The death of Kim Jong-Il is not only an opportunity to reflect on the manifest crimes he committed against the people of North Korea, but also to consider just how heavily his devious regime now weighs in calculations about international security. The uncertain future of the Hermit Kingdom is a matter of especially grave importance to the five countries—the United States, China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea—that have intermittently engaged with it since 2003 in the Six-Party Talks.
The idea that immigrants, especially those highly educated in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, can help our economy recover from the recession by creating jobs and contributing to our tax base has gained a lot of momentum. Places like Detroit, Dayton, and Cleveland are actively wooing immigrants to help stem population loss, revitalize neighborhoods, and spur entrepreneurship. It’s happening at the federal level, too. A couple weeks ago, my colleagues blogged about a bill passed by the House that would change the way employment visas are allocated that should reduce t
Has there ever been a worse year for the conventional wisdom in handicapping a presidential primary race? Sure, the pundit pack has been grotesquely wrong before, from over-hyping Hillary Clinton’s chances in 2008 to smugly dismissing Howard Dean’s potential to galvanize anti-war Democrats in 2004. But never have the political railbirds so frequently compounded their errors as they reeled from one smug, but erroneous, prediction to another.
This week, Congress took a small step in reforming America’s out-dated immigration system. In H.R.
Kathmandu—After four prime ministers in four years, Nepal might finally be entering a period of stability. On November 1, Nepalese politicians reached a deal on demobilizing nearly 20,000 Maoist fighters who have been in limbo since a 2006 peace agreement ended the ten year insurgency.
The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution By Francis Fukuyama (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 585 pp., $35) Ideas about what it means to be modern are soon dated. Not so long ago theories were in vogue claiming that a “scientific-technical revolution” was under way that would lead to a single type of government spreading throughout the world. Originally promoted by Daniel Bell in the 1950s, the theory of convergence suggested that the Soviet Union would evolve to become like the advanced industrial societies of the West.
Nor was I for Ross Perot, a man who (as of 1992) had made a $3 billion dollar fortune and headed a major hi-tech corporation, actually two. But he was—let’s be frank (and rhyme)—a real crank. Frankly, I can’t remember whether many people took him seriously as a thinking politician. Still, with his money he seemed able to stake a claim on the attentions of the electorate and attracted the support of millions of voters who would not have gone to the polls were their choice limited to either George H.W. Bush or Bill Clinton.
It has a centralized, repressive government for which its citizens do not vote. Local authorities come to people’s houses in the middle of the night to arrest them on bogus charges. Censors control access to information, monitoring the Internet and approving or even writing elementary school textbooks. Corrupt government officials routinely elevate to power the obedient, the well-connected, and the cash-plentiful above the meritorious. Laborers, skilled and unskilled, work breathtakingly long hours.
Somewhat lost amid the circus of the Republican primary has been Mitt Romney's decision to take a hard line against China's trade and currency practices. Tough talk on China has become almost de rigueur for presidential challengers (who typically then take a much softer line in office), but Romney's rhetoric is especially striking coming from the businessman candidate, and Romney's been chided for it both by Jon Huntsman, the former China ambassador, and the Wall Street Journal editorial page.
Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live By Jeff Jarvis (Simon & Schuster, 263 pp., $26.99) In 1975, Malcolm Bradbury published The History Man, a piercing satire of the narcissistic pseudo-intellectualism of modern academia. The novel recounts a year in the life of the young radical sociologist Howard Kirk—“a theoretician of sociability”—who is working on a book called The Defeat of Privacy.