The Wilson Quarterly

Articles from Vol. 32, No. 3, Summer

A Matter of Focus
LATER THIS SUMMER, THE WILSON CENTER expects to announce the creation of a new institute devoted to China, allowing a significant expansion of the Center's China-related activities. When the needed support has been secured, it will join the Center's...
Better Living through Chemistry
THE SOURCE: "Better Brains, Better Selves? The Ethics of Neuroenhancements" by Richard H. Dees, in Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, Vol. 17, No. 4. WHILE MOST PEOPLE ARE willing to give cosmetic surgery a free pass, the debate gets stickier...
Blood for Liberty
THE SOURCE: "The Emancipation of the American Mind: J. S. Mill on the Civil War" by John W. Compton, in The Review of Politics, Spring 2008. UNLIKE MANY OF HIS ENGLISH contemporaries, philosopher John Stuart Mill (1806-73) applauded the American...
Call It Slavery: The Abolition of Slavery Was the Great Cause of 19th-Century Humanitarians. in the 21st Century, It Needs New Champions
"So YOU'RE GOING TO RUN THE STATE DEPARTMENT'S trafficking office!" a friend exclaimed when he heard the news. "What qualifications do you have to run a motor pool?" That was back in 2002, and despite a history of involvement in human rights issues...
Controlling Passions: It Seemed an Obvious Answer to the Ills of the Developing World. So How Did the Population Control Movement Go So Terribly Wrong?
OF ALL THE 20TH CENTURY'S GREAT HUMANITARIAN ventures, none appears to have accomplished more than the campaign to control world population. Fertility rates have declined in every region of the world, and women now bear, on average, half as many children...
Cultural Learnings of Kazakhstan
THE SOURCE: "Buying into Brand Borat: Kazakhstan's Cautious Embrace of Its Unwanted 'Son'" by Robert A. Saunders, in Slavic Review, Spring 2008. IMAGINE THAT YOURS IS A newly independent nation the size of Western Europe. Your country straddles...
Currying Maximum Favor
THE SOURCE: "France Under the Nazi Boot" by Filippo Occhino, Kim Oosterlinck, and Eugene N. White, in The Journal of Economic History, March 2008. It took decades for historians to shatter the political fable that the French fought back fiercely...
Dad's Biological Clock
THE SOURCE : "Dad's Hidden Influence" by Tina Hesman Saey, in Science News, March 29, 2008. DON'T HAVE BABIES WHEN you're too young, or too old. Avoid alcohol, and watch the coffee. No long hot baths and no drugs or even a single cigarette. Don't...
Dictator Regret
THE SOURCE: "The Costs of Relying on Aging Dictators" by Caroline Sevier, in Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2008. EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT HOSNI Mubarak turned 80 in May. Saudi king Abdullah will be 84 in August. Tunisian president Zine el-Abidine Ben...
Earth Exceptionalism
THE SOURCE : "Where Are They?" by Nick Bostrom, in Technology Review, May-June 2008. PHILOSOPHER NICK BOSTROM has surprising aspirations for the Phoenix spacecraft, which landed in the arctic zone of Mars on May 25. The director of the Future of...
Egghead Gumshoes: CSI, Ph.D
"The official version of the assassination of President Kennedy has been so riddled with contradictions that it [has] been abandoned and rewritten no less than three times. Blatant fabrications have received very widespread coverage by the mass media,...
E Pluribus Cacophony
THE SOURCE: "The Myth of Multitasking" by Christine Rosen, in The New Atlantis, Spring 2008. ANYONE WHO HAS COWERED in the back of a taxi as the driver simultaneously talked on a cell phone, made change, tore off a paper receipt, and tried to pull...
Frankenstein: The Prequel: Governess Service
Mary Wollstonecraff, the 18th-century feminist and mother of Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, spent a melancholy year in her mid-20s as a governess. In 1786, Wollstonecraft joined the staff of Lord Kingsborough, the wealthiest man in Ireland. Wollstonecraft...
Ghost Bird
THE SOURCE: "Bottomland Ghost: Southern Encounters and Obsessions With the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker" by Michael K. Steinberg, in Southern Cultures, Spring 2008. THE IVORY-BILLED WOODPECKER has fascinated the public since Native Americans used the...
Happy Campers: Why Do We Children Weaned on Video Games into the Woods with Knives and Kindling? A Perplexed Father Considers Beloved American Tradition That Is Summer Camp
THIS SUMMER, MILLIONS OF AMERICAN CHILDREN will leave their homes in the cities and suburbs and embark for the nation's hinterlands. Following the seasonal migratory patterns of summers past, they will travel along crowded interstates and thruways,...
Humanitarian Dilemmas: The Rapid Expansion of Relief Efforts since the End of the Cold War Has Produced a Surprising Result: A Series of Difficult Moral Questions about the Humanitarian Enterprise
IN JANUARY, AS I SIPPED A COOL NILE SPECIAL IN far northern Uganda, I watched a group of U.S. Army soldiers file into the open-air bar where I sat. They were not in uniform, but their bearing and speech gave them away. We were in a poor, dusty town...
Imperial Edifice
THE SOURCE: "McEmbassy" by Kurt M. Campbell, in The American Interest, May-June 2008. THE ROMAN MOTIFS OF WASHINGTON'S earliest public buildings convey the exalted aspirations of the fledgling American nation. And the futuristic architecture of...
In Praise of Renting
THE SOURCE: "Cleaning House" by Joshua Rosner, in The New Republic, May 7, 2008. TOO MANY AMERICANS OWN their own home, writes Joshua Rosner, managing director of a research consultancy. Lots of them would be better off if they had never drunk the...
