[FOUNTAIN]Leaders must study leadership

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[FOUNTAIN]Leaders must study leadership

When the political situation becomes chaotic, as it now is in Korea, people wonder how their leaders will demonstrate their leadership. This is only natural: During tumultuous economic times, people focus on the leadership skills of chief executive officers. When a country is facing war, people wonder who will command their military forces and what the person's character is like. This is because their country's future depends on his leadership.

There have been countless discussions about leadership. Hun-dreds of books have been written on the subject, including ancient classics. Let's go back to the pha-raohs, the kings of ancient Egypt. Their leadership skills were summarized as follows: A pharaoh's mouth must have resolute authority; his heart must feel everything; his tongue must be a storehouse of justice.

As the United States prepares for an attack on Iraq, U.S. President George W. Bush is also studying leadership. He is reading "Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime," written by Eliot A. Cohen, a professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University. Political observers are wondering whether Mr. Bush will side with hard-liners, who favor an attack, or moderates, who want the president to consider European countries' opposition to military action.

In "Supreme Command," Mr. Cohen examines four great wartime statesmen ?Abraham Lincoln, the U.S. president during the country's Civil War, Georges Clemenceau, France's prime minister during World War I, Winston Churchill, Britain's prime minister during World War II, and David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister. The author stresses that the leaders did not turn their wars over to their generals. They demonstrated leadership, made better generals of their generals, and led their sides to victory.

I wonder how, after reading the book, Mr. Bush will persuade his secretary of state, Colin Powell, to reverse his opposition to a war against Iraq. According to "The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell," by Oren Harari, the former general encourages his aides to debate issues among themselves so they can develop the best strategies. He has his own style and conviction ?the Powell doctrine.

Despite his sex scandals, former U.S. President Bill Clinton had built his leadership skills by attempting to apply the virtues he had learned through "The Meditations," written by Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, a second century Roman emperor.

I now wonder what books Korean politicians are reading to develop their leadership skills as they continue their political mudslinging.

The writer is a JoongAng Ilbo editorial writer.

by Choi Chul-joo

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