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FOREI GN POLI CY
3
LETTER FROM THE EDITORS
Once upon a time, trains were the future. They were a rst
step toward globalization, linking far-ung locales, allowing
ordinary people to travel great distances, and empowering
businesses to move enormous quantities of cargo. Gorgeous
but practical, always moving forward, their sheer mass exuding
unstoppable power, there was no better symbol of Industrial
Age progress.
The romance eventually faded, of course, as the allure of
rail gave way to the speed of air travel and as the business of
moving information became more exciting than the mundane
work of shipping freight. But Chinas recent, and shockingly
fast, rollout of high-speed trains has revitalized rail, capturing
the imagination of commuters, commentators, and
techno-utopians. In merely a decade,
China has mastered technology that
allows it to whiz passengers across the
country at some 200 miles per hour. Its
trains are slick, comfortable, and futur-
istic, and the tracks on which they
travel were laid so rapidly that a
gridlocked Washington cannot help
but look at Beijing with infrastruc-
tural envy. While America spent its
post-nancial-crisis stimulus repair-
ing bridges and patching potholes,
China invested hundreds of billions
of dollars in recapturing the wonder
of an earlier age and pressing it into
service as an engine of growth.
Thanks to those eorts,
trains have once again become
a metaphor for the future.
But as Tom Zoellner details in
High-Speed Empire (p. 44), Chinese
rail has also become a symbol of the
myriad problems plaguing the coun-
trys meteoric rise to global economic power. The central
governments insistence on laying tracks so quickly forced
contractors to take shortcuts that have already caused one fatal
accident and have called into question the systems structural
integrity. Rail projects have been plagued by corruption so
severe that a top ocial was given a (suspended) death
sentence and the Ministry of Railways was disbanded. Also
worrying is that the debt that nanced the whole rail pro-
grammuch like the debt that has nanced Chinas broader
infrastructure boomis opaquely spread among agencies,
banks, state-owned enterprises, and local governments.
Currently, Chinas rail lines are not
generating enough revenue to service
their loans, and if too many infrastruc-
ture projects turn out to be boondog-
gles, Beijing could nd itself on the
hook for hundreds of billions of dollars
in bad debt.
High-speed rail is a business that, at
least in China, accelerated too fast
for its own good. By contrast, as Zach
Rosenberg reports in The Coming
Revolution in Orbit (p. 70), the space
industrya eld that, despite its
spectacular achievements, has long
crept ahead with glacial caution
rigorously tested new platforms before
taking its next leap forward. With the
injection of smart technology, satellites
have become much smaller. And as
launch costs have plummeted, space
or at least orbital spacehas gone from
being a zone pierced by only the most
powerful nations to a public square
lled with commercial and scientic ventures.
The dizzying pace of innovation can be awe-inspiring, but we
control how high-tech advances are put into place. And in the
end, that is what makes the dierence between a marvel and a
meltdown. The Editors
Caveat User
MARCH/APRI L 2014
4
38
THINK AGAIN
Climate Treaties
By David Shorr
74
IN OTHER WORDS
The Reckoning
After decades of censorship,
Burmas lmmakers
probe their countrys dark past.
By Francis Wade
80
COLUMN
Disconnected
As technological development
shifts into hyperspeed,
governments remain stuck
in neutral.
By David Rothkopf
8 Contributors
10 Letters
15
INBOX
16 Opening Gambit
Zionist Movement
By John B. Judis
24 The Things They Carried
The Election Observer
Photographs and text by Jerey Stern
26 Anthropology of an Idea
Core al Qaeda By Ty McCormick
28 Ideas The Slow Track
to Happiness,
Constitutional Condence,
When No Ones Looking
By Alicia P.Q. Wittmeyer
30 The Optimist Learning Curve
By Charles Kenny
32 Pictured Iranian Mystique
34 Dispatch Puntland Is for Pirates
By Jillian Keenan
CONTENTS
44
High-Speed Empire
Chinese rail is sprawling, modern,
and elegant. Its also convoluted,
corroding, and nancially alarming.
Wanna take a ride?
By Tom Zoellner
52
On Va Tuer les Demons
[We Will Kill the
Demons]
Fear, faith, and the hunt for child
sorcerers in Congo.
By Deni Bchard
60
Does the academy
matter? Do
policymakers listen?
Should you get a Ph.D.?
And where are
all the women?
A conversation about foreign policy
and higher education.
70
The Coming Revolution
in Orbit
How space went from a great
powersonly club to a DIY playground.
By Zach Rosenberg
ON THE COVER: ILLUSTRATION BY TAVIS COBURN FOR FP
FEATURES
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www.roc-taiwan.org/US/
U.S.A. and R.O.C. (Taiwan)
PARTNERING TOGETHER TO PRESERVE ASIAS PEACE
AND PROSPERITY THROUGH THE TAIWAN RELATIONS ACT
The Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), signed into law thirty-ve
years ago by President Jimmy Carter on April 10, 1979, has
stood the test of time. For three-and-a-half decades, this
bipartisan legislation has served as a cornerstone not only
for U.S.-Taiwan relations, but for the entire Western Pacic
region. It has not only promoted regional peace and sta-
bility but has also continued to ourish through the further
strengthening and closeness of U.S.-Taiwan relations.