New Directions in Pork
THE SOURCE: "The Presidential Pork Barrel and the Conditioning Effect of Term" by Andrew J. Taylor, in Presidential Studies Quarterly, March 2008. IF YOU'RE A STATE GOVERNOR with a hankering for a bigger slice of the federal procurement pie, a recent...
News Virgins
THE SOURCE: "YOUNG PEOPLE FLEE FROM THE News, Whatever the Source" by Thomas E. Patterson, in Television Quarterly, Winter 2008. A GENERATION AGO, AS THE Watergate scandal threatened President Richard Nixon, knots of readers stood outside the entrance...
Nietzsche and the Nazis
THE SOURCE: "The Uses and Abuses of Nietzsche in the Third Reich: Alfred Baeumler's 'Heroic Realism'" by Max Whyte, in Journal of Contemporary History, April 2008. DURING WORLD WAR II, Hitler's soldiers marched off to battle with field-gray editions...
Nut Gets Nukes!
THE SOURCE: "Paranoid, Potbellied Stalinist Gets Nuclear Weapons" by Hugh Gusterson, in Nonproliferation Review, March 2008. PART OF THE REASON JOURNALISTS are about as highly esteemed as termite inspectors and telemarketers is their failure earlier...
School Choice Apostasy?
THE SOURCE: "School Choice Isn't Enough" by Sol Stern, in City Journal, Winter 2008, and "Is School Choice Enough?" responses, www.cityjournal.org, Jan. 24, 2008. THE INITIAL GAINS FROM THE school choice movement have fizzled, concludes Sol Stern,...
Spain's Memory Wars
THE SOURCE: "Pinochet's Revenge: Spain Revisits Its Civil War" by Omar G. Encarnacion, in world Policy Journal, Winter 2007-08, and "The Politics of History and Memory in Democratic Spain" by Carolyn P. Boyd, in The Annals, May 2008. CALL IT PINOCHET'S...
The Baby Penalty?
THE SOURCE: "Understanding the Returns to Delayed Childbearing for Working Women" by Kasey Buckles, and "Transitions: Career and Family Life Cycles of the Educational Elite" by Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz, in The American Economic Review, May...
The Burden of the Humanities: What Use Are the Humanities? Even Some Scholars No Longer Seem Sure. but at a Time When Bioengineering Throws into Question What It Means to Be Human, the Answer Should Be Obvious
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] LAMENTATIONS ABOUT THE SAD STATE OF THE humanities in modern America have a familiar, indeed almost ritualistic, quality about them. The humanities are among those unquestionably nice endeavors, like animal shelters and tree-planting...
The Death of Mercy
THE SOURCE: "The Ascent of the Administrative State and the Demise of Mercy" by Rachel E. Barkow, in Harvard Law Review, March 2008. THE QUALITY OF MERCY MAY not be strained, as Portia said in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, but its quantity certainly...
The New Face of Global Giving: A New Humanitarianism Is Emerging as Private Donors and Governments Respond to the World's Needs
IN A BIT OF CRACKLING NEWSREEL FOOTAGE from May 1946, a headline declares "President Buys Food Packages for Starving!" and Harry Truman is seen handing over a $1,500 check to a representative of CARE, the international humanitarian group. President...
The Rise of the Donor Class
THE SOURCE: "The Check Is in the Mail: Interdistrict Funding Flows in Congressional Elections" by James G. Gimpel, Frances E. Lee, and Shanna Pearson-Merkowitz, in the American Journal of Political Science, April 2008. AMERICANS HAVE NEVER BEEN...
The Rule of Slogans
THE SOURCE: "Order in the Jungle." in The Economist, March 13, 2008. DANI RODRIK, THE STAR development economist at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, recently made a startling admission: He has been throwing around the latest big idea...
The Traffic Guru: An Unassuming Dutch Traffic Engineer Showed That Streets without Signs Can Be Safer Than Roads Cluttered with Arrows, Painted Lines, and Lights. Are We Ready to Believe Him?
IF YOU WERE ASKED TO NAME A FAMOUS TRAFFIC engineer, in some pub quiz gone horribly wrong, chances are slight you could hazard a good guess. It is true that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, was trained as a traffic engineer, but his notoriety...
T-Square in Red Square: Architects without Borders
"The world's autocrats have developed a taste for modern architecture," Time architecture critic Richard Lacayo writes in Foreign Policy (May-June 2008). Frank Gehry and Rem Koolhaas have designed buildings in the United Arab Emirates; Koolhaas has...
Unmasking the Surge
THE SOURCE: "The Price of the Surge" by Steven Simon, in Foreign Affairs, May-June 2008. EVEN THE MOST PARTISAN DEMOCRATS in Washington acknowledge that last summer's "surge" of troops has reduced the killing in Iraq, and some Republicans say the...
Why Can't We Build an Affordable House? One Explanation of America's Housing Market Collapse Is That Too Many People Bought Too Much House. the Solution: Build More Affordable Houses. Here's What Stands in the Way
THE HOUSING MARKET IS IN TATTERS, AND HOUSE prices continue to fall precipitously in many parts of the country, so it might seem a strange time to bring up the subject of housing affordability. But one of the reasons we are in this mess is that people...
Yoknapatawpha Diplomacy
THE SOURCE: "Combating Anti-Americanism During the Cold War: Faulkner, the State Department, and Latin America" by Deborah Cohn, in The Mississippi Quarterly, Vol. 59, No. 3. A HALF-CENTURY AGO, DURING a period of particularly fervent anti-Americanism,...