The Wilson Quarterly

Articles from Vol. 34, No. 4, Autumn

Asia's Dying Death Penalty
THE SOURCE: "Asia's Declining Death Penalty" by David T. Johnson, in The Journal of Asian Studies, May 2010. OVER THE LAST 50 YEARS, THE prevalence of capital punishment around the world has decreased dramatically. By 1970, a total of 21 countries...
Barnes Storm
THE SOURCE: "No Museum Left Behind" by Lance Esplund, in The Weekly Standard, May 31, 2010. MANY IN THE ART WORLD ARE celebrating the Barnes Foundation's relocation from Merion, Pennsylvania, to its new home next to the Philadelphia Museum of Art...
Cloning the Neanderthals
THE SOURCE: "Should We Clone Neanderthals?" by Zach Zorich, in Archaeology, March-April 2010. NEARLY 50,000 YEARS AGO IN northern Spain, 11 Neanderthals were murdered. The circumstances remain mysterious, but the evidence--l,700 broken bones--is...
Decentering Kabul
THE SOURCE: "Defining Success in Afghanistan" by Stephen Biddle, Fotini Christia, and J. Alexander Thief, in Foreign Affairs, July-Aug. 2010. SINCE 2001, THE GOVERNMENT of Afghanistan, led by Hamid Karzai and backed by the United States, has struggled...
Farewell, Sir!
For the WQ and its parent institution, the Woodrow Wilson Center, this autumn brings a landmark event. President and director Lee Hamilton is stepping down after 12 years at the Center's helm to return to Indiana, whose Ninth District he represented...
Fixing the Presidential Primaries
THE SOURCE: "A Modified National Primary: State Losers and Support for Changing the Presidential Nominating Process" by Caroline J. Tolbert, Amanda Keller, and Todd Donovan, in Political Science Quarterly, Fall 2010. WHY IS THE PROCESS FOR selecting...
Forgotten Bauhaus
THE SOURCE: "The Powerhouse of the New" by Martin Filler, in The New York Review of Books, June 24, 2010. SAY THE WORD BAUHAUS AND the thing that pops into just about everyone's mind is Bauhaus architecture, codeword for boring, sleek, soulless,...
Gandhi's Invisible Hands: A Dust-Caked Library Left Behind by His Inner Circle Shows How Mahatma Gandhi's Saintly, Putatively Solitary Crusade for Peace Was Made Possible by a Well-Honed Enterprise of Resourceful Supporters
ON SEPTEMBER 4, 1915, IN THE STICKY HEAT OF late summer, Mahadev Desai and Narahari Parikh walked without speaking along the Sabarmati River, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, a city in northwestern India. Desai and Parikh were best friends who shared...
Hands on, Hands Off: Keyed Up
The player piano helped democratize music in the early 20th century, yet the technology also provoked some unease. Was the piano just an oversized music box? Or could an operator take credit for "playing" it? In a masters thesis earlier this year,...
How Nations Get Ahead
THE SOURCE: "Was the Wealth of Nations Determined in 1000 BC?" by Diego Comin, William Easterly, and Erick Gong, in American Economic Journal:Macroeconomics, July 2010. WHY ARE SOME AREAS OF THE world so poor and others so wealthy? Economists generally...
How Religious Toleration Came to America
THE SOURCE: "Dutch Contributions to Religious Toleration" by Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs, in Church History, Sept. 2010. SIX YEARS AGO, HISTORIAN Russell Shorto rescued the life of one Adriaen van der Donck from obscurity. Van der Donck, as Shorto told...
In with the New
THE SOURCE: "The New Normal" by Emma Marris, in Conservation, April-June 2010. CONSERVATIONISTS HAVE traditionally focused their efforts on preserving "pristine" ecosystems--those unchanged by modern man--but an upstart brigade of ecologists is...
Is Science Finished?
THE SOURCE: "Science's Dead End" by James Le Fanu, in Prospect, Aug. 2010. HAS THE ERA OF MAJOR scientific breakthroughs run its course? Lord Kelvin famously claimed at the end of the 19th century that future scientific achievements would be found...
Last Chance on Death Row: A Little-Known Legal Doctrine Confounds the Most Basic Understanding of Justice-Whether It Matters If a Convicted Person Is Actually Innocent
WHEN A FEDERAL JUDGE IN GEORGIA ANnounced the fate of death row inmate Troy Davis on August 23, the long-awaited decision was not what Davis or his supporters had prayed for. He'd become a cause celebre for organizations such as Amnesty International...
Liberalism's Two Camps
THE SOURCE: "Burke, Paine, and the Great Law of Change" by Yuval Levin, in Paint, Fall 2010. IN A RIP-ROARING DEBATE IN the early 1790s, Thomas Paine and Edmund Burke fleshed out two distinct strains of liberalism whose differences continue to animate...
Maximizing the Multiplier
THE SOURCE: "Crisis Economics"by N. Gregory Mankiw, in National Affairs, Summer 2010. WHEN TEAM OBAMA ARRIVED at the White House in January 2009, the first order of business was tending to a very sick patient: the U.S. economy. The administration's...
New Faces around the Center
As THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE in Washington began its merciful descent around Labor Day, the Woodrow Wilson Center showed signs of its annual autumnal transformation, with a new crop of fellows and scholars arriving to brighten its corridors. Twenty-four...