Simply put, without the TRA neither Taiwan nor current
U.S. strategic and commercial interests in the Asia-Pacic
region would exist in their present form. The TRA achieved
this through its public pledge to help maintain peace, se-
curity, and stability in the Western Pacic and to promote
the foreign policy of the United States by authorizing the
continuation of commercial, cultural, and other relations
between the people of the United States and the people
on Taiwan. The TRA has been a critical mechanism for
maintaining Taiwans economic well-being and security as
well as for preserving key U.S. national interests.
In 1982, just three years after enactment of the
TRA, trans-Pacic trade surpassed trans-Atlan-
tic trade for the rst time. Forty-three percent
of the worlds exports now pass through the
Pacic region as opposed to thirty-four per-
cent in the Atlantic. The Republic of China
(Taiwan) sits astride those sea lanes in the Western Pacic
that are vital to this expanding world trade. Since the end
of the Second World War, the United States has provided
the security umbrella for that freedom of navigation on the
high seas which has made this Pacic commerce possible.
Taiwan has been, as General Douglas MacArthur famous-
ly observed, an unsinkable aircraft carrier dedicated to
open trade and freedom of navigation. The Taiwan Rela-
tions Act stipulates that the United States will provide Tai-
wan with arms of a defensive character. This has ensured
that a condent Taiwan, free of a resort to force or other
forms of coercion, has been able to evolve into a free
market-oriented, democratic society which has served as a
model for other Asian societies.
The United States and Taiwan, as partners, have achieved
all of this by working together. This 35th anniversary year
is a tting occasion to commemorate the Taiwan Relations
Act and its vital role in advancing the under-
standing of the critical importance of U.S.-Tai-
wan relations throughout the United States,
including in Congressional and academic
circles. The TRA is clearly the bedrock of the
warm and enduring relations between two
proud and free peoples!
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Transnational Crime...Intelligence and Counterintelligence...Hard Power: The Uses and Abuses
of Military Force... just some of the courses that Dr. Mark Galeotti teaches at the NYU School
of Continuing and Professional Studies (NYU-SCPS) Center for Global Afairs. His areas of
specialty include organized crime, security afairs, and modern Russia. His depth of knowledge
is based upon years of experience working as a researcher in the British Houses of Parliament
and in the City of London, serving as an advisor to the British Foreign & Commonwealth Of ce,
and collaborating with commercial, law enforcement, and government agenciesfrom the U.S.
Department of State to Interpol.
Through his teaching in the M.S. in Global Afairs, Dr. Galeotti explores organized crime and its
impact on the international order, providing students with a knowledge base that could only be
acquired through years in the eld. It is this caliber of education and this level of expertise that
denes the programs ofered by the Center for Global Afairs, as well as those across NYU-SCPS.
Mark Galeotti
Clinical Professor
Center for Global Afairs
Knowledge Through Practice
Learn More
Attend an Information Session
March 19, 2014
scps.nyu.edu/graduate-events12a
visit: scps.nyu.edu/cga/programs1a
call: 212-998-7100
request info. and/or apply:
scps.nyu.edu/gradinfo12a
M.S. in Global Afairs
Graduate Certicate in Global Energy
Graduate Certicate in Peacebuilding
Graduate Certicate in Transnational Security
MARCH/APRI L 2014
8
CONTRIBUTORS
For TOM ZOELLNER, a truly human story can be found
in the smallest and most static of objects. In his
books Uranium and The Heartless Stone, Zoell-
ner delves into the history of the Atomic Age and
unmasks the global diamond industry. But his latest
reportage involves a subject with more steel and
more motion: Zoellner traveled through eight coun-
tries to research his 2014 book, Train. The railroad
has not only revolutionized the way people travel,
it has also transformed international trade, power
politics, the shape of cities, even the global menu. In
between station-hopping, Zoellner teaches English
at Chapman University. | P. 44 In his recently released book, Empty
Hands, Open Arms, DENI BCHARD nar-
rates one small NGOs eorts to protect
the endangered bonobo population in
the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
While delving into Congos history
for his book, Bchard became interest-
ed in the countrys culture of sorcery
allegations against childrenbelieved
to have aected thousands of young
people in recent years. Bchard
has written for a range of publications
internationally, including the Los An-
geles Times and Outside magazine, and
has published three books. His 2012
memoir recounts growing up with his
father who was a bank robber. | P. 52
In 2006, JILLIAN KEENAN traveled to Muscat to inter-
view Omani girls about Shakespeare. By exploring
Hamlet and Othello, Keenan was able to delve into
topics, such as gender roles and racial dynamics,
that normally would be taboo for young people in
the sultanate to discuss. The project doubled as her
undergraduate thesis and her rst venture into jour-
nalism. Keenan has since written about radioactive
Kazakh sunowers, poisonous sex toys, and New
York Citys commercial-waste industry. Her work
