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American soldiers, airmen, Marines and seamen raise their hands and repeat the pledge to re-enlist at a ceremony in Baghdad on July 4, 2008.Ashley Gilbertson

Fight back?

Re “The new axis of evil is attacking democracies worldwide” (Nov. 15): How do countries end up with autocratic leaders in the first place? It takes ego and greed for power, wealth and status, combined with a political system that allows such individuals to attain and retain power indefinitely.

Such a leader is not a representative of their people; they are interested only in keeping a clenched fist on the reins of power because it benefits them. So why are they tolerated?

How do we, collectively as people of the world, prevent the circumstances from arising that allow such self-interested leaders to form, thrive and persist? The days of covert spy operations and political assassinations look to be over, as are overt invasions of foreign countries to bring about regime change.

But how to install in the people of the world the idea that democracy will protect them, elevate women (thereby helping whole countries) and curtail imperialistic aspirations of egotistical autocrats?

Tuula Talvila Ottawa

Authoritarian regimes pose threats to liberal democracies. But the “axis of evil” was “a speechwriter’s dream and a policy-maker’s nightmare,” according to Warren Christopher, U.S. secretary of state during the Clinton administration.

The Bush administration touted the slogan to justify the invasion of Iraq on false pretenses that the country had weapons of mass destruction, launching an illegal war of aggression. Its democratic architects evaded accountability, severely damaging the credibility of international law.

We are still living with the consequences of their ill-fated decisions. According to the Costs of War project at Brown University, direct war deaths in Iraq exceeded 280,000; the vast majority were civilians. The tally of indirect deaths, and the toll of violence and trauma caused by state collapse and civil war, scarred the lives of millions.

Geopolitical repercussions on the region and beyond continue to unfold. We should beware simplistic calls to fight another forever war.

Sanjay Ruparelia Jarislowsky Democracy Chair, Toronto Metropolitan University

Bridge over…

Re “Canadian view” (Letters, Nov. 16): A letter-writer raises an interesting issue about the impact of the current war on different communities in Canada, saying that “instead of importing the Israel-Hamas conflict to Canada, we should make our multiculturalism more meaningful.”

Indeed, we have generally learned great lessons about living together here in Canada, and our distance can hopefully provide Jewish and Palestinian Canadians with the perspective to start the long and difficult task of finding more common ground. Based on careful listening, mutual respect and a willingness to engage, individuals and community groups from both “sides” could use our wonderful Canadian ability to find middle ground to begin that difficult dialogue.

Who knows? Perhaps by building bridges here, we could strengthen the efforts of moderates there in finding a peaceful path forward in the aftermath of this conflict.

Alex Speigel Toronto

Too late

Re “Choose your fighter” (Letters, Nov. 20): The editorial cartoon (“Meanwhile, at the APEC summit…”) printed above this letter, which worries that “we would become the laughing stock of the world,” says it all: We are already the laughing stock of the world.

Those who are fearmongering among the left, warning that anyone on the right has a “hidden agenda” and is going to “ruin” the country, should take a look around and assess the harm that the Prime Minister should be responsible for, both to the country and its international reputation. My opinion of Justin Trudeau is that anyone chosen at random from the telephone directory would do a better job than he has.

I believe it is going to take decades for the harm he has caused to be corrected.

Barry Imhoff St. John’s

Canadian finances

Re “What should be – but won’t be – in Canada’s federal mini-budget” (Nov. 15): Columnist Andrew Coyne notes that fiscal anchors have varied from balanced budgets to modest deficits, from declining to rising debt-to-GDP ratios, differences that encompass tens of billions of dollars. I find their commonality to be that they are all arbitrary, without economic justification and designed ideologically to limit government spending.

The “fiscal” anchor of a sovereign country should be determined by real-world measures, namely the spending gap after the private sector has made its investment decisions. The government should fill that gap, whatever its size, to ensure all domestic resources are productively and sustainably employed, and not left sitting idle.

Firms only invest when they expect sufficient demand. If the federal government recognizes its intrinsic capacity as a currency-issuer to create strong employment growth and first-class public infrastructure, then private investment, sensing profit, would crowd in – and economic productivity would take off.

Larry Kazdan Vancouver

Columnist Andrew Coyne suggests the need for Canadians to save and invest.

Many investment products are indecipherable to many Canadians and rightly, from a suitability perspective, they steer clear of what they don’t understand. Maybe the time has come to reintroduce good, old, reliable, fee-free Canada Savings Bonds?

Susan Yates Guelph, Ont.

Add it up

Re “Oh no, the cost to charge my EV just doubled” (Report on Business, Nov. 14): For most electric vehicle drivers, the majority of their charging goes on overnight at home, much more cheaply than at commercial chargers. And with current prices in Southern Ontario, typically charging an EV costs about one-fifth of the cost to fuel a gasoline car of similar size.

The lesser maintenance needed for an EV also keeps its total cost of ownership much lower than that of a fossil-fuel vehicle, despite a currently higher purchase price for an EV.

Many larger places of employment are installing chargers, often at little or no cost to drivers. Multiple-unit residential buildings remain a challenge, although many can help to install chargers in parking areas.

Paul Rapoport Member, Electric Vehicle Society (Canada); Hamilton

Thrilling conclusion

Re “Montreal Alouettes grab Grey Cup in final seconds of wild game against Winnipeg Blue Bombers” (Sports, Nov. 20): Once again, the Grey Cup has provided football fans with not only an exciting game, but a lesson in the power of positive energy and total team effort.

As a Saskatchewan Roughriders fan, I’m left trying to figure out what changed for my former quarterback, Cody Fajardo. Watching the big smile on his face, I think I know: positive energy and total team effort.

Congratulations to Mr. Fajardo and the Montreal Alouettes, and thanks for a great evening of football.

Marianne Orr Brampton, Ont.

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Keep letters to 150 words or fewer. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here:

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