Potemkin Translators
THE SOURCE: "The Pevearsion of Russian Literature" by Gary Saul Morson, in Commentary, July-Aug. 2010. LIKE DOSTOYEVSKY'S SAINTLY Prince Myshkin, literary translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky seemingly can do no wrong. Their recent...
Separate and Unequal in Eastern Europe
THE SOURCE: "Report on Roma Education Today: From Slavery to Segregation and Beyond" by Jack Greenberg, in The Columbia Law Review, May 2010. AFRICAN AMERICANS AND THE Roma of Eastern Europe may live thousands of miles apart, but their histories...
South Africa's Staying Power
THE SOURCE: "State of Play: How South Africa Became South Africa" by Matthew Kaminski, in World Affairs, July-Aug. 2010. Is THE YOUNG SOUTH AFRICAN democracy at risk of falling apart? Widespread crime (215,000 people were murdered in the first decade...
Summer School-For Teachers
THE WOODROW WILSON CENTER IS KNOWN AS a friendly haven for the leading lights of academia, but two programs recently hosted people that mold students before they ever set foot in a college classroom: school teachers. One morning in late July saw...
The Frozen Past
THE SOURCE: "A Humanist on Thin Ice" by Tom Griffiths, in Griffith REVIEW, Spring 2010. IN THE THREE BILLION YEARS of life on this planet, ours is not the first era of mass extinction and global climate change. But we are the first creatures to...
The Global Budget Race: The Great Recession Drove Home a Reality Americans+ Have Long Avoided. an Aging Nation with Mounting Health and Retirement Bills Must Make Hard Choices or Be Outrun by Its Competitors-Some of Whom Have Been Quicker to Face Facts
NEWS STORIES REGULARLY REMIND US THAT most national governments in the developed world are essentially insolvent. The United States has one of the worst balance sheets, with a projected debt in 2050 of $123 trillion. Of course, what can't happen won't...
The Limits of Intelligence
THE SOURCE: "Why Intelligence and Policymakers Clash" by Robert Jervis, in Political Science Quarterly, Summer 2010. IT IS CONVENTIONAL WISDOM that whether because of President George W. Bush's aversion to complexity, Vice President Dick Cheney's...
Theory-Free Foreign Aid
THE SOURCES: "The Pragmatic Rebels" by Maureen Tkacik, in Bloomberg Businessweek, July 2, 2010, and "The Credibility Revolution in Empirical Economics: How Better Research Design Is Taking the Con Out of Econometrics" by Joshua D. Angrist and Jorn-Steffen...
The Real Justice Taney
THE SOURCE: "Roger B. Taney and the Slavery Issue: Looking Beyond--and Before--Dred Scott" by Timothy S. Huebner, in The Journal of American History, June 2010. WHO WAS THE REAL ROGER B. Taney? Was he the Supreme Court justice who infamously wrote,...
The Web's Random Logic: The Internet's Oceans of Information Seem to Defy Comprehension, but That Doesn't Prevent Us from Trying-Often Successfully-To Make Sense of It All
WHEN I HEARD THAT LEON REDBONE HAD recently played at the Tralfamadore Cafe in Buffalo, my old hometown, I went online for details. I hadn't the Panama hat-wearing string-tie-strung, bantering blues performer in years. I wondered if he still looked...
Throw Away the Political Resumes
THE SOURCE: "Ready to Lead on Day One: Predicting Presidential Greatness From Political Experience" by John Balz, in PS: Political Science and Politics, July 2010. DURING THE BATTLE FOR THE 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton...
Triumph of the Toughs
THE SOURCE: "Five Boys: The Story of a Picture" by Ian Jack, Intelligent Life, Spring 2010. ON JULY 10, 1937, THE BRITISH daily newspaper the News Chronicle published a photograph of five boys, two of them dressed in the English gentleman's uniform...
Two Presidents and Their God
THE SOURCE: "American Scriptures" by C. Clifton Black, in Theology Today, July 2010. GEORGE WASHINGTON'S FAREWELL Address (1796) and Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address (1865) are standard texts for any student of American history. C. Clifton...
Uptime: Busy Bodies
With people compulsively checking text messages and tweeting updates on their whereabouts, idleness seems a thing of the past. Christopher K. Hsee of the University of Chicago and two coauthors report that in order to avoid dead time, people will go...
Welfare's New Tune
THE SOURCE: "Effects of Prenatal Poverty on Infant Health: State Earned Income Tax Credits and Birth Weight" by Kate W. Strully, David H. Rehkopf and Ziming Xuan in American Sociological Review , Aug. 2010. IN THE LAST QUARTER OF THE 20th century,...
Welty's Southern Discomfort
THE SOURCE: "Intimate Strangers" by Ellen Ann Fentress, in The Oxford American, Issue 69. EUDORA WELTY WAS NOT ONLY A jewel but an emblem of the South. Richard Wright, serf-exiled from home at the age of 17, became a symbol of black anger and empowerment....
What If China Fails? the Case for Selective Failure
SEVEN DECADES AGO PRESIDENT CHIANG KAI-SHEK wrote in a preface to his wife's book China Shall Rise Again, "For the rebirth of a people certain factors are necessary. Of these one is that the people should go through a period of trials and tribulations."...
What If China Fails? We'd Better Hope It Doesn't!
AMERICANS ARE ANXIOUS ABOUT THE RAPID RISE of China, and they may be forgiven for idly wishing that the Asian giant would trip and suffer a nasty fall. Many blame China for America's economic distress and see it as a growing challenge to U.S. power,...
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