Foreign Policy, January-February 2003
The cover story examines five global wars the world is losing. Illegal trade in drugs, arms, intellectual property, people, and money can’t be stopped because it knows no borders and is driven by inexorable market forces. Policy-makers bent on totally prohibiting illicit trafficking ought to consider using market regulation to curb demand instead. … An annual survey of globalization’s winners and losers. Ireland and Switzerland come out on top as the nations most economically, technologically, and politically engaged with the rest of the world. The ratings of Saudi Arabia and Venezuela take big hits since last year. … An essay contends that Saddam isn’t as unpredictable as the war party says. His ventures against Iran and Kuwait—often cited as examples of his irrationality—made strategic sense. And the fact that he didn’t use chemical weapons during the Gulf War is evidence enough that he’s deterrable.—J.F.
Fortune, Dec. 30
The cover story argues that when Wall Street finally recovers from its current funk, it’ll be a lot tamer than it was during the bullish ‘90s. Firms are leaner, business models have been deeply altered, and thanks to the New York AG, Eliot Spitzer, everyone’s more honest. … An article looks at Bush’s plan to accelerate tax cuts. They’re unlikely to accomplish much in the short term, but the cuts will probably encourage long-term growth. The only problem is paying for them: Will we have to raise taxes down the road or cut future spending? … The magazine highlights “What Went Right” in 2002. Three cheers for Beliefnet’s heroic rebound from bankruptcy. A toast to bonds (Barry, too), which beat stocks for the third year in a row. Hats off to the online dating industry for increasing revenue 37 percent. And well-wishes for the treacherous, walking snakehead fish since it made a “damned good distraction” this summer.— J.F.
New Republic, Jan. 13
The cover story examines America’s obsession with weight and says there is no medical evidence that being fat is bad for you. The real health epidemic is obsessive dieting and weight loss supplements, which often prove more dangerous than obesity. “In the end, nothing could be easier than to win the war on fat: All we need to do is stop fighting it.” … A piece sums up the presidential ambitions of Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla. Once considered “the most boring man in the Senate,” Graham has become a household name thanks to his apocalyptic views on national security. He opposed Congress’ Iraq resolution because it was “too weak.”… An editorial takes the White House to task for its silence on North Korea’s nuclear threat. “Politically appealing as it may be, nonchalance is not a policy.”—H.B.
New York Review of Books, Jan. 16
Joseph Lelyveld shines a harsh light on Rudy Giuliani’s simplistic and self-serving how-to Leadership. The book was almost completed when 9/11 happened, and the disaster got tacked on as a flimsy organizing device for Rudy’s selective look back at what a great mayor he was. … Henry Siegman examines why Yasser Arafat and Ariel Sharon won’t build peace in the Middle East. Arafat’s stubborn clinging to power at all costs and Sharon’s stubborn determination to block a Palestinian state at all costs mean a stalemate for the region’s foreseeable future. … An article about Palestinian suicide bombers says revenge for specific deaths often figures into their decision to blow themselves up, and more and more women and older family men are becoming these terrorists. … Joan Didion wonders what happened to the nascent post-9/11 dialogue about U.S. foreign policy. The tentative discussion of our involvement in the affairs of the world got wiped out by a tsunami of self-righteous patriotism.—S.G.
Economist, Jan. 4
The cover story explains why North Korea isn’t quite Iraq. Unlike Iraq, North Korea may already have the bomb and certainly has the potential to flatten Seoul. So military force is out of the question. Moreover, North Korea isn’t in breach of any significant U.N. resolutions and may still be amenable to diplomacy. … A piece reports anti-Americanism on the rise, but says it’s still a minority view just about everywhere in the world. To keep it from becoming a majority view, the United States will have to do a better job convincing its allies that they matter. … An article says the auto industry thinks it has discovered a new untapped market: “super-luxury cars.” Could there possibly be enough demand to justify building $150,000, handcrafted road boats (complete with umbrella stands and cigar humidors), or are auto execs just measuring the size of their manhood?— J.F.
New York Times Magazine, Jan. 5
The cover story insists that the United States is an empire, like it or not. The downside: We’re a constant target, we’re blamed for everything that goes wrong, even our best friends in Europe resent and misunderstand us. The upside: We alone can bring freedom and opportunity to the Middle East—in both Iraq and Israel. … A story skewers amateur historian Gavin Menzies, whose hot new book 1421 claims a vast Chinese fleet visited the East and West coasts of the United States 70 years before Columbus, and even sailed up the Missouri to Kansas. His evidence is “gossamer,” including the claim that more than 100 Peruvian villages have Chinese-derived names. … In an interview, Frank Gehry explains why he has skipped all the rebuilding Ground Zero planning: The pay was too mingy. Still, America’s most celebrated architect offers a suggestion for the site: “Imagine Central Park with a roof over it.”— D.P.
Advocate, Jan. 21 Rosie O’Donnell may no longer grace the cover of Rosie, but she’s front and center as the Advocate’s “Person of the Year.” In her first interview with the gay media—a rambling, sentimental affair—she denies she’s the “Queen of Nice,” saying her “art form is not based on kindness; it’s based in rage.” She admonishes the gay community “to stop pointing fingers at their brothers and sisters and saying, ‘Not gay enough.’ ” … A piece on the Motion Picture Association of America ratings claims the organization discriminates against gay-themed films. Even wholesome movies with no sex, no violence, and no bad language are rated PG-13. Films showing positive portrayals of gay relationships are much likelier to earn an NC-17 or R rating than movies with straight characters or heterosexual action.—J.T.
The New Yorker, Jan. 6 A piece examines the limited effects of drugs on literature. A litany of authors from Graham Greene to W.H. Auden have said they were under the influence while writing, but has tinkering with the mind’s chemistry helped anyone besides Hunter S. Thompson compose anything surprising or new? … An article sums up the latest proposals for what should be done with the World Trade Center site. Nearly all the designs wed a 9/11 memorial with a larger redevelopment of Lower Manhattan, but “are we capable of experiencing a sense of awe at one moment and going about our business the next in the same place?” … A piece by Scott Turow looks at growing concerns about capital punishment and its fairness.—H.B.