The Wilson Quarterly

Articles from Vol. 33, No. 1, Winter

A Second Surge?
THE SOURCES: "How Should the U.S. Execute a Surge in Afghanistan?" by Robert A. Downey, Lee K. Grubbs, Brian J. Malloy, and Craig R. Wonson, in Small Wars Journal, Nov. 15, 2008, and "After Action Report: The Surge From General Petraeus's Perspective"...
A Sickening State
THE SOURCE: "The Health Crisis in Russia's Ranks" by Murray Feshbach, in Current History, Oct. 2008. RUSSIA'S ARMY AND NAVY, bristling with nuclear weapons, rocketry, and 1.2 million conscripts and volunteers, is a ripe-looking fruit with a diseased...
Chagall's Curious Legacy
THE SOURCE: "Whatever Happened to Marc Chagall?" by Michael J. Lewis, in Commentary, Oct. 2008. THINK OF MARC CHAGALL (1887-1985), and what immediately comes to mind is a large, colorful canvas filled with whimsical symbols from his Jewish childhood...
Congenitally Digital?
THE SOURCE: "Generational Myth" by Siva Vaidhyanathan, in The Chronicle Review, Sept. 19, 2008. IN THE WAKE OF THE GREATEST, the beat, the baby boom, and the millennial generations comes the "digital generation," another empty formulation describing...
Contagious Crime
THE SOURCE: "The Spreading of Disorder" by Kees Keizer, Siegwart Lindenberg, and Linda Steg, in Scienceexpress, Nov. 20, 2008. ONE OF THE GREAT STRENGTHS of the "broken windows theory" of crime control is its appeal to so many lawn-mowing, graffiti-scrubbing,...
Fallout from the Ice Age
THE SOURCE: "Crisis and Catastrophe: The Global Crisis of the 17th Century Reconsidered" by Geoffrey Parker, and "Crisis, Chronology, and the Shape of European Social History" by Jonathan Dewald, in American Historical Review, Oct. 2008. HISTORY...
Forgive Me Not
THE SOURCE: "Pinning Your Own Tail on Someone Else's Donkey" by Wilfred M. McClay, in In Character, Fall 2008. ANOTHER POLITICIAN SWEPT up in a tawdry sex scandal, another celebrity nabbed for driving drunk--then cue the ritual of redemption: the...
Getting to Peace
FOR WEEKS AT A TIME, THE OFFICE DOWN THE hall from The Wilson Quarterly is quiet. Then Howard Wolpe returns, and suddenly the place is a hive of activity, with the staff of the Woodrow Wilson Center's Africa Program gathering to hear the stories of...
Gray Listeners
THE SOURCE: "The Ageless Audience" by Diane Haithman, in Latimes.com, Oct. 5, 2008. AUDIENCES FOR CLASSICAL music aren't getting gray, observes Diane Haithman, a writer for The Los Angeles Times. They always were gray. Actually, they're somewhat...
Happy Together? Americans Love to Complain about Gridlock in Washington and Partisan Warfare between Presidents and Congress. Yet the Record Suggests That Unified Party Government Is No Panacea
ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL, BARACK OBAMA PROMISED to bring change to Washington and a post-partisan, non-ideological approach to governing. In his first post-election press conference on November 7, he reiterated this hope: "I know we will succeed if we...
Headscarf Politics
THE SOURCE: "Secularism, State Policies, and Muslims in Europe: Analyzing French Exceptionalism" by Ahmet T. Kuru, in Comparative Polities, Oct. 2008. ALONE OF THE MAJOR COUNTRIES in Europe, France has passed legislation prohibiting students from...
Home Field Advantage
THE SOURCE: "The Influence of Social Forces: Evidence from the Behavior of Football Referees" by Thomas J. Dohmen, in Economic Inquiry, July 2008. FANS HAVE LONG SUSPECTED it, but now comes ammunition for that next barroom argument: Referees really...
Illusory Reform
THE SOURCES: "Poverty, Inequality, and Democracy: The Latin American Experience" by Francis Fukuyama, in Journal of Democracy, Oct. 2008, and "Freed From Illiteracy? A Closer Look at Venezuela's Mission Robinson Literacy Campaign" by Daniel Ortega...
Just Another Prescription
THE SOURCE: "Ten Years of 'Death with Dignity'" by Courtney S. Campbell, in The New Atlantis, Fall 2008. UNLESS YOU LIVE IN THE Pacific Northwest, you may not know that the voters in the state of Washington passed a "death with dignity" initiative...
Lincoln's Memo to Obama: A Distinguished Lincoln Biographer Imagines What Advice the 16th President Would Offer the 44th as He Takes Office
ILLINOIS SENATOR EVERETT DIRKSEN OBSERVED 50 years ago, "The first task of every politician is to get right with Lincoln." As the inauguration of President Barack Obama converges with the beginning of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial, it is intriguing...
McCulture: Americans Have Developed an Admirable Fondness for Books, Food, and Music That Preprocess Other Cultures. but for All Our Enthusiasm, Have We Lost Our Taste for the Truly Foreign?
AS A CHILD, I LIVED IN A HOUSE WHERE WE spoke only Hebrew. I remember relatives from the American side of the family complaining about my parents' language policy when they visited our house in New York. "She'll suffer if she doesn't speak English...
