The Wilson Quarterly

Articles from Vol. 24, No. 2, Spring

Achilles in the White House
Two of Lyndon Johnson's closest aides, Harry McPherson and Jack Valenti, answered questions from an invited audience at a Wilson Center Director's Forum last fall. They were introduced by the Center's Director, Lee H. Hamilton. Lee Hamilton: I'm...
Africa's New Slave Trade
"My Career Redeeming Slaves" by John Eibner, in Middle East Quarterly (Dec. 1999), 1500 Walnut St., Ste. 1050, Philadelphia, Pa. 19102-3523; and "The False Promise of Slave Redemption" by Richard Miniter, in The Atlantic Monthly (July 1999), 77 N....
American Exceptionalism
In Europe, the exceptionalism of the United States has never been in serious dispute ["Still the Exceptional Nation?" WQ, Winter '00]. Anti-American sentiment and a fascination with a unique political and economic system that promises the "pursuit...
America's Ignorant Voters
This year's election is sure to bring more lamentations about voter apathy. No less striking is the appalling political ignorance of the American electorate. Every week, the Tonight Show's Jay Leno takes to the streets of Los Angeles to quiz innocent...
Curfew Chimera
In their frenzied enactment of juvenile curfew ordinances over the past 10 years, U.S. cities have glided over a fairly obvious question: Do the laws actually work? Although curfews have attracted a great deal of scholarly attention, most investigative...
Defending Land Mines
"Landmines: Why the Korea Exception Should Be the Rule" by John F. Troxell, in Parameters (Spring 2000), US. Army War College, 122 Forbes Ave., Carlisle, Pa. 17013-5238. Citing the need to defend South Korea from attack by North Korea, the United...
Democracy without Farmers
The family farm in America has all but vanished, and with it we are losing centuries of social and civic wisdom imparted by the agrarian life. The American is a new man, who acts upon new principles; he must therefore entertain new ideas and form...
Do Negative Ads Really Hurt?
"The Effects of Negative Political Advertisements: A Meta-Analytic Assessment" by Richard R. Lau et al.; "Do Negative Campaigns Mobilize or Suppress Turnout? Clarifying the Relationship between Negativity and Participation" by Kim Fridkin Kahn and...
Editor's Comment
It's the rare scholar who can also call himself a farmer, and it's only somewhat less rare that a scholar brings his learning to bear on public questions. Victor Davis Hanson, the author of "Democracy without Farmers" (see p. 68), can lay claim to...
"Emerging Issues in Environmental Policy."
A conference, Sept. 30, 1999, cosponsored by the Wilson Center's Division of United States Studies and the Governance Institute. Though the immediate environmental outlook for the rest of the world is far less rosy, in the United States and other...
Europe's Jobless Blues
"Inequality and Unemployment in Europe: The American Cure" by James K. Galbraith, Pedro Conceicao and Pedro Ferriera, in New Left Review (Sept-Oct. 1999), 6 Meard St., London WIV 3HR, England. Most economists blame Europe's stubbornly high unemployment...
Hurrah for Big Media!
"Big Is Beautiful" by Jack Shafer, in Slate (Jan. 13, 2000), www.slate.msn.com. When Time Warner (old media) and America Online (new) announced their merger this year, the usual suspects once again complained that media conglomeration is bad, bad,...
If You Squint, It's a Picasso
A 28-painting forgery shook the art world last winter, serving as an unwelcome public reminder of the blossoming art forgery trade. The Canyon Suite, a collection of watercolors held by the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri,...
In Deepest Beethoven
"The Sublime Beethoven" by Dmitri Tymoczko, in Boston Review (Dec. 1999-Jan. 2000), E53-407, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass. 02139. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) moved music far beyond the beautiful, into "the sphere of...
Latin Democracy's Struggle
"Is Latin America Doomed to Failure?" by Peter Hakim, in Foreign Policy (Winter 1999-2000), Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036. The January coup in Ecuador was only the latest indication...
Maglev's New Promise
"Maglev: A New Approach" by Richard F. Post in Scientific American (Jan. 2000), 415 Madison Ave., New York NY 10017-1111. For decades, it's been said that the maglev, or magnetically levitated train, would soon be arriving to whisk people off on...
Mencken's Masterwork
"Babylonian Frolics: H. L. Meneken and The American Language" by Raymond Nelson, in American Literary History (Winter 1999), Oxford Univ. Press, 2001 Evans Rd., Cary, N.C. 27513-2009. "A gaudy piece of buncombe, rather neatly done." So H. L. Mencken...
Message to the Future
"Capsule History" by Lester A. Reingold, in American Heritage (Nov. 1999), Forbes Building, 60 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10011. For centuries, humans have carefully stashed artifacts in cornerstones and other secure spots. In the seventh century...
"Mexico Transforming."
Pacific Council on International Policy, Los Angeles, Calif. 90089-0035. 44 pp. Free. Available on-line at http://www.pcip.org/pub/ Mexico is a changed land these days, its politics less authoritarian, its media more independent, its economy more...
Microfinance, Macrohype
"The Microfmance Promise" by Jonathan Morduch, in Journal of Economic Literature (Dec. 1999), American Economic Assn., 2014 Broadway, Ste. 305, Nashville, Tenn. 37203. Around the world, particularly in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Bolivia, "microfinance"...
Never on Sunday?
"The Sunday Mails" by David P. Currie, in The Green Bag (Summer 1999), P.O. Box 14222, Cleveland, Ohio 44114. Congress is being asked to enforce "the law of God," thundered an indignant Senator Richard M. Johnson (D.-Ky.). The measure before Congress...
