November/December 2013

November/December 2013
92, 6

Comments

Comment
Jagdish Bhagwati and Francisco Rivera-Batiz

Even if immigration reform managed to get through congress, it would do little to stem illegal immigration or improve the plight of the undocumented. So policymakers should shift their focus to a more humane, bottom-up approach: letting states compete for illegal immigrants.

Comment
Henning Meyer

Europe's social democrats hoped that the 2008 economic meltdown would vindicate their politics and strengthen their hand. But they failed to see how badly they had damaged their brand by compromising on core principles during the previous two decades. To find their way forward, they must return to their roots.

Comment
Henry Farrell and Martha Finnemore

In the age of leaks, the United States will find it harder to act hypocritically and get away with it -- and so Washington may ultimately be compelled to start practicing what it preaches.

Essays

Essay
Laurie Garrett

All the key barriers to the artificial synthesis of viruses and bacteria have been overcome, spawning a dizzying array of perils and promises. But as the scientific community forges ahead, the biosecurity establishment remains behind the curve.

Essay
Ronald K. Noble

Cutting-edge scientific research such as synthetic biology has brought extraordinary advancements for society, but also terrifying dangers. A global policing strategy for synthetic biology should expand awareness of the potential threats but must not impede scientific discovery.

Essay
Cindy Williams

Instead of hoping that a political miracle will spare the Pentagon from the budget ax, American defense officials need to start preparing for the inevitable. That means bringing personnel costs under control, getting on with strategic planning, and reshaping the forces for today’s missions.

Essay
Melvyn P. Leffler

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the consequences of past U.S. defense cuts were not all bad. In fact, history shows that austerity forces Washington to think strategically, something it rarely does when times are flush.

Essay
Thomas Rid

Forget the hype about cyberwar. The cyber era has been defined by the opposite trend: a computer-enabled reduction of political violence, which hacking diminishes by making it easier to engage in sabotage and espionage, two kinds of aggression that fall short of war.

Essay
Alan Greenspan

The former chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve asks how so many experts, including him, failed to see the 2008 financial crisis approaching. An important part of the answer to that question is a very old idea: Keynesian “animal spirits,” the irrational elements of decisionmaking that have been left out of economic forecasting for too long.

Essay
Charles W. Calomiris and Stephen H. Haber

Conventional wisdom sees banking crises as apolitical, the result of unforeseen and extraordinary circumstances. In reality, the same politics that influence other aspects of society also help explain why some countries, such as the United States, suffer repeated banking crises, while others, such as Canada, avoid them altogether.

Essay
Jose W. Fernandez

Investing in international infrastructure development, a $60 trillion dollar industry, is not only about dollars and cents, it is also a strategic imperative. Yet the United States has failed to become a significant player in the field. American companies need Washington’s help to get into the game.

Essay
Alan B. Sielen

Over the last several decades, human activities have so altered the basic chemistry of the seas that they are now experiencing evolution in reverse: a return to the barren primeval waters of hundreds of millions of years ago.

November/December 2013

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Interview

Interview
Sebastian Thrun

The first head of Google X and co-founder of the online-education startup Udacity spoke with Foreign Affairs about robot learning, online education, and driverless cars.

Reviews & Responses

Review Essay
Max Hastings

Ian Buruma’s history of 1945 captures the moral, social, and political confusions that pervaded every nation after World War II, in which factional rivalries and hatreds overlaid the confrontation between the Allies and the Axis. Yet for all its horrors and disappointments, 1945 was also a time of hope and purpose.

Review Essay
Pankaj Mishra

According to the celebrated British historian Perry Anderson’s new book, India’s democracy is actually a sham. Anderson’s harsh Marxist critique is convincing in many ways, but undercut by his indifference to the distinctive characteristics of India’s politics and economy.

Review Essay
John Pomfret

A new book features China experts' recollections of their first trips to the country. It turns out that Western visitors -- scholars and tourists alike -- still cling to their own personal notions of the “authentic” China.

Review Essay
Enrique Krauze

With sensitivity and balance, Amy Greenberg's new book on the Mexican-American War introduces the general reader to this remote and largely forgotten drama, which established the deeply unequal relationship between Mexico and the United States that persists today.

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