The Wilson Quarterly

Articles from Vol. 33, No. 3, Summer

$43 Million for What?
THE S0URCE: "Superfund Follies, Part II" by Daniel IC Benjamin, in PERC Reports, March 2009. THE U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL Protection Agency's Superfund program was created to clean up the nation's worst toxic waste sites and draw renters and buyers to...
Africa's Orphans
THE SOURCE: "The Politics of Intercountry Adoption: Explaining Variation in the Legal Requirements of Sub-Saharan African Countries" by Marijke Breuning and John Ishiyama, in Perspectives on Polities, March 2009. TO GRASP THE MAGNITUDE OF the African...
Broadband Hype?
THE SOURCE: "The Internet and Local Wages: Convergence or Divergence?" by Chris Forman, Avi Goldfarb, and Shane Greenstein, and "The Broadband Bonus: Accounting for Broadband Internet's Impact on U.S. GDP" by Shane Greenstein and Ryan McDevitt, summarized...
Cold War, Hot Kitchen: Secret Weapon X-61
In 1958, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to a series of cultural exchanges. One of the first was a Moscow exhibition the following year of American products, including the model home where Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet premier...
Corruptions Hidden Benefit
THE SOURCE: "Buying Peace? Oil Wealth, Corruption, and Civil War, 1985-99" by Hanne Fjelde, in Journal of Peace Research, March 2009. NO PEACE RESEARCHER WOULD be caught dead endorsing corruption, but Hanne Fjelde, a Ph.D. candidate at Uppsala University...
Divided By
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] LET WALT WHITMAN PROVIDE THE EPIGRAPH: "I am large," the poet declared, "I contain multitudes." Ah, Walt, these days who doesn't? And there's not a moment when multitudinous we aren't sounding off...
Farming for Real
THE SOURCE: "Spoiled: Organic and Local Is So 2008" by Paul Roberts, in Mother Jones, March-April 2009. THE $4 HEIRLOOM TOMATO IS not going to save the world, writes Paul Roberts, author of The End of Food (2008). Organic farming, locally grown...
Gilded Vestibules
THE SOURCE: "Rolling Out the Unwelcome Mat for Visitor Centers" by Martin Filler, in Architectural Record, March 2009. THE OPENING OF THE $621 million subterranean Capitol Visitor Center in Washington lucidly passed almost unremarked last December....
Goodbye to All That
THE SOURCE: "The King and Us" by David Ottaway, in Foreign Affairs, May-June 2009. THE "SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP" between Saudi Arabia and the United States that began in 1945 died in the ashes of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001, writes...
Hard to Stomach? Endangered Species
We're outnumbered: Our bodies contain about 10 microbial cells for every human cell. But those microbes aren't all bad, according to New York University's Martin J. Blaser, an expert on a stomach bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. H. pylori "has...
Is Sociology Dead?
THE SOURCE: "Exploring Genetics and Social Structure," a supplement to American Journal of Sociology, 2008. THE FIRST LAW OF SOCIOLOGY, according to an old joke about the limits of social science, is "Some do, some don't" For more than a century,...
Lessons of Babel
THE SOURCE: "Joseph (Smith) in Egypt: Babel, Hieroglyphs, and the Pure Language of Eden" by Samuel Brown, in Church History, March 2009. OF ALL THE LESSONS OF GENEsis, few were taken more seriously by Joseph Smith (1805-44), the 19th-century prophet...
Medicine Meets the Computer
THE SOURCE: "Use of Electronic Health Records in U.S. Hospitals" by Ashish K. Jha et al., "No Small Change for the Health Information Economy" by Kenneth D. Mandl and Isaac S. Kohane, and "Stimulating the Adoption of Health Information Technology"...
Message in a Genome
A CENTURY AND A HALF AGO, AN AUSTRIAN priest conducted an elegant set of experiments that eventually led a grudging world into the first genetics revolution. With a garden of nearly 30,000 pea plants, and meticulous persistence, Gregor Mendel developed...
No Double Beds for Boris
THE SOURCE: "Whose Right to Rest? Contesting the Family Vacation in the Postwar Soviet Union" by Diane P. Koenker, in Comparative Studies in Society and History, April 2009. AS IS WIDELY APPRECIATED, the Russians have raised the bar very high for...
Rediscovering Central Asia
IN AD 998, TWO YOUNG MEN LIVING NEARLY 200 miles apart, in present-day Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, entered into a correspondence. With verbal jousting that would not sound out of place in a 21st-century laboratory, they debated 18 questions, several...
Repeating History in Juarez
THE SOURCE: "Drug Gangs and Politics in Ciudad Juarez: 1928-1936" by Nicole Mottier, in Mexican Studies, Winter 2009. IN EARLY MARCH MEXICAN soldiers rolled into Ciudad Juarez, which lies just across the border from El Paso, to stop a murder campaign...
Saint Chavez
THE SOURCE: "The Shah of Venezuela" by Enrique Krauze, in The New Republic, April 1, 2009. IN LATIN AMERICA, FEW CATHolics take their religion straight, preferring to filter it through local patron saints or other intermediaries. Things are a little...
Saving Yourself
REMEMBER JACK BENNY? CHEAPNESS WAS HIS shtick; on his radio and television shows he occasionally made hilarious subterranean visits to his money, which was protected by locks, alligators, and an ancient security guard who, from the look of him, had...
Terror Intelligence
THE SOURCE: "The 911 Attacks--A Study of Al Qaeda's Use of Intelligence and Counterintelligence" by Gaetano Joe Ilardi, in Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, March 2009. FOR MANY AMERICANS, AL Qaeda's slaughter of nearly 3,000 innocent people on...
The Arab-American Experience
LEBANESE INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER BISSANE El-Cheikh arrived at the Woodrow Wilson Center late last year as its first Visiting Arab Journalist. On leave from Al-Hayat, a London-based newspaper that circulates throughout the Middle East, she set herself...
The Economists' Bailout
THE SOURCES: "Missing Links: An Intellectual Bailout" by Moises Naim, in Foreign Policy, Jan.-Feb. 2009, "Goodbye, Homo Economicus" by Anatole Kaletsky, in Prospect, April 2009, and "A Question for the Economists" by Harvey Mansfield, in The Weekly...
The Eight-Year Itch
THE SOURCE: "Running Unopposed: Assessing the Impact of Term Limits on Competition in Florida and Maine" by Erie Prier and Kevin Wagner, in Politics and Policy, Feb. 2009. No JURISDICTION IN AMERICA embraced legislative term limits more ardently...
The First Rule of Holes
THE S0URCE: "The American Colonies" by Stanley Weintraub, in Dissent, Winter 2009. ARE THERE LESSONS FOR America in its own revolution that can be applied to Iraq and Afghanistan? In a Dissent symposium on exit strategies, historian Stanley Weintraub,...
The Global Savings Tsunamis
RENOWNED ECONOMIST JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES explained the crisis of the Great Depression in terms of the "paradox of thrift": Individual saving is a private virtue, but when many individuals rapidly increase their savings at the same time, the demand for...
The Higher-Ed Bubble
THE SOURCE: "Will Higher Education Be the Next Bubble to Burst?" by Joseph Mart Cronin and Howard E. Horton, in The Chronicle of Higher Education May 22, 2009. AFTER THE COLLAPSE OF THE dot.com and housing markets, will the next irrationally inflated...
The New Normal
THE ECONOMIST, HISTORIAN, AND DIPLOMAT John Kenneth Galbraith coined the phrase "private affluence and public squalor" in his 1958 book The Affluent Society to capture a paradox of contemporary American life. Throughout most periods of civilization,...
The Web News Fallacy
THE SOURCE: "Print Is Still King: Only Three Percent of Newspaper Reading Happens Online" by Martin Langeveld, in Nieman Journalism Lab at www.niemanlab.org, April 13, 2009. NEWSPAPERS ARE MIGRATING to the Web at a furious pace, and advertisers...
This Is Not a Map
IN THE MELANCHOLY YEAR 1882, ROBERT Louis Stevenson was 31 years old and in poor health. Though he had published by then, as he modestly said, "little books and little essays"--including Travels With a Donkey in the Cevennes (1879), the immortal tale...
Two Cheers for Thrift
I don't want to pick a fight with Benjamin Franklin, but I find it hard to join in the general enthusiasm for the new age of thrift that is supposedly upon us. Let me say here that my personal thrift bona tides are perfectly in order--thanks to diligent...
What Makes Mr. Zhang Save?
IN THE ANNALS OF THRIFT, FEW FEATS RIVAL THE accomplishments of China, Japan, and other East Asian nations during the past 30 years. China's workers and institutions now bank some $2.5 trillion a year, just over half their total income, while their...
Who Voted for Hitler?
THE SOURCE: "Ordinary Economic Voting Behavior in the Extraordinary Election of Adolf Hitler" by Gary King, Ori Rosen, Martin Tanner, and Alexander F. Wagner, in The Journal of Economic History, Dec. 2008. NO QUESTION OF VOTING BEhavior has been...
Winging It
THE SOURCE: "Flying High, Thinking Big" by Tom Ruby, in The American Interest, May-June 2009. GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS MAY BE a towering figure to Army, Navy, and Marine Corps brass, but the Ph.D.-packing general's views on the importance of higher education...