Better understanding of leadership needed

I found the Oct. 21 article "At odds: very different worldviews" highly informative, and was struck by the statement that many voters saw foreign policy as a leadership issue "where Bush scores well."

Can leadership be distilled as a pure element unto itself? Or is it an element that enhances commonly held values? To use extreme examples: Mussolini and Hitler could be said to have demonstrated resolute and steady leadership, but what did that leadership accomplish?

The question, then, is not "Is there leadership?" but rather, "What quality of motivation, intelligence, and judgment will drive the leadership?"
Joyce Bauer
Fair Oaks, Calif.

Airbus subsidies are justified

Your Oct. 21 editorial "Airbus-Boeing Culture War" on the Airbus-Boeing World Trade Organization (WTO) complaints brought up good points, especially the idea that, "The WTO can bring needed transparency to what constitutes an acceptable subsidy." However, there were assumptions stated in other parts of the editorial I thought most curious and most American.

Are Europeans truly "trying to wean themselves from the welfare state model," as you say? Americans might like to think this way because Europeans have national societies that believe that people within societies have responsibilities to each other. Americans seem to think the individual is expendable, and all things ultimately serve the economy instead of society.

Secondly, Airbus is eating Boeing's lunch, but I doubt that we will ever consider learning anything from this. Boeing is increasingly becoming a ward of the US Defense Department - possibly another link of America's chain of corporate welfare recipients.
Mark Dunn
Zacatecas, Mexico

Pakistani politicians not viable leaders

Regarding your Oct. 20 editorial "Musharraf's Sword or Pen": Looking at Pakistan's history, you will see that the social dynamics of its feudal society never gave democracy a chance to take root.

It is sad but true that Pakistan as a country would have failed if the military didn't rescue it in time from a total bankrupt state. Most of the so-called politicians are landlords monopolizing political parties, which are organized around persons, not principles. Leaders of religious parties can't see beyond their nose and lack vision; they are just agitators.

We in the United States innocently judge others by our own standards, failing to realize the vast socioeconomic differences and the tremendous gap in education and training in democratic traditions. Given the current regional and international situation, President Pervez Musharraf's abandoning of the uniform would certainly have adverse ramifications for the stability of Pakistan and the region.
Owais Jafrey

Historic close call for the Taj Mahal

The Oct. 12 article "Now 350, the Taj Mahal still elicits wow and awe" takes note of the anniversary of the Taj Mahal and its enormous white marble domes and minarets.

During British rule, it was this white marble that almost caused the Taj Mahal to be torn down. In the 1830s, plans were afoot to have the marble shipped to London to be sold to wealthy English landowners.

Wrecking machinery was in place when word came from London not to proceed. The first auction of marble from other Indian buildings had not been profitable. Money was lost, but the Taj was spared, thank goodness!
Desmond J. Nunan, Sr.
Ocean City, N.J.

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