Best idea Drastic reductions in nuclear weapons stockpiles as relics of Cold War thinking. Worst idea That responding to the plight of the Libyan people in early was not in the national interest of the United States. In these days of political trench warfare, most Washington fixtures leave the city with their stature diminished.
But Robert Gates, who served presidents from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama and in June completed a transformative tenure across two administrations as Pentagon chief, is the rare exception. This year alone saw the stunning assassinations of Punjab Gov. In response, a prominent Islamist cleric issued a fatwa calling for her death; at the height of the furor she said she was receiving two death threats an hour. Her stand against religious zealots has largely confined her to her house out of fear for her safety.
Muse Steve Jobs, with his knowledge and knife-edged mind, followed closely by a woman — any woman — as ayatollah or pope.
Arab Autumn. Worst idea Aid without trade.
The headlines may be gloomy: a seemingly endless war in Afghanistan, famine in Somalia, a bloody crackdown in Syria. In his ambitious new book, The Better Angels of Our Nature , the Harvard University—based cognitive researcher argues that the world is a significantly more peaceful place than it was in centuries past.
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Pinker makes the case that the worst examples of human cruelty — torture, war, suicide — have declined dramatically in the modern age. He contends that humankind has gradually tamed its worst instincts as traits like empathy and equality have proved more useful than violence and revenge, an insight as relevant to geopolitical strategists as criminologists the world over. Muse Statisticians. Best idea Joshua Goldstein: If you want peace, work for peace.go to site
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Eight years and two policy changes later, the writer and husband is a permanent resident of the United States, using his explosively popular blog , now hosted by the Daily Beast , to exhort his adopted country to extend marriage rights to all its citizens — a cause that seemed astonishingly more achievable in than even Sullivan could have imagined until recently. A self-proclaimed conservative, Sullivan argues against those who label him a liberal for his support of gay rights and decries the religious bias of modern right-wing politics.
His ability to glide between political ideologies has made him a lightning rod for criticism, but also the rare figure in contemporary politics who can reach audiences across the political spectrum.
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Muse Thomas Merton. Stimulus now; Bowles-Simpson—style austerity later. In , RonPaulism went mainstream in U. Four years ago, the Fed-bashing, gold-standard-pushing, unapologetically isolationist Texas representative was a far-flung outlier among Republican primary candidates. Now Paul, a long-shot presidential hopeful once again, faces the opposite problem in the race: a slate of GOP contenders who are tearing pages out of his half-dozen books.
Minnesota Rep. John McCain, no longer nursing his wounds from his stinging presidential defeat, has been unleashed again — as a loud and consistent voice for muscular interventionism at a time when it is becoming decidedly unfashionable in American politics, even among the most hawkish Republicans. He was among the first U. Two months later, along with Sen. The United Nations agreed with him at its world summit, reflecting the growing consensus that state sovereignty is not a right, but a privilege. Deng, the first South Sudanese to obtain a doctorate and author of key works in the s introducing the R2P concept, has sought to apply similar principles to his war-racked country.
Stimulus, please. Both: God save us from a zero-sum game. Spring, absolutely. Best idea U. Worst idea That, post-Fukushima, civil nuclear energy should be abandoned. Over the next two decades, her battle against genocide took her to the Balkans, Rwanda, Darfur — and now the White House.
The world has finally caught up with Mohamed El-Erian. A former World Bank economist, Martin Wolf has called his job as a financial journalist an accident.
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But the nuanced, prescription-heavy columns that he has penned for the Financial Times since — complete with dense, data-rich charts on everything from U. Muse William Shakespeare. Best idea None I can remember. Worst idea Fiscal austerity will stimulate the economy.
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His book, Wars, Guns, and Votes , controversially called on Western countries to condone foreign military coups in response to sham elections, while suppressing rebellions against politicians elected fairly. Then came , and a string of the dictators Collier had long been railing against finally bit the dust. Muse Martin Wolf. Stimulus — but spend big on investment while trimming consumption so as to improve the balance sheet. China — but rocky not rocket. The Italian prime minister, finally headed for the exits after 24 dodged lawsuits since he first took power in In no small measure it was thanks to Ilda Boccassini, a prosecutor based in Milan.
Since the early s, however, Berlusconi has been her chief quarry, and she finally seems to have caught him this year for allegedly paying a year-old for sex and abusing his position to hide the act.
It is an Arab Awakening and will take all four seasons for many years. Wealthy, tranquil Norway seemed a world apart from the violence and extremism that has wracked other parts of the planet. That illusion was shattered in July when Anders Behring Breivik — a far-right madman obsessed with a purported Muslim takeover of Europe — set off a bomb in Oslo and went on a killing spree at an island youth camp, killing 77 people.
In the aftermath, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg provided a case study in how to guide a nation through trauma. Stoltenberg emphasized the principles that have made Norway the envy of the world in the first place. But never naivete. In the months since, Stoltenberg has resisted pressures to institute greater domestic surveillance measures and maintained a pro-immigration stance. They cannot be silenced to death, but debated to death. In their book this year, Poor Economics , Banerjee and Duflo argue that hunger is not solely the result of being unable to afford enough food.
From Indonesian villages to rural Morocco, they met people who would fall comfortably within the international definition of hungry, yet were forsaking needed nutrients for better-tasting treats or a DVD player. What to do? For starters, they suggest leaving the grand, one-size-fits-all solutions where they belong: back at the academy. Mikko Hypponen spends his days waist-deep in worms and viruses — of the virtual kind. A leading expert on cybersecurity, he has played a key role in helping us understand — and then stop — some of the dangerous menaces of the digital age.
There were the worms Sobig. F, which Hypponen and his team dismantled in , and Sasser, which they spotted in ; more recently, he has monitored hacking at Sony, as well as security threats to mobile devices. Last year, Stuxnet was discovered to have attacked nuclear centrifuges in Iran beginning in Some suspected Israel, but Hypponen has posited that it was the U.
For Hypponen, who has been consulted by law-enforcement officials on three continents, Stuxnet proves that cyberattacks can affect the offline world — the increasingly networked water, power, and transportation systems that we all rely on. Muse Twitter. Neither will fundamentally address the pain being felt by people and governments. Superpowers were a 20th-century phenomenon.
Best idea Plastic recycling as invented by Mike Biddle. Twenty years ago, when Herman Chinery-Hesse returned home after studying in the United States with plans to start a Ghanaian software company, his friends told him he was crazy. Today, Chinery-Hesse is working to develop a payment system via mobile-phone text messages that will allow African entrepreneurs to sell their products abroad. Muse The Internet.
Best idea mPedigree. Worst idea Continued construction of nuclear plants. A different answer for each of 21 countries. Best idea A price on carbon. Worst idea Climate-change denial. It may not be surprising to learn that Nancy Birdsall, founder of the increasingly influential Washington-based think tank Center for Global Development, agrees with critics of foreign aid that the system is broken: poorly administered from afar based on donor priorities, damaging to local institutions, and a sap on motivation.
Unlike most critics, though, Birdsall — an economist by training who spent years at the World Bank and working on Latin American economic development — has an answer.
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