Nuclear Power Lives!
"The Need for Nuclear Power" by Richard Rhodes and Denis Beller, in Foreign Affairs (Jan.-Feb. 2000), 58 E. 68th St., New York, N.Y. 10021. Nuclear power, which seems to generate more fear than electricity, is yesterday's energy source, its critics...
Race and Remembrance
"Presenting Slavery: The Perils or Telling America's Racial Story" by James Oliver Horton, in The Public Historian (Fall 1999), Dept. of History, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, Calif. 93106-9410. Educating the public about slavery is no easy...
The Culture Totem
"What We Talk about When We Talk about Culture" by Matthew Greenfield, in Raritan (Fall 1999), Rutgers Univ., 31 Mine St., New Brunswick, N.J. 08903. For many in the tribe of literary critics, cultural studies is now the rage. The very word culture...
The Embarrassing Second Amendment
"Showdown" by Chris Mooney, in Lingua Franca (Feb. 2000), 22 W. 38th St., New York, N.Y. 10018. Against their own liberal political inclinations, some legal scholars have reluctantly concluded that in its claim that the Second Amendment protects...
The Future That Never Was
Russia has always done the unexpected. The Soviet system emerged suddenly after 1917. When it seemed fragile, it thrived. When it seemed invincible, it collapsed. After the demise of communism in 1991, Russia was supposed to go to the opposite extreme....
The Globalization Fantasy
"Globalization and American Power" by Kenneth N. Waltz, in The National Interest (Spring 2000), 1112 16th St., N.W., Ste. 540, Washington, D.C. 20036. Globalization--it's here, it's real, and it's wonderful, according to New York Times columnist...
The Name of the Peanut
Each autumn throughout the second half of the 20th century, an unlicensed psychotherapist named Lucy Van Pelt persuaded the hapless Charlie Brown to take a running kick at a football, which she then invariably yanked away, at the last possible moment,...
The Retro-Futuro City
Brasilia has suffered for decades as a symbol of the failure of urban planning. Conceived in the 1950s by Brazilian President Juscelino Kubitschek as a means to unite Brazil and propel it into the modern age, the capital soon fell victim to criticism...
The Revised LBJ
The American presidency--America itself--has never been the same since Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908-73) assumed the office in November 1963. Thirty-seven years later, the national agenda is still significantly defined by issues he put there with the...
The Rise of Neopaganism
A Survey of Recent Articles Are Americans drifting away from organized religions to embrace a more amorphous spirituality in New Age, environmentalist, or other guise? That's the trend in most advanced industrial societies today, say political...
The Speed of Thought
America's magazines publish their circulation figures around the end of eveiy year, an event that invariably inspires some neck craning by competitive editors, and now, in the age of the Internet, a bit of collar loosening as well. Magazines number...
The Transformation of Bioethics
A Survey of Recent Articles An upstart young discipline born some 30 years ago, idealistically determined to grapple with the moral dilemmas posed by modern medicine and to give patients more say, bioethics seems to be flourishing today. It's...
The Two Worlds of Vladimir Putin
I. The KGB Amy Knight I was introduced to Vladimir Putin's KGB in the summer of 1981. I was in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), the city where he was born and spent much of his career before his improbable rise to Russia's presidency. That summer...
Tocqueville in the 21st Century
A Survey of Recent Articles While Karl Marx has fallen sharply on the intellectual stock exchange in recent years, Alexis de Tocqueville has dramatically risen. To mark the 10th anniversary of the Journal of Democracy (Jan. 2000), the editors invited...
Wading into Colombia's War
A Survey of Recent Articles While President Bill Clinton and other Americans focused on the savagery in the Balkans last year, a more immediate threat--the guerrilla war in Colombia--went largely unnoticed. Yet that war, notes National Journal (Jan....
Welfare-to-Work in Canada
"When Financial Incentives Encourage Work: The Canadian Self-Sufficiency Project" by Charles Michalopoulos, Philip K. Robins, David E. Card, and Cordon Berlin, in Focus (Fall 1999), 1180 Observatory Dr., 3412 Social Science Bldg., Univ. of Wisconsin...
What Makes a Rapist?
"Why Men Rape" by Randy Thornhill and Craig T. Palmer, in The Sciences (Jan.--Feb. 2000), New York Academy of Sciences, Two E. 63rd St., New York, N.Y. 10021. What makes the rapist different from other men is not his sexual desire but his lust for...
When Life Begins
"Abortion and Brain Waves" by Gregg Easterbrook, in The New Republic (Jan. 31, 2000), 1220 19th St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036. When the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade in 1973, medical knowledge about the fetus was surprisingly limited. But...
Why Nobody Reads Philosophy
Bryan Magee, author of Confessions of a Philosopher (1997), explains in Prospect (Feb. 2000) why philosophical writing shouldn't be, but often is, opaque. Many philosophers will never write clearly. They are incapable of it, because they are afraid...
Yeats's Wireless
William Butler Yeats took to the radio in the 1930s with poetry that he hoped would sound a public theme and stir the public interest. On February 2, 1937, William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) wrote to a half-dozen friends, calling himself "a fool,"...
Yeltsin's Legacy
Days after staring down the August 1991 coup attempt, Russian President Boris Yeltsin boasted a 90 percent approval rating at home, adorned the cover of every international weekly in the world, and was christened a democratic hero by world leaders...