OTHER VOICES

OTHER VOICES

LOS ANGELES TIMES:

Some people who make a career out of worrying about international relations are starting to worry that China, Russia and India might be heading toward a strategic partnership that could be inimical to U.S. interests.Such a relationship would ally three nuclear powers with a combined population of more than 2 billion, spread over a large part of the Eurasian landmass. Cementing this bloc would be the shared belief that the United States has become too powerful and, in fact, too dominant . . .

International politics can produce expedient alliances. Is there a solid basis for a strategic partnership among China, Russia and India? It's far too early to say, though it seems a good guess that the three countries are not so motivated by envy or fear of the United States that they are ready to forget about their own sometimes competing national interests.

It's one thing to strike a short-term deal for, say, weapons transfers. It's another to cast aside decades or even centuries of suspicions, rivalries and occasional open hostility. A pan-Eurasian, anti-American coalition may lurk somewhere over the horizon. Wise U.S. policies can help keep it from appearing.

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR:

Too many times in this century, mankind's ability to invent new technologies has surpassed its ability to use them well.

DDT can wipe out mosquitoes - and much of the food chain above them. Software programmers in the 1970s were wizards, but, oops, they didn't plan for the year 2000. Automobile makers continue to sell cars that go more than 75 mph. And does having dozens of cable channels really improve the quality of television?

These aren't reasons to be latter-day Luddites. But two recent mishaps remind us that advances in science aren't being matched by advances in human capacity, such as intelligence and vigilance. In Japan . . . a private company making nuclear fuel for a reactor let workers violate industry safety standards, resulting in a nuclear reaction that lasted 16 hours and left at least 50 people contaminated. At NASA, the loss of the $125 million Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft . . . revealed a tragic mix-up of English and metric units of measurements. This lapse in consistency, like Japan's lapse in safety, shows that high-tech ventures need people with as much precision and smarts as the machines they run.