Letters to the editor | The Economist
For king and country
There is another important benefit of a constitutional monarchy that was not mentioned in your guide to King Charles III (“At the Carolean Age”, September 17). The armed forces swear allegiance to a monarch, not a president or prime minister. For most members of the armed forces this oath of allegiance is an important commitment, and it ensures that the government of the day cannot easily use the constitution through force.
A good example of this defense was the Spanish coup d’état attempt in February 1981. In a televised speech, King Juan Carlos I announced the coup, demanding that the rule of law and democratic government continue. It was that royal speech that greatly weakened the revolution. Even Britain could be vulnerable to either a coup or, more plausibly, a government trying to turn the unwritten British constitution to its advantage. The fact that legislation requires royal approval, and that any military implementation of these plans depends on the loyalty of the armed forces to the monarch, gives us a level of civil protection that is not open to citizens of countries such as Brazil or the Turkey.
Port St Mary, Isle of Man
Like so many other millions of Americans, I watched the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in awe of the grandeur of the event. The gravity of the event was the greatest for me, seen by the crowd of mourners who lined each side of the funeral procession like an endless, silent guard of honor. We Americans do not, as a single person, have a national leader in whom we should trust who we are. Franklin Roosevelt comes to mind. But Abraham Lincoln may be the last president whose status is truly recognized around the globe. It is in his honor that we built a temple to preserve our eternal gratitude.
As a testament to her unselfish and steadfast loyalty in fulfilling her duties as head of state, the Queen deserves no less. I remember the Royal Albert Hall and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Can anyone doubt that Elizabeth II stands on the same level as those famous lights in British history?
In fact the Queen bowed her head at the World War II memorial in Dublin in 2011, as AN Wilson observed in his piece on the art of the Queen’s communication (By Invitation, September 17). But the most amazing thing was the Queen’s visit to the Garden of Remembrance, where she bowed her head to those who fought for the freedom of Ireland. An even more surprising and deliberate piece of body language communication, all things considered.
Like newbie global entertainment influencers such as Hollywood, Amazon Prime, Netflix, YouTube, and so on, the British monarchy is a unique national treasure in more ways than one. In 2017 Brand Finance estimated that the royal family spent £292m ($376m) a year, generating a “significant boost” of £1.8bn to the economy. Intangible value, the economic benefits expected to be generated by the monarchy between 2018 and 2022, was £42bn.
I first experienced Queen Elizabeth’s wonderful sense of humor when she visited New Zealand in the early 1980s (obituary, 17 September). I was a member of the New Zealand Parliament and all of us and our spouses went with her. The queen asked my wife, whom I met on a passenger ship when I was her third mate, how we would get to know each other. “He was a sailor,” she replied. The queen put her hand on my wife’s arm, and as soon as the old woman said, “Poor, I married one of those.”
Te Awamutu, New Zealand
“America Inc” (September 17) described the cost that the United States plans to invest in infrastructure as “huge”. This is undoubtedly true. However, it is worth considering the comparative figures. While clean energy technologies in America are expected to benefit from more than $50bn in spending, China alone accounted for 30% of global clean energy investment in 2021 ($380bn according to the Energy Agency International). And although the CHIPS An Act, recently signed by Joe Biden, is expected to provide $52bn for semiconductor research and development, TSMC, a Taiwanese chip maker, plans to spend nearly twice as much to increase its capacity. Maybe “everything is bigger in Texas” isn’t big enough anymore.
In defense of Norway
The cost that Norway “benefits” from the war in Ukraine is a new low (Charlemagne, September 10). Although not a member of the European Union, Norway follows the bloc’s rules and edits puritanically. He always favored long-term energy supply contracts to stabilize prices, but they had to accept EUin its own rules based on the market. Now that these same regulations have suddenly increased gas prices, Europeans have the ability to point fingers at Norway.
We seem to forget that the energy crisis had already started before Russia invaded Ukraine. After the attack, Norway responded well to the EUand want more energy, almost pumping their own hydropower facilities dry and sending a lot of gas to Germany to replenish their stocks for the coming winter. How ridiculous, then, to suggest now that Norway’s benefits after complying with European rules are rude and shameful.
It is also not clear why Norway, which has managed its own energy resources so wisely, should subsidize greener than you countries like Germany, which is closing its nuclear and gas generating facilities himself. In terms of European solidarity, and despite pleas from America and Poland, Germany avoided Norwegian gas in pursuit of cheaper gas from the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in Russia.
according to The Economistown estimates, BASFThe flagship factory alone uses half as much gas as all of Denmark (“High cost low pressure”, July 16). Therefore, it is not so obvious why Norway should now subsidize German consumers, or, indeed, its gas-guzzling industry. Instead of advising Norway to accept more EU requests for relief, EU countries should stop pinching and biting Norway’s too willing hand when disaster strikes.
Azerbaijan and Armenia
Although I do not share how the recent border conflicts between Armenia and Azerbaijan were presented in “The Guns do the talk” (September 24th), I welcome the emphasis to emphasize the importance of a comprehensive peace agreement between the two countries. The fundamental question facing the region at this time is whether we will stick to a vicious cycle of violence and ideas of revenge or take the historic opportunity to rebuild the region on the basis of neighborly friendship, mutual economic benefits and a prosperous future.
In an increasingly volatile world, it is in everyone’s interest that we close one of the saddest chapters in our region’s recent history and open a new chapter in bilateral relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan on the basis of fundamental principles, including territorial integrity and respect for sovereignty and independence.
Azerbaijan has made its position clear that it is ready to build a peaceful future for the region in cooperation with all our neighbors, including Armenia. Armenia, however, shows a lack of consistency when it comes to advancing the normalization process aimed at reaching a final peace agreement. The lasting peace can only be achieved through a final peace agreement, without which the security situation will remain volatile. Only a satisfactory solution to the post-conflict challenges such as mining data, missing persons data and clearing transport routes will help build a level of trust leading to sustainable peace.
Ambassador of Azerbaijan
You said that Vladimir Putin is “suffering the first cracks in his carefully cultivated aura of invulnerability” (“Getting the job done”, September 17). Unfortunately, I suspect that reports of Mr. Putin’s weakness are greatly exaggerated. The Economist published a cover story, “Putin’s Russia: The cracks appear”, more than ten years ago (December 10, 2011).
New Haven, Connecticut
Not a pleasant swim
Lexington’s excellent article about the health of New York’s waterways recovering from an environmentally destructive history, describes “bubbles the size of basketballs” surging from the bottom pit ( 3 September). He also noted the continuous mixing of human sewage with stormwater runoff.
However, this is a significant improvement from the historically ill-advised policy of dumping raw sewage into New York’s waterways. As a youth in the 1950s, swimming in Jamaica Bay, one had to be aware that the “white fish of Coney Island” suddenly, using a floating condom meant that the sewer pipe close to opening.
Santa Fe, New Mexico