Mission Being Accomplished!
THE SOURCE: "Are We Finally Winning the War on Cancer?" by David M. Cutler, in Journal of Economic Perspectives, Fall 2008. AMERICA'S OFFICIAL 38-YEAR war on cancer has reduced deaths from the disease dramatically. But most of its success has not...
Pressroom of Babel
THE SOURCE: "Memorandum to the President-Elect" by Mike McCurry, in Presidential studies Quarterly, Dec. 2008. RICHARD M. NIXON WAS PRESIDENT when the White House Press Office was last revamped, and it is now suffering from hardening of the arteries....
Robots at War: The New Battlefield
It sounds like science fiction. but it is fact: On the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, robots are killing America's enemies and saving American lives. But today's PackBots, Predators, and Ravens are relatively primitive machines. The coming generation...
Spice and Status
THE SOURCE: "The Medieval Taste for Spices" by Paul Freedman, in Historically Speaking, Sept.-Oct. 2008. THE CUISINE OF THE MIDDLE Ages, with its tincture of ambergris and malaguetta, may not inspire many start-up restaurants, but the long-held...
Spoon-Fed Ideology
THE SOURCE: "Indoctrination U.? Faculty Ideology and Changes in Student Political Orientation" by Mack D. Mariani and Gordon J. Hewitt, in Political Science and Politics, Oct. 2008. ARE LIBERAL COLLEGE PROFESSORS indoctrinating a generation of innocent...
Teaching a Hippo to Dance: The Most Brilliant Policies Will Fail If Government Does Not Attract Talented People and Free Them to Do Their Best Work
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] FOUR YEARS AGO, I LEFT SILICON VALLEY TO accept a presidential appointment as a White House fellow. After undergoing months of interviews and obtaining a top-secret security clearance, I moved to Washington, D.C., to join...
The Clueless Voter
THE SOURCE: "Does Compulsory Voting Lead to More Informed and Engaged Citizens? An Experimental Test" by Peter John Loewen, Henry Milner, and Bruce M. Hicks, in Canadian Journal of Political Science, Sept. 2008. IF VOTING WERE MANDATORY, would voters...
The Expeditionary Imperative: America's National Security Structure Is Designed to Confront the Challenges of the Last Century Rather Than Our Own
GEORGES CLEMENCEAU, FRANCE'S INDOMITABLE prime minister during World War I, famously remarked that "war is too serious a matter to entrust to military men" He had reason to know: The fighting on the western front cost the lives of more than two million...
The Local Government Colossus
THE SOURCE: "Attempted Merger" by Josh Goodman, in Governing, Nov. 2008. NEW YORK CITY HAS 1.1 MILLION pupils in a single school jurisdiction. The entire state of Maine has only 200,000 students in 290 districts. Last year, Democratic governor John...
The Price of Salvation
THE SOURCE: "Changing the Rules: State Mortgage Foreclosure Moratoria During the Great Depression" by David C. Wheelock, in Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, Nov.-Dec. 2008. THE MORTGAGE BANKERS Association announced some bad news in December:...
The Research Boomerang
THE SOURCE: "Be Careful What You Wish For: A Cautionary Tale About Budget Doubling" by Richard B. Freeman and John Van Reenen, in Issues in Science and Technology, Fall 2008. BETWEEN 1998 AND 2003 THE Clinton administration started and the Bush...
The Right Bite: There Are Five Maxims the Federal Government Can Follow to Regain the Public Confidence It Has Lost over the Past Four Decades
ONE OF THE PUZZLES OF OUR AGE IS WHY AMERICANS distrust their own government so deeply. Against the inescapable and well-publicized cases of failure by the federal government must be weighed a remarkable half-century record of accomplishment. The federal...
Thinking about Uncle
I recently read one of those forwarded joke messages--you have no choice when it's e-mailed by your father--and found myself chortling over its announcement of the discovery of Governmentium, a new chemical element with "one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons,...
Training Mere Mortal Teachers
THE SOURCE: "Charter Schools and the Limits of Human Capital" by Steven F. Wilson, in The Education Gadfly, Nov. 6, 2008. CHARTER SCHOOLS HAVE GENERALLY failed to find a Petraeus-style solution to the urban school crisis. A surge of troops may have...
Undersea Terrorism
THE SOURCE: "A New Underwater Threat" by Wade F. Wilkenson, in Proceedings, Oct. 2008. IN THE WESTERN LOWLANDS OF Colombia, where a labyrinth of rivers flow through rainforests and mangrove marshes teeming with exotic wildlife, drug smugglers are...
Wedding Bell Blues: Kennedy Clincher
George Plimpton, author, bon vivant, and cofounder of The Paris Review, had nothing but qualms about marriage, according to George, Being George (Random House), an oral biography edited by Nelson W. Aldrich Jr. In 1968, Robert F. Kennedy, newly...
What's the Buzz?
THE SOURCE: "Religion, 'Westernization,' and Youth in the 'Closed City' of Soviet Ukraine, 1964-84" by Sergei I. Zhuk, in The Russian Review, Oct. 2008. HIP-HOP HAS BEEN HOT IN THE Hezbollah-run suburbs of Beirut, and rock remains popular in Rio,...