The Wilson Quarterly

Articles from Vol. 36, No. 1, Winter

Avoiding the Arrow People
In 2002, journalist Scott Wallace journeyed where few outsiders have ventured before. He canoed shallow rivers and trekked through dense jungles to the land of the Arrow People, a group of Indians in a remote corner of the Brazilian Amazon whose language...
Being Muslim in America
MORE THAN A DECADE AFTER 9/11, U.S. Muslims are struggling to forge a distinctively Muslim-American identity. One of their challenges, argues political scientist Peter Skerry of Boston College, is a "muddled" sense of loyalty to the United States....
Body of Proof
AMERICANS SEEM TO LOVE television dramas revolving around the work of medical examiners, but in the real world, pressure has been mounting for medicine to develop an alternative to autopsies. Grieving families shocked by the unexpected death of a loved...
Brazil's Popularity Problem
AFTER DECADES OF FAILING TO fulfill predictions that it would become Latin America's great power, Brazil seems to have made good on its singular potential. Its humming economy has earned it recognition as one of the four international up-and-comers...
Capitalism, Chinese Style
CHINA TODAY HAS ALL THE sober trappings of modern capitalism: contracts, corporations, and institutions enshrined in law. Yet guanxi, or relationships with kin or associates who are tapped for favors with the understanding of reciprocity, continue...
Checkpoints, Not Checks
IN THE 1960S, criminologists developed the theory that employed men are less likely to commit crimes because they are meaningfully occupied. The logic eventually migrated to conflict zones: Unemployed men with lots of time on their hands have the opportunity...
Climate Patterns
AMONG SCIENTISTS, THE IDEA that global warming is occurring and that humans have contributed to it is an article of faith. There's much more skepticism among American political and media elites: Only 20 percent of the program hours devoted to climate...
Democracy Deferred
LIKE NEARBY TUNISIA, MOROCco had a raucous spring in 2011. Protesters from Tangier to Marrakesh took to the streets to protest poverty and corruption in an act of defiance that became known as the February 20 Movement. Many demanded restrictions on...
Exiting Afghanistan
During the talks to end the Vietnam War, North Vietnamese negotiators asked Henry Kissinger a pointed question: Do you expect to have more success while withdrawing troops than you did at the height of the intervention? There was, Kissinger confessed...
For Love or Money
IN 1946, POET AND CRITIC R. P. Blackmur sent a letter to many of America's most prominent writers and critics. "For reasons that will later become apparent," it began, "we've should be very grateful for your best opinion as to what literary magazines...
Great Recession or Mini-Depression? Words May Be Failing Economists and Others Who Characterize the Economic Downturn That Began in 2008 as "The Great Recession." "Mini-Depression" May Be More like It
THE RECESSION THAT BEGAN IN JANUARY 2008 was more severe than any of the other 10 recessions the United States has endured since World War II. The decline in the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) surpassed previous records and the percentage of...
Harding's Hidden Halo
SCAN THE PRESIDENTIAL rankings historians and pundits produce, and you'll find one consistent bottom feeder: Warren G. Harding. The Teapot Dome scandal and other instances of corruption badly damaged the reputation of the onetime newspaper publisher...
Holy Rights
WHY DO ROUGHLY 70 PERCENT of European workers have collective bargaining coverage, while only 13 percent of their American counterparts do? Religion is a surprisingly big part of the answer. In Europe, polities evolved hand in hand with forms of...
India's Musical Menace
THE POET AND COMPOSER Rabindranath Tagore famously pronounced it the "bane of Indian music: One listener described it as "a torture only fully appreciated by those who have undergone it." An other called it simply "a menace" The contraption responsible...
Indispensable No More
THE COUNTRY'S CHATTERING class seems fixated on the question of whether the United States is on the verge of a fatal decline. Stephen M. Walt says the alarm is exaggerated. "Whether the future world is unipolar, bipolar, or multipolar, Washington is...
It Was the Economy, Stupid
"WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO be self-evident, that all men are created equal," may be among the most famous phrases in the English language. Similarly inscribed on the hearts of Americans are the personal liberties the Declaration of Independence enshrines....
Man as Machine: A Peculiar Experiment Inspired by the Enlightenment Sheds Light on the Age-Old Question of What Makes Us Human
ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR FRANCE'S NATIONAL Museum of Technology, on the nondescript rue Vaucanson in Paris, announces a special demonstration. On the second floor, at the end of a corridor of antique steam engines and jacquard looms, the museum's Theater...
Mending Malpractice
IT'S A COMMON ENOUGH headache for American doctors: Treat a patient using a routine procedure, but instead of getting a check in the mail, get served legal papers. To add insult to injury, much of the cost and conflict of malpractice litigation is...
My Own Private Nietzsche: An American Story: The German Philosopher Whose Ideas Would Leave an Indelible Mark on Europe Was Embraced by Americans Eager to See in Him a Reflection of Their Own Image
ON SUNDAY, APRIL 27, 1913, 67-YEAR-OLD JENNIE Hintz of Yonkers, New York, penned the first of two long letters to Elisabeth Forster-Nietzsche, Friedrich Nietzsche's sister and literary executor. Hintz, a self-described "spinster," introduced herself...
Of More Than One Mind
Four years ago, even the staunchest of pessimists might have been dismayed if they could have somehow learned that in 2012 the world economy would still be feeling the effects of recession. While the current economic downturn is the subject of a great...
Pakistan's Most Dangerous Place: Pakistan's Remote and Poorly Understood Tribal Region Has Emerged as Key to the Future of Both Pakistan and Afghanistan
AS THE UNITED STATES STRUGGLES TO BROKER AN endgame to the decade-old war in Afghanistan, an add mountain region in northwestern Pakistan not much larger than Vermont has emerged as the key to the beleaguered Afghan state's future--and perhaps Pakistan's...
Polarization without Parties
PARTISANSHIP MAY HAVE reached scorching levels, but even partisans don't have much use for actual political parties these days, argues Walter Russell Mead, a professor of foreign affairs and humanities at Bard College. The parties "are increasingly...
Protectionist Psych
THE NEW PRIME MINISTER OF Japan, Yoshihiko Noda, made a bold move last fall when he announced that his country would participate in talks to join a Pacific free-trade agreement. Japan provides generous support to its agricultural sector through subsidies...
Retractions under the Microscope
NO SCIENTIST LIKES TO HEAR that a publication labored over for months or years contains a flaw so major that it must be withdrawn from the public record. Yet the number of retractions of published research has boomed in recent years. It was projected...
Revisiting the Great Depression: The Role of the Welfare State in Today's Economic Crisis Recalls the Part Played by the Gold Standard in the Calamitous 1930s
THE GREAT DEPRESSION CAST A DARK SHADOW over the 20th century. It arguably led to World War II, because without the Depression, Adolf Hitler might never have come to power. It discredited unfettered capitalism--which was blamed for the collapse--and...
Right Turn: Early Gipper
The historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. was no fan of Ronald Reagan. In 1980, Schlesinger wrote in his diary that there was "no reason to believe anything" Reagan said, for he would "play whatever script is required:' Yet Schlesinger unwittingly helped...
Squawk Box
HIT THE "SCAN" BUTTON ON your ear radio and you're just as likely to land on a station with a right-wing pundit lambasting health care reform as the latest Rihanna hit. Talk radio is thriving: About 3,500 American radio stations use that format today,...
Stand by Taiwan
EVERY YEAR CHINA PUBLICLY grumbles about the United States' support of Taiwan, and every year Washington pretends not to hear. Some U.S. foreign-policy specialists are sick of this dynamic, arguing, according to Georgetown University historian Nancy...
Staying Put
AMERICANS LIKE TO THINK OF themselves as a restless people, always ready to pack up and move in search of opportunity. But in the past 30 years, they have been increasingly stuck in place. In the 1980s, for example, 3 percent of men migrated from...
The Debt Bomb: When Wages Stagnate and Inequality Rises, Americans Try to Borrow Their Way toward the American Dream. Inevitably, the Bubble Bursts. but We Can Learn from the Lessons of 1929
DICK AND JANE SMITH MET SHORTLY AFTER THEY moved to the city. Sparks flew, declarations of love were exchanged, rings and vows inevitably followed--and then they began their search for a home of their own. Though he didn't have a college degree, Dick...
The Empty Threat of Cyberwar
THE SPECTER OF CYBERWAR haunts American leaders. "The next Pearl Harbor could very well be a cyberattack" Leon Panetta warned last year when he was still CIA director. Rubbish, says Thomas Rid, a reader in the Department of War Studies at King's...
The Postpartisan Folly
REMEMBER THE LAST TIME Americans elected a "postpartisan" president? Why, it was only four years ago! It was Barack Obama who hoped to soar above the sordid political wars with "eloquence, rational policies, and good faith." writes Princeton historian...
The Silent Treatment: Hear Ye-Nothing
Supreme Court confirmation hearings have become virtually useless. Nominees once gave serious, substantive answers to questions about their judicial philosophies. Then in 1987, Robert Bork's serious, substantive answers led the Senate to reject his...
The Warhol Bubble
IN 1962, A 33-YEAR-OLD GRAPHIC designer turned artist held his first solo show at a gallery in Los Angeles. The response was unremarkable. The gallery sold only five of the 32 paintings it displayed--each a painstaking reproduction of a Campbell's...
The Westphalian Mirage
FEW SERIOUS DISCUSSIONS OF globalization go very far before sage allusions to "the Westphalian system" start flying. The term is a catchall description for the rules of the game that have prevailed in international politics since the European treaties...
Ukrainian Gloom
IN A STUNNING REVERSAL OF fortune, the villain of Ukraine's Orange Revolution, Viktor Yanukovych, won the January 2010 contest for the country's presidency fair and square, five years after he was denied the office following allegations of electoral...
Vile Bodies: Rest for the Wicked
Evildoers can exert power even after death. Followers may turn a gravesite into a shrine, where they gather to stoke their fury and plot their vengeance. Fearing that possibility, the U.S. military buried Osama bin Laden at sea in May, and the Libyan...
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