has been featured in theNew York Times, the New
Yorker, the Washington Post, andthe Los Angeles
Review of Books. | P. 34
TAVIS COBURN is used to seeing his work on magazine
covers and music posters, but four years ago, he
scaled up. In 2010, Coburn produced eight massive
murals to line Arsenals new stadium. The murals,
almost four stories high, depict the British football
clubs all-time greats. I want to do more work where
the art becomes part of the environment, says
Coburn. I like the idea of experiential artapplying
two-dimensional work where people can literally
walk through it. Coburns work has been featured
in ESPN the Magazine, Popular Science, and the Los
Angeles Times. | COVER
JOHN B. JUDIS has spent his career parsing the char-
acter of modern U.S. foreign policy through the
lens of Americas past. In his latest book, Genesis:
Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the
Arab/Israeli Conflict, Judis traces the roots of
flawed U.S. policy interventions in Israel to Harry
Trumans White House. In The Folly of Empire,
Judis showed how George W. Bush failed to heed
the lessons that his predecessors, Theodore Roos-
evelt and Woodrow Wilson, had learned from their
attempts to extend U.S. power overseas.Judis is a
senior editor at the New Republic.| P. 16
After working for a year as a freelance
photographer and multimedia producer
in New York City, LAUREN DECICCA was
ready for a change of scenery. In June
2013, DeCicca arrived in Burma. The
country, governed for almost 50 years
by a repressive military dictatorship,
had only recently begun admitting
journalists. DeCicca planned to stay
for three monthsbut she still hasnt
bought a return ticket home. DeCiccas
photographs have been published by
the New York Times, the Wall Street
Journal, the Washington Post, and the
Guardian. | P. 74
OUR NEIGHBORHOOD.
YOUR FUTURE.
GWs Elliott School of International Affairs is located just steps
from some of the most important policymaking institutions in
the world. Our proximity to U.S. and international organizations
puts our scholars in a powerful position to analyze policy prob-
lems as they unfold, and it draws world leaders to our campus
to address some of the most important issues of our time.
Every school of international affairs bridges the theory and
practice of foreign policy. At GWs Elliott School of International
Affairs, we dont need bridges; we have sidewalks.
elliott.gwu.edu
FEDERAL
RESERVE
WHITE
HOUSE
COMMERCE
DEPARTMENT
TREASURY
DEPARTMENT
NATIONAL ACADEMY
OF SCIENCES
OAS
THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY WORLD
BANK
STATE
DEPARTMENT
IMF THE ELLIOTT SCHOOL
OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
LETTERS
MARCH/APRI L 2014
10
left standing, the answer
most decent people would
give to this question is: no.
Unfortunately, reality is
dirtier and messier than that.
Unwelcome as it may be to
assert this, whether the prin-
ciple that Brody has spent half
his life ghting foran end
to impunity for heads of state
who commit crimes against
their own peopleis as gen-
eralizable as he believes it to
be is a very dierent matter.
Imagine for the sake of
argument that when Ronald
Reagan likened Qadda to
Hitler it had been accurate
instead of preposterously far-
fetched. Would supporting or,
indeed, allying oneself with a
bloodthirsty tyrant still have
been utterly unacceptable?
The human rightsist view
insists that the answer is yes.
Yet that is precisely what the
United States and Britain did
when they joined forces with
Stalin in order to defeat Hitler.
And it seems hard to imagine
that even the most rule-
bound human rights activist
would condemn that decision.
If this is correct, then
it leads to what, for a law-
based ideology (and make no
mistake, human rights is an
ideology whether or not its
advocates wish to admit the
fact), is a very unwelcome
conclusion. To wit, in extremis
at least, human rights norms
have to be applied contin-
gently rather than absolutely.
To be clear, in the case of
Habr, my own view is that
the human rights movement
was correct and that his
prosecution is to be welcomed
without reservations. The
question, though, is to what
extent one can generalize
from this. Unless one believes
that the rise of institutions
based on human rights law
represents such a break with
the past that terrible choices
such as the one that caused
Washington and London
to embrace Stalin need no
longer concern us, the future
will confront us with moral
and political dilemmas far
more dicult, challenging,
FOREIGN POLICY welcomes letters to the editor. Readers should address their comments to fp.letters@foreignpolicy.com.
Letters may be edited for length and clarity. For more debate and discussion of our stories, go to FOREIGNPOLICY.com.
The Limits
of Ideology
Michael Bronner has written
an extraordinary work not
just of investigative reporting
but of moral reasoning (Our
Man in Africa, January/
February 2014). Any decent
person must be horried by
Hissne Habrs crimesand
the support he received from
the United Statesand glad
that there is now a very real
prospect that the former
Chadian dictator at long last
will pay for them. Although
African leaders deserve the
lions share of the praise
for being willing, however
belatedly, to hold one of
their own to account, the
measure of justice secured
for Habrs Chadian victims
will to a very large extent be
due to the tenacity, skill, and
commitment of Reed Brody,
counsel and spokesperson
for Human Rights Watch.
