The Wilson Quarterly

Articles from Vol. 33, No. 2, Spring

A Fighting Chance: As Mexico Steps Up Its War against the Brutal Cartels That Supply the United States' Drug Habit, Leaders on Both Sides of the Border Face Tough Questions about How to Combat a Problem That Threatens the Very Fabric of Mexico's Democracy
NEWSPAPER HEADLINES AND TABLOID PICTURES TELL the story: headless corpses, blood--soaked vehicles, and a growing array of victims-drug traffickers, cops, politicians, journalists, and, increasingly, civilians. The lazy, tranquil Mexico I grew up in...
A Future for the Making
To speculate about the future is, for most of us, as natural as breathing. The French political thinker Bertrand de Jouvenel observed, in his marvelously well-titled book The Art of Conjecture (1967), that this impulse to contemplate what we cannot...
A Leg Up from the Job Corps
THE SOURCE: "Does Job Corps Work? Impact Findings From the National Job Corps Study" by Peter Z. Schochet, John Burghardt, and Sheena McConnell, in American Economic Review, Dec. 2008. THE JOB CORPS, A LEGACY OF the Great Society, has been under...
Brazil's Bold Experiment
THE SOURCE: "Brazil's Bolsa Familia: A Double-Edged Sword?" by Anthony Hall, in Development and Change, Sept. 2008. ASIDE FROM MICROCREDIT--the system of small loans that won its creator the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006-few social initiatives have...
Breaking the Chinese Mold
THE SOURCE: "Chinese Political Attitudes and Values in Comparative Context: Cautionary Remarks on Cultural Attributions" by Steve Chan, in Journal of Chinese Political Science, Dec. 2008. IF THERE IS ANYTHING AMERIcans know for sure about the Chinese,...
Bye-Bye Books?
THE SOURCES: "People of the Screen "by Christine Rosen, in The New Atlantis, Fall 2008, and "Apocalypse in the Stacks? The Research Library in the Age of Google" by Anthony Grafton, in Daedalus, Winter 2009. THE 500-YEAR-OLD TECHNOLOGY of the book...
Can America Fail? A Sympathetic Critic Issues a Wake-Up Call, for an America Mired in Groupthink and Blind to Its Own Shortcomings
IN 1981, SINGAPORE'S LONG-RULING PEOPLE'S Action Party was shocked when it suffered its first defeat at the polls in many years, even though the contest was in a single constituency. I asked Dr. Goh Keng Swee, one of Singapore's three founding fathers...
Catch and Release
THE SOURCE: "Fighting Pirates: The Pen and the Sword" by James Kraska and Brian Wilson, in World Policy Journal, Winter 2008-09. CRIMINAL GANGS OPERATING out of a failed state with a population the size of greater Chicago captured at least 97 ships,...
City of Niche News
THE SOURCE: "The New Face of Washington's Press Corps' by Tyler Marshall and the Project for Excellence in Journalism, in journalism.org, Feb. 11, 2009. THE NUMBER OF U.S. Newspapers with a reporter based in Washington has plunged by half. The number...
First Steps with Iran
THE SOURCE: "The Republic and the Rahbar" by Gary Sick, in The National Interest, Jan.-Feb. 2009. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA'S PROPOSAL to open a diplomatic dialogue with Iran, despite the initial lukewarm response of Iran's leaders, could signal a...
He Told Us So
THE SOURCE: "Moynihan Redux: Legacies and Lessons" by Douglas S. Massey and Robert J. Sampson, in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Jan. 2009. THE LATE DANIEL PATRICK Moynihan strode through public life as a supremely...
History by Name
THE SOURCE: "The Child of Death': Personal Names and Parental Attitudes Towards Mortality in Bunyoro, Western Uganda, 1900-2005" by Shane Doyle, in Journal a/African History, Nov. 2008. ACCUSTOMED TO THE LUSH details of sources such as the Code...
In Praise of Trimmers
THE SOURCE: "Trimming" by Cass R. Sunstein, in Harvard Law Review, Feb. 2009. THE VESTIBULE OF HELL IN Dante's Divine Comedy (1308-21) was populated with ancient representatives of what Cass R. Sunstein considers an underappreciated class, the "trimmers:...
John Stuart Mill's "Very Simple Principle": Wherever There's a Debate over Gay Marriage, Free Speech, or Even Smoking in Public Places, the Arguments John Stuart Mill Made in on Liberty Are Still in the Thick of the Action
ALMOST EVERYBODY WHO CARES ABOUT SCIENCE or ideas knows by now that 2009 is the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, as well as the 200th anniversary of its author's birth. Origin of Species is rightly hailed by scientists...
