I'm furious over your insulting article about former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, whom you call "infamous" and liken to a star from an operetta [Berlusconi's Last Act, Nov. 21]. The writer accuses "Don Berlusconi" of a lot of things that have never been proved. The article implies that the majority of Italians who voted for him several times are unable to decide for themselves and must be educated by wise journalists.
Antonio Aliperta, NAPOLI, ITALY
Italy has a lot of talented, hard-working people, but we've had the wrong set of rulers. As Mario Monti begins his role as Italy's new Prime Minister, Italians are fully aware that the new government will not solve our problems in a snap, but at least it does give us hope of improvement.
Daniela Dester, MANERBIO, ITALY
For 18 years, Berlusconi has been shattering Italian society dismantling its legal system; sabotaging culture, education and free information; and suffocating the economy while world media were looking at him simply as a clownish, sex-addicted gaffer. Now everybody is learning the hard way that Berlusconi's era was not just an Italian comedy, but also a European tragedy.
Roberto Sebastiani, TRENTO, ITALY
While I do not like Berlusconi as a private citizen or a politician, I am forced to support him because, unfortunately, in my country, voting is about choosing the best of the worst. And in the past years, he has been the best of the worst. His government has succeedeed in making some important reforms, such as the reform of the university system and parts of the bureaucratic machinery. The police force has done unbelievable work against the Mafia. Of course, many other things could have been done during Berlusconi's terms, but there was no serious alternative at all.
Gio Riva, TORINO, ITALY
The Elephant vs. the Dragon
I enjoyed the articles that compare China and India [The Chindian Century, Nov. 21]. In terms of argument, I think Bill Powell made a stronger case in saying that China's economy will prevail. But I agree with Zoher Abdoolcarim that both China and India have to deal with their many internal problems before either can emerge as "the winner."
Yang Yang, SINGAPORE
I have to agree with Michael Schuman's "Case for India." As dozens of developing nations emerge in Africa and South America, China's labor advantage is fading away, and it's struggling to shift from the world's factory into a knowledge-based society. Though it still has a firm grip on everything, the Communist Party is now facing greater challenges as its people become more educated and enlightened. Without any change in plan, China will collapse.
Marco Y.S. Kwan, HONG KONG
While India has its strength in participative democracy and a young population dedicated to professionalism, China emerges stronger with its one-party rule and a more focused workforce. The Chinese, however, lack transparency, and the biggest fear is that its economy's bubble will burst. India, on the other hand, should guard against falling into mediocrity because of sociopolitical demands.
R.K. Sudan, JAMMU, INDIA
Congratulations on a very interesting and very balanced presentation of both countries' strengths and weaknesses. As China and India develop huge middle classes that are hungry for the good things of modern life, there is less chance that either nation's society will tolerate corruption and high-handedness by authority. Also, prosperity will dampen the extremes of nationalistic sentiment in both countries. Let us marvel at how quickly both China and India are marching toward the future.
Alex Joseph, MELBOURNE
The map displayed in "The Chindian Century" erroneously shows Taiwan as a part of China. Taiwanese just celebrated their country's 100th birthday, and on Jan. 14, 2012, they will hold a presidential election. Taiwan has a distinct and vibrant culture that differs in many ways from China's. It's also free and democratic. Please don't hurt the feelings of 23 million Taiwanese by perpetuating this myth of Taiwan as belonging to China.
Jesse Chalfin, CHANGHUA, TAIWAN
It's About Time
Thanks to Emily Rauhala, someone is finally talking about the plight of Ahmadiyah followers in Indonesia [The Other Indonesia, Nov. 21]. Their persecution has gone largely unreported, and all religious minorities should tremble at what is happening under Indonesian "democracy."
Horace Lim, MELBOURNE
Not Mincing Words
In the Nov. 21 issue's Briefing section, you quote French President Nicolas Sarkozy overheard as telling President Barack Obama, "I cannot bear Netanyahu. He's a liar." But you failed to mention Obama's answer, which was also overheard: "You're fed up with him? What about me? I have to deal with him every day." I am surprised to find such selective reporting in TIME.
Marcel Fontaine, DION-LE-MONT, BELGIUM