so thoroughly that nobody there thought to wonder what India had been up to. If there had been a fierce cola struggle between Pepsi and Coke for monopoly rights in Calcutta, American business would have known about it immediately. International trouble .is the business of American business. Big-time U.S. businesses with political muscle have forced the politicians to stay awake about matters Chinese, but without smart capitalists leaning on them, the Clinton people seemed to forget that India was around. So did the press. The media are mostly just as isolationist as the rest of the political culture. Jim Wooten of ABC seems to be the last foreign correspondent left anywhere in the world for network news. , The story that doesn't entertain has a hard time getting coverage, electronic or print. The theme song of the American media these days should be "Let Me Entertain You." ; • Before isolationism became stifling, tube- watching America would probably have seen somebody in New Delhi pointing out that while the United States might adore nuclear China, India tended to view it as a potentially hostile power on its border. Doesn't sound very entertaining, does it? Most of what passes for foreign news is stuff of the Princess Di variety. Newsstands are-infested with it. The networks may stint on coverage of everything east of New York and west of Washington, but give them a Princess Di funeral and they dispatch their anchors across oceans. Anchors, for Heaven's sake! Men who earn nearly as much as baseball players. .„; ^ Give them a pope going head-to-head with exasperating Castro, and off go the anchor? to Cuba until Monica makes the scene in D.;'C£ whereupon it's "So long, Holy Father, we he'ar America crying, 'Monica, you anchors! Giye us total Monica!'" The rain forest burns. Mexico falls into ruin:' India tests an H-bomb. The old arms race,.be;, gins again. "~ Arms control is wishful thinking want business as usual for the sale of tobacco products. Don't be fooled by the tobacco industry-sponsored ads. Don't be misled by the cards you see displayed on the counters of your local grocery stores, gas stations or convenience stores. These cards, with their message of, "Don't send us a huge tax bill on cigarettes that will only grow big government," have been distributed by Philip Morris. The tobacco companies want unfettered access to youths as replacements for the older customers who die a tobacco-caused death or who finally break an addiction that 90 percent started as teens. Store owners who promote tobacco-industry propaganda in their own stores are doing disservice to the children in their communities. Protecting Kansas children from tobacco is everybody's business. Kansans should be protesting any attempts to addict another generation of children. The federal government and state legislatures should be encouraged to increase the price of tobacco as a way of protecting children from tobacco use. Kansas Attorney General Carla Stovall should be commended for being one of the first state attorneys general to file suit against the tobacco companies to recover medical costs for state-paid treatment of tobacco-related illnesses and to eliminate the marketing of tobacco to teens. Policy at the federal, state and local level should be decided on what is good for public health, especially children's health, not on what is good for tobacco industry corporate profits. — MARY JAYNE HELLEBUST Topeka • Mary Jayne Hellebust is executive director of Kansas Smokeless Kids Initiative Inc. fc Pieces of paper fail to consider honor as a motivation for building nuclear weapons ' ASHINGTON — This ninth year of the century's 10th decade is taking a toll on one of the century's characteristic chimeras. Liberalism and (which is much the same thing) wishful thinking favor arms control as a means of taming the unruly world with pieces of paper. However, two attempts at arms control are collapsing simultaneously, with reverberations in a third conflict that has an arms control dimension. President Clinton says he is "encouraged" by Iraq's cooperation with United Nations inspectors attempting to eliminate Iraq's chemical and bio- 4 logical weapons. The head of those inspectors, Richard Butler, says there has been "virtually no progress" in six months. The president's U.N. ambassador, Bill Richardson, says "there's been zero progress." So Israel knows that the president makes foreign policy pronouncements that are disconnected from reality. Israel is in a "peace process" with an entity, the Palestine Authority, which, in violation of the Oslo accords, remains committed, in its unamended charter, to Israel's destruction. The accords contain arms control: the PA is limited to a police force of 24,000. Instead, the PA has an army twice that size. The president, who is "encouraged" by Iraq's behavior, wants Israel to accept his estimate of Israel's security needs. He has helped China, by technology transfers, develop nuclear weapons and delivery systems. He has been relaxed about China helping Pakistan toward nuclear capability. He is startled that GEORGE F. WILL The Washington Post Liberal optimism about taming the world rests on the hope that fear can be assuaged and interests accommodated. But honor is a more volatile variable. India wants nuclear weapons. India, although provoked by recent U.S. policy, would have acquired nuclear weapons anyway. With a population 45 percent larger than the combined populations of four of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (the United States, Great Britain, France, Russia), India is not impressed by "international norms" defined by others to ratify their advantages. Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to presidents Ford and Bush, and his colleague in a Washington consulting firm, David Sloan, express (in the Los Angeles Times) the foreign policy elite's dreamy disappointment that India has affronted "international norms." India, they say, must decide whether to "rejoin the global community." But it is peculiar to speak of a "global community" with India's one-fifth of the world's population exiled (by whom?) therefrom. And what is the pertinent "norm"? That there shall be no nuclear proliferation? Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser, notes that U.S. policy (not quite the same thing as an "international norm") "all along has been one of selective and preferential proliferation." U.S. policy openly helped Britain to become a nuclear power, less openly assisted France, and did not become exercised about Israel developing such weapons. For 50 years U.S. policy was that nuclear deterrence (remember "mutual assured destruction"?) can be conducive to stability. Now U.S. DOONESBURY policy is to tell Pakistan that a nuclear imbalance is crucial to stability in South Asia. Perhaps it is. However, arms control is usually impossible until it is unimportant. Arms control agreements usually renounce superfluous weapons' or accept limits higher than anticipated procurements. Nations will abide by only thosg arms limitation agreements that do not seriously inconvenience their pursuit of security 1 and other national interests. As India's euphoria about the nuclear tests demonstrates, thbsfi interests can have a huge psychological com" ponent. , . In "On the Origins of War," Donald KagdnT the Yale historian and classicist, notes that one current theory of war's obsolescence holds that free markets and the communications revolution have sublimated aggressive energies in commercial relations that are too valuable to disrupt by violence. But, Kagan notes; "over the past two centuries the only thing more common than predictions about the end of war has been war itself." ~ •; Remember, Kagan says, what Thucydides listed first among the three things that cause people to go to war: "honor, fear and interest." Liberal optimism about taming the world re'sis- on the hope that fear can be assuaged and in.-, terests accommodated. But honor is a more volatile variable. Kagan says that if we under* stand the significance of honor to include deference, esteem, respect and prestige, it is -an important motive of modern nations. • >• " Honor, says Kagan, is desirable in itself and has practical importance in the competition 1 for power, because a nation's honor and fame are apt to wax and wane reciprocally. Kagan believes that considerations of material gain or even ambition for power itself frequently play a small role in bringing on war, and that "often some aspect of honor is decisive"" Which is one reason why threats of material losses from economic sanctions are weak en- forcements of arms controls and will be utterly futile against an India feeling its oats. ' By G.B. TRUDEAU rrSNor RZALiyAU CRPHANA6& GOTSQMBBI6NAM&S H6Z& —JOHNSON, K&MP, BUT ALSO IOW- PROFIL& KIPS FKM A&A5&- 0AU.I 8ABYMN HAiSMS? you've. BUILT QUITE A MCH&FOZ y<XJ&&J=", THINKING OF OP&NIN6 fT UP TO ROCK- STAR KIPS.

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