To Bronners great credit,
he lets his story speak for
itself. And while it is hard not
to feel that his sympathies are
with Brodys Chadians, Bron-
ner is scrupulously fair to the
U.S. ocialsnotably Charles
Duelfer, later head of the Iraq
Survey Groupwho organized
the Reagan administrations
prodigious military support
for Habr, whom they viewed
as the key to undermining
Muammar al-Qaddas
regime in neighboring Libya.
They did not succeed. But
even if they had, would that
accomplishment have really
justied years of support for
a torturer whose reign, as one
victim says, divided and
collapsed Chadian society?
Could any foreign-policy goal
have justied backing a leader
as reprehensible as Habr?
In our era, when for secular
people, at least, human rights
is viewed as one of the few
unassailable moral systems
and tragic than those Bronner
explains so well in his essay.
DAVID RIEFF
Journalist and Author
New York, N.Y.

Realpolitik
Gone Wrong
At rst blush, Michael
Bronners saga of accused war
criminal Hissne Habrs
career sounds like a textbook
example of heartless realpoli-
tik. Despite ample evidence
that Habr was an unreliable,
brutal warlord, U.S. ocials
showered him with military aid
and other support in a morally
dubious eort to force Libyas
Muammar al-Qadda, an
equally odious leader, from
power. From this perspective,
Habr is one on a long list
of thugs the United States
has backed for supposedly
compelling strategic reasons.
But on closer inspec-
tion, U.S. support for Habr
becomes less a cautionary
tale of ruthless realism than
a depressing departure from
its main precepts. Why?
Because helping Habr didnt
advance U.S. interests at all.
To be sure, a realist view of
world politics emphasizes
its brutal, nasty elements and
acknowledges that leaders
sometimes face awkward
trade-os between moral
principles and strategic
imperatives. For sensible
realists, however, the question
to ask of any foreign-policy
initiative is whether it is likely
to make ones own coun-
try stronger, safer, or more
prosperous. If so, then moral
niceties will sometimes take
a back seat, as they did when
the United States backed the
apartheid regime in South
Africa or when it tilted toward
LETTERS
FOREI GN POLI CY
11
Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War.
But giving Habr all that aid
did nothing to make Americans
safer. It didnt make Ameri-
cans richer either. Nor did it
contribute to a more stable
political environment in Africa.
So why did Washington back
such an odious leader? Partly
because the United States
could without any real risk to
itself, but mostly because Ron-
ald Reagans administration
was obsessed with Qadda and
was overly concerned about in-
ternational terrorism. Then, as
now, an overblown fear of ter-
rorism made U.S. interference
in a distant regional quarrel
seem fully justied, and maybe
even clever. In the years follow-
ing the 9/11 attacks, U.S. policy-
makers have once more proved
their inability to accurately
assess the actual threat posed
by terrorist activities, launch-
ing costly, foolish interventions
in just about every country
where terrorists might be
lurking: Afghanistan, Iraq,
Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan.
There is no question that
Qaddas support for terrorism
and his ambitions in Africa
were foreign-policy prob-
lems. Despite its oil wealth,
however, Libya was a minor
power and Qadda was an
incompetent leader. Libya was
not an existential threat to the
United States or its allies, even
if Qadda did objectionable
things. Instead of treating him
as a minor nuisance, Reagans
desire to make an example
of him led the U.S. government
to embrace anyone willing
to take him onno matter
how bloody their hands.
Even if pressuring Libya was
a good idea, backing Habr
was a bad way to do it. U.S.
aid helped Habr challenge
Libyas military presence in
Chad but would never enable
him to topple Qaddaor even
convince the Libyan leader to
abandon the policies opposed
by the United States. Indeed,
Habr was ousted in 1990,
but Qaddas reign in Libya
lasted another two decades.
It was only in the 1990s, after
the infamous bombing of Pan
Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie,
Scotland, that the United
States and its allies imposed
the sanctions program that
eventually forced Qadda
to renounce terrorism and
dismantle his WMD programs.
From a realist perspective,
therefore, the secret war
in Chad was a sideshow of
minimal strategic importance.
Talleyrands famous quip is
all too applicable: U.S. support
for Habr was worse than
a crime; it was a blunder.
STEPHEN M. WALT
Contributing Editor,
FOREIGN POLICY
Robert and Rene Belfer
Professor of International Aairs
Harvard University
Brookline, Mass.
Misguided
Approach
Aziza Ahmed begins her
article Think Again:
Prostitution with the oldest
slur against women: that
prostitution may be the
worlds oldest profession
(January/February 2014).
Anyone who takes a moment
to think about the develop-
ment of civilization knows
thats not true, but there is a
deeper social meaning to this
repeated insult. It implies
that prostitution is inevitable,
that women have always been
prostitutes, and, it follows,
that they always will be. This
misogynous belief traps us
into not being able to see the
possibility of freedom and
equality for women and girls.
Ahmed supports decrimi-
nalization of prostitution.