Last Man Standing: Its No Cause for Celebration, but the Global Financial Crisis Shows Why the United States Remains the Indispensable Nation
THE UNITED STATES HAS MILLIONS OF HOMES IN foreclosure, high unemployment rates, a failing General Motors, numerous insolvent banks, and unprecedented deficits. It is possibly on the brink of a second Great Depression. Yet the U.S. dollar has experienced...
Magnifying American Power
THE SOURCE: "Reshaping the World Order" by Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth, in Foreign Affairs, March-April 2009. THE INSTITUTIONS THAT GOVERN international relations, from the United Nations Security Council to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation...
Postmodern Pews
THE SOURCE: "Building for Humans" by Matthew J. Milliner, in Christian Century, March 10, 2009: PARTISANS OF MODERNIST ARCHItecture in the mid-20th century didn't mince words, writes Matthew J. Milliner, a doctoral candidate in art history at Princeton,...
Screen Slavers: Hazardous to Your Health
Facebook, MySpace, and similar websites may be supplanting human contact, says Aric Sigman, fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, and that's bad news. "Social-networking sites should allow us to embellish our social lives, but what we find is very...
Survival Art
THE SOURCE: "On the Origin of Art and Symbolism" by Michael Baiter, in Science, Feb. 6, 2009. ENGRAVED OCHER CHIPS FOUND in South Africa's Blombos Cave in recent years feature what could be triangles, waves, fans, or maybe just fancy crosshatchings...
The Barbarous Black Skeleton
THE SOURCE: "Eiffel's Tower" by Frederick Brown, in The New England Review, Vol. 29, No. 4, 2008. THE EIFFEL TOWER, UNIVERsal symbol of Paris and destination of more than 200 million visitors, was almost as avidly hated by the French when it was...
The Bulging Brain
THE SOURCE: "Sculpting the Brain" by Claus C. Hilgetag and Helen Barbas, in Scientzfic American, Feb. 2009. EVERY TIME YOU READ AN IN Essence article, responding to it by saying "hmmm," getting mad at the author, or even flipping the page, you are...
The Contrarian
IT'S EASY TO IMAGINE THE DIMINUTIVE, animated Doh Shin as the eager South Korean schoolboy he was in the 1950s. It's also easy to imagine why he was "always getting into trouble, as he says with a hint of satisfaction, when he was a graduate student...
The Establishment Restored
THE SOURCE: "The Return of the Best and Brightest" by R. R. Reno, in First Things, Feb. 2009. THE DRAMATIC ACHIEVEMENT of the November election was not the selection of the nation's first African-American president, but the return to power of the...
The First Civil War
THE SOURCE: An Evenly Balanced County: The Scope and Severity of Civil Warfare in Revolutionary Monmouth County, New Jersey" by Michael S. Adelberg, in The Journal of Military History, Jan. 2009* THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION was not a simple matter of...
The Lullaby of Taxis
THE SOURCE: "Not So Silent Spring" by Dawn Stover, in Conservation Magazine, Jan.-March 2009. WHEN REPORTS STARTED TO trickle in a few years ago about European blackbirds imitating ambulance sirens, car alarms, and cell phone ringtones, researchers...
The Pessimist Persuasion: Throughout History, Many Intellectuals Have Been Willing to Write Their Society's Obituary Long before the Game Was Up
America has become the symbol not of a strong, assured, confident giant, striding into the future-but of a society that now stands more than ever as a warning of where [defying] nature merely to become richer and richer without limit can lead to.......
The World's New Numbers: "Here Lies Europe, Overwhelmed by Muslim Immigrants and Emptied of Native-Born Europeans." That Is the Obituary Some Pundits Have Been Writing in Recent Years. but Neither the Immigrants nor the Europeans Are Playing Their Assigned Roles
SOMETHING DRAMATIC HAS HAPPENED TO THE world's birthrates. Defying predictions of demographic decline, northern Europeans have started having more babies. Britain and France are now projecting steady population growth through the middle of the century....
They Call It Home: Ethnic and Religious Violence Keep Russia's North Caucasus Region in the News. A Portrait of Daily Life in One Small Village Reveals a Richer, More Hopeful Reality
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] AKHMED DOESN'T LOCK HIS GATE AT NIGHT. HE doesn't lock his doors, and he leaves his windows open to let the curtains twitch in the breeze. The night sounds with frogs and yipping dogs. Not so long ago, in his village of Baliiko...
The Zen of Spell-Checking
THE SOURCE: "Who Checks the Spell-Checkers?" by Chris Wilson, in Slate, Dec. 31, 2008. EVEN THE COCKIEST grammarian can be intimidated by the wavy red underline that signals a misspelled word in most word processing programs. But when Microsoft...