I live in Rhode Island, where
we had decriminalized in-
door prostitution for almost
Kyleanne Hunter is a former ofcer in the United States Marine Corps, serving as an AH-1W Super Cobra attack
pilot. Now shes a Si Fellow at the Josef Korbel Schools Si Chou-Kang Center for International Security &
Diplomacy. As such shes working alongside world renowned faculty doing relevant research on todays most
pressing global issues.
To learn more about our master of arts programs and our two-year full tuition scholarship, the Si Fellowship, call
303.871.2544 or email korbeladm@du.edu.
www.du.edu/korbel/info
LETTERS
FOREI GN POLI CY
13
30 years. There were no crim-
inal penalties, and there were
no regulations either. In this
environment, prostitution
and sex tracking ourished.
With no rule of law, police
were handicapped in inves-
tigating sex tracking in the
rapidly growing sex industry.
Rhode Island nally criminal-
ized all prostitution in 2009.
Ahmed is critical of the
work of many nongovern-
mental organizations that
are dedicated to ending
the sexual exploitation of
women and children. One
of the NGOs she praises is
SANGRAM, a so-called sex
workers collective in India.
This is a telling choice for her
to hold out as an example.
SANGRAMs view is that
prostitution is a way of life
like any other. Members
of SANGRAM are implicated
by their own writings in the
sex tracking of girls. In a
document titled Of Veshyas,
Vamps, Whores and Wom-
en, SANGRAM describes
the process of enslaving
girls. We believe that when
involuntary initiation into
prostitution occurs, a process
of socialization within the
institution of prostitution
exists, whereby the involun-
tary nature of the business
changes increasingly to one
of active acceptance, not
necessarily with resignation.
This is not a coercive process.
In 2005, SANGRAMs fund-
ing from the U.S. Agency for
International Development
was terminated because
the NGOs members report-
edly obstructed the rescue
of minors from brothels.
In contrast to the claims
that Ahmed makes that
decriminalization of pros-
titution creates a better
environment for women, a
recent empirical analysis of
150 countries found that, on
average, in countries where
prostitution is legal there are
higher rates of tracking.
Feminist abolitionists
oppose prostitution because
it is harmful to the health
and emotional well-being
of women and girls. Many
survivors of prostitution
and sex tracking have
testied to how degrading
and traumatizing it is.
The prostitution debates
are not about whether some
women consent. They are
debates about equality and
the rights of women and girls.
The feminist abolitionists
are ghting for a world where
women and girls are free
of prostitution in the same
way they are now, in most
countries, legally entitled
to be free of battering and
sexual assault. They reject
that prostitution is a way
of life like any other. They
reject a world where girls
eventually become socialized
to accept sexual servitude.
Ahmeds article endors-
ing prostitution as work for
women is a statement against
their freedom and equality.
DONNA M. HUGHES
Professor and Carlson
Endowed Chair
Gender and Womens Studies
University of Rhode Island
Kingston, R.I.
Aziza Ahmed replies:
Like Donna Hughes, I want a world
without sexual exploitation. But
I disagree with Hughes about
how to reach that goal. Rather
than abolish prostitution, I argue
that we should make sex work
safer while eliminating the sex
industrys most exploitative
aspects, including trafcking.
The root of our disagreement is
that Hughes conates sex work
and trafcking, and I do not. For
Hughes, organizations supporting
sex workers condone trafcking
and thus should be shut down.
But when these organizations
which do not in fact support
trafckingclose or lose funding,
sex workers are left without
critical services, including HIV/
AIDS prevention and treatment.
SANGRAM does not support child
prostitution as Hughes asserts.
This is clearly articulated in the
document Hughes cites: We
believe that child prostitution
is akin to child sexual abuse,
molestation, and child labour.
And Hughess assertion that
SANGRAM lost U.S. funding because
it obstructed the rescue of minors
from brothels has been widely
disputed: SANGRAM gave the money
up when it would not sign the
infamous anti-prostitution oath.
Hughes also claims that
trafcking increases when sex
work is decriminalized. But this
fails to consider the challenges
of gathering accurate data
in the sex industry. In reality,
decriminalization can lead to
more people disclosing their
involvement in sex workwhich,
to those like Hughes who conate
sex work and trafcking, may
simply read as greater numbers
of people being exploited.
Meanwhile, the case of Rhode
Island points to the need for the
labor paradigm I discuss in my
article. But rather than create
a regulatory framework that
would empower sex workers
and prevent exploitation, Rhode
Island has enacted criminal
laws, including ones that enable
the arrest of sex workers.
We can all agree that exploitation
must stop. But serious questions
remain about abolitionists
approach to their work. Indeed,
how credible is a strategy that
claims to save women when it
empowers state institutions that
persecute, prosecute, and deny
assistance to those same women?
Corrections to
January/February
2014 Issue

The Anthropology of an Idea
article Lethal Autonomy
incorrectly stated the year
in which the U.S. Air Force
used laser-guided weapons
to destroy the Thanh Hoa
Bridge in North Vietnam.
The bridge was destroyed
in 1972, not 1973.
The article Marx Is Back
incorrectly stated the subtitle
of Charles Kennys book The
Upside of Down. The subtitle
is Why the Rise of the Rest
Is Good for the West.
The article Our Man in
Africa incorrectly stated
that Bandjim Bandoum met
with Reed Brody and other
members of the legal team
for one 15-hour session.
They actually met over
two sessions that totaled
15 hours. Also, the article
misstated the month in which
Brody showed up outside
the Piscine. He showed up in
May 2001, not April 2001.
The article Think Again:
Prostitution incorrectly
stated the date of the rally
by sex workers in Cambodia
who chanted, Save us from
saviors. The rally was in
June 2008, not June 2013.
FEMINIST
ABOLITIONISTS
OPPOSE
PROSTITUTION
BECAUSE IT IS
HARMFUL TO
THE HEALTH AND
EMOTIONAL
WELLBEING OF
WOMEN AND GIRLS.
The Lionel Gelber Prize
2014 Fi n a l i s t s
'THE WORLD`S MOST IMPORTANT PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION
The Economist
Named for the
Canadian scholar
and diplomat Lionel
Gelber, the Prize
is awarded annually
for the best book
in English on
international affairs.
The Lionel Gelber Prize is presented
annually by The Lionel Gelber Foundation,
in partnership with the Munk School of
Global Affairs at the University of Toronto
and Foreign Policy magazine.
www.utoronto.ca/munk/gelber/
The Blood Telegram:
Nixon, Kissinger, and a
Forgotten Genocide
GARY J. BASS
Published by Alfred A. Knopf
The Blood Telegram tells a riveting tale that is
set against the deeply responsible, insightful stance
of America's diplomats on the ground in Dacca,
adrift in the bitter flotsam of the White House,
helpless witnesses to the tragic farce of U.S. policy
unfolding around them.
Command and Control:
Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus
Accident, and the Illusion of Safety
ERIC SCHLOSSER
Published by The Penguin Press
With novelistic detail, Eric Schlosser lifts the
curtain on hair-raising circumstances of mortal
risk and bureaucratic dysfunction, painting a
stark portrait of a near-miss for humanity at the
height of the nuclear age.
Europe:
The Struggle for Supremacy,
from 1453 to the Present
BRENDAN SIMMS
Published by Basic Books
In this magisterial survey of European
history, Simms traces the recurring elements
in Europe's task to find stability in the face
of geography, character and power.
THE LIONEL GELBER
FOUNDATION
The Battle of Bretton Woods:
John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White,
and the Making of a New World Order
BENN STEIL
Published by Princeton University Press
The conference at Bretton Woods created the
financial architecture of the world after 1945,
wrenching the financial centre of the world from
London to Washington and New York. A compelling
story of power-shifting, profound, unequal and
inevitable at a decisive moment in history.
Those Angry Days:
Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America`s
Fight Over World War II, 1939 ~ 1941
LYNNE OLSON
Published by Random House
Rarely has the vitality of American democracy
been so effectively portrayed as in the 27 months
between Hitler's invasion of Poland and Japan's
attack on Pearl Harbor.
FOREI GN POLI CY
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INBOX
The Zionist Movement
and AIPACs Evolution
By John B. Judis P. 16
Learning Curve: Poor
Parents, Private Schools
By Charles Kenny P. 30
IDEAS
THE SLOW TRACK
TO HAPPINESS
28
DISPATCH
PUNTLAND IS
FOR PIRATES
34
THE THINGS THEY CARRIED
THE ELECTION
OBSERVER
24
ANTHROPOLOGY
OF AN IDEA
AL QAEDA CORE
26
Iranian
Mystique
P. 32
MARCH/APRI L 2014
16
Zionist Movement
How AIPAC is severing its historical roots
and weakening its inuence.
By John B. Judis
Illustration by Topos Graphics
INBOX OPENING GAMBIT
The American Israel Public Aairs Committee (AIPAC), a lobby once
dubbed an 800-pound gorilla for its ability to frighten senators and
representatives into supporting its eorts on behalf of Israel, recently
seems to have lost a bit of heft.
Beginning last fall, it strongly backed legislation that, if passed, could
have derailed ongoing negotiations to restrain Irans nuclear program. That
bill obligated President Barack Obama to seek a deal requiring Iran to
dismantle all its nuclear facilities, while also forcing him to certify that Iran
was neither supporting terrorism nor testing ballistic missilesand it
FOREI GN POLI CY
17
would have imposed new sanctions if those
conditions were not met. (An interim deal
reached last November limited Irans
enrichment activities but did not require
the closure of any facilities.) The Obama
administration opposed the legislation, but
spurred by AIPACs eorts, the bill garnered
59 co-sponsors in the Senateone shy of
ensuring that it could overcome a libuster.
And then the bill stalled. In his State of
the Union address, President Obama was
blunt: Let me be clear: If this Congress
sends me a new sanctions bill now that
threatens to derail these talks, I will veto
it. The following week, Democratic
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he
would not bring the bill to the oor. Sen.
Robert Menendez, chairman of the
Foreign Relations Committee and one of
the bills original sponsors, gave a speech
on the Senate oor, acknowledging the
need to give diplomacy a chance. And
AIPAC itself, while maintaining that it still
supported the bills thrust, backed o,
saying the time was not right for Congress
to take up the legislation. It was a
humiliating public retreat for one of
Washingtons most powerful lobbies.
The defeat has been portrayed largely
as a failure of tacticsa question of who
played the Washington game better? In
the Hungton Post, Trita Parsi, an Iran
expert who supports the nuclear talks,
attributed AIPACs defeat to the careful
groundwork and intense mobilization
practiced by a pro-diplomacy coalition
of nonprots. In the Washington
Post, Jennifer Rubin, a proponent of the
bill, charged that AIPAC had been almost
entirely ineective on the issue it
supposedly cares most about. It failed
to persuade Reid to move the bill.
Undoubtedly, Beltway maneuvering
played some role in consigning the
sanctions bill to purgatory, but its defeat
also revealed two growing weaknesses in
AIPAC that run deeper than shortcomings
in its ground game.
The rst concerns AIPACs political base.
For its rst 30 years, AIPACS directors were
well-known liberal Jewish Democrats; its
natural base was among Jewish Democrats;
and in Congress, it relied on Democrats for
support. Today, AIPACs director is a
Republican; Jewish Democrats are
increasingly skeptical of Israels conserva-
tive government; and in the Senate debate
on Iran sanctions, AIPAC had to rely on
Republicans who may have backed the bill
as much out of opposition to the Obama
administration as out of support for AIPAC
and Israels government.
The second weakness, which is related
to the rst, has to do with AIPACs funda-
mental orientation as a lobby for Israel
and, almost invariably, for ocial Israeli
policy. In the past, AIPAC could convincing-
ly maintain to Jews, Democrats, and
ocial Washington that Americas interests
and Israels interests, as articulated by their
governments, were similar if not identical.
That fundamental conuence of interests
was called into question during the debate
over the sanctions billby senators who
had been among AIPACs most dependable
allies and by commentators in the media.
These frailties have nothing to do with
tactics and everything to do with the fact
that the very conditions that had made the
organization such a success no longer
obtaina trend that began well before the
sanctions debate.
UNTIL THE END OF WORLD WAR II, THE AMERICAN
Zionist movement existed largely to raise
funds for Jews in Europe and Palestine,
which was controlled by the United
Kingdom. (An American Zionist, the joke
went, was someone who gave someone else
$5 to send a European Jew to Palestine.)
American Jews couldnt inuence what
happened in Palestine through the U.S.
government because Washington deferred
to the British. But that changed after the
war, when London, crippled with debt,
sought American help in facing down an
armed Jewish rebellion in the territory.
American Jews now had an opportunity
to aect events in Palestine, but they feared
that pressuring political candidates and
lobbying Congress and the White House
for a Jewish state might arouse long-stand-
ing American suspicions about foreign
inuence and dual loyalty. Asking voters
to vote for Jewish interests was considered
taboo. Rabbi Stephen Wise, one of the
Zionist movements leaders, declared atly
in 1937 during the New York mayoral
election, Jews will not vote as Jews.
But in 1943, Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver and
Emanuel Neumann joined Wise in leading
the American Zionist Emergency Council
(AZEC), a coalition of groups favoring a
Jewish state. Silver and Neumann wanted
to turn the organization into a traditional
lobby that would support or oppose
candidates based entirely on their stand on
a Jewish state, even if that meant defeating
a liberal Democrat whom Jews would
ordinarily favor. Jews, who were generally
liberal on social and economic issues, had
begun voting Democratic en masse in 1928,
and in the 1940 and 1944 elections, they
had voted overwhelmingly (90 percent or
above) for Franklin Roosevelt. But Zionists,
Silver wrote, needed to pin our hopes
on the pressure of ve million Jews in a
critical election year.
When Neumann explained this
approach to Hadassah, the main Zionist
womens organization, one of its ocials
said that the strategy puts us in the same
class as the communists, whom we all
despise, a reference to American commu-
nists who advised voters to pick candidates
based solely on what mattered to the Soviet
Union. But Silver and Neumann prevailed;
the organization ran ads and billboards
threatening Democratic as well as
Republican candidates. The strategy
incurred President Harry Trumans wrath,
and also inuenced his support for a
Jewish state, but it failed to drive a wedge
between AZEC and Jewish voters because
almost all the Democrats up for election
backed the creation of a Jewish state.
The American Zionist movement shrunk
after Israel won its independence in May
1948. It also suered a brief identity crisis.
Neumann, who had led the charge for
Israels recognition, now worried about
allegations of dual loyalty. He proposed
that American Jews delegate lobbying for
the new state to its ministers and
ambassadors. [I]t should be obvious, he
declared, that the Jews of the United
States should not be responsible for the
acts and policies of a state which will
necessarily be regarded and referred to as a
foreign power. But his fellow Zionists
In the past, AIPAC
could convincingly
maintain to Jews,
Democrats, and
ofcial Washington
that Americas
interests and
Israels interests,
as articulated by
their governments,
were similar
if not identical.
MARCH/APRI L 2014
18
didnt share his reservations. They wanted
a hand in the new states future. The
American Zionist Emergency Council
dropped the Emergency from its
namea nod to having accomplished its
primary objectiveand AZC turned from
lobbying for Israels creation to lobbying on
its behalf.
Israel was glad to have the help. It
wanted someone to lobby Capitol Hill for
U.S. aid, but at a time when the Red Scare
had raised the specter of foreign interfer-
ence, both the Israelis and American
Zionists were wary of using a lobbyist who
would have to register with the Justice
Department as a foreign agent (and
therefore report all expenditures and label
all communications as coming from a
foreign power). So when, at the recommen-
dation of Abba Eban, Israels ambassador
to the United Nations, AZC hired Isaiah
Kenen, Ebans former public relations
ocer, to lobby, it didnt have him register,
even though his salary was paid partly by
the Israeli government.
That did not sit well with many in
Washington. In 1962, Sen. William
Fulbright launched an investigation, and
the Justice Department ordered AZC and
Kenen to register as foreign agents. In
response, Kenen split o from AZC and
reincorporated in January 1963 as the
American Israel Public Aairs Committee.
AIPAC claimed to receive no funds from the
Israeli governmentand there is no
evidence to the contrary. But though it was
free of direct control from Israel, it
continued the practice, begun with AZEC,
of lobbying for what it believed to be in
Israels interests. As a rule, though not
always, this coincided with Israeli
government policy.
A few Senate and House members
continued to question whether AIPAC was
an agent of a foreign government, but the
charge didnt stick. There were several
reasons why. First, the United States saw
Israel as an important ally in the Cold War.
In 1970, Israel helped the United States by
threatening to intervene in Jordan to
quash a Palestinian revolt against King
Hussein. After the Iranian revolution in
1979, Israel became Americas major
military ally in the Middle East against the
Soviet Union. In 1981, Ronald Reagans
administration signed a strategic
cooperation agreement with Israel. Thus,
when AIPAC and other lobbying groups
promoted policies that favored Israel, they
could convincingly argue that those
policies also beneted the United States.
Second, Israel occupied a special place
in Americas moral imagination. It was a
refuge from Europes violent anti-Semi-
tism, which had culminated in the
Holocaust, and it was surrounded by
hostile Arab nations and terrorist groups
committed to its destruction. Israels
success in the 1967 Six-Day War boosted
its reputation as a David amid Goliaths,
while its near defeat in the 1973 war and
the repeated terrorist assaults against it,
highlighted by the massacre at the 1972
Munich Olympics, showed its continuing
vulnerability. In the late 1970s, popular
support for Israel was further enhanced
by renewed interest in the Holocaust, as
evidenced in President Jimmy Carters
support for a memorial museum in
Washington and the release of a spate of
books, movies, and television shows,
including the hit 1978 miniseries
Holocaust.
Third, contra the fears of some early
Zionists, AIPAC didnt have to recom-
mend that Jews vote for conservative
Republicans whom they might otherwise
have opposed. AIPAC tilted Democratic
and liberal, like its constituents. Kenen
had been a labor leader, and he was
succeeded by two prominent Democrats,
Morris Amitay and Thomas Dine, who
had been an aide to Sen. Edward
Kennedy. AIPAC was focused on lobbying
Congress, which was responsible for the
foreign aid and military budgets, and its
prime allies were Democrats, who
controlled the House of Representatives
from 1963 to 1994 and the Senate for all
but six of those years. AIPAC did back
some Republicans, but they were usually
the few remaining GOP liberals, like
Jacob Javits and Cliord Case, whom
Jews would have supported anyway.
Under Kenen, AIPAC had been a
one-man operation, but under Amitay
and Dine, it took o. It went from having
8,000 to 55,000 members, which gave it a
base of wealthy Jewish donors who could
be called upon to back or oppose
candidates, and it created an impressive
communications, research, and lobbying
operation. The best indication of AIPACs
power was its success in winning money
and arms for Israel. From 1974 until the
Iraq war, Israel was the largest recipient
of U.S. foreign aid. (The 1978 Camp David
Accords, often cited as the reason for
Washingtons substantial aid to Israel,
actually produced only a one-year bump
in the amount provided.) If House or
Senate members deed AIPAC by
criticizing aid budgets or supporting
weapons programs for Israels adversar-
ies, AIPAC summoned its supporters to
fund opposing candidates.
Even its defeats managed to showcase
the organizations growing power. In 1981,
it fought Reagans proposed sale of
AWACS reconnaissance planes to Saudi
Arabia, an important ally of the United
States. AIPAC got 36 of 46 Senate
Democrats to oppose the sale, but its
lobbying eort could not sway enough
Republicans. Saudi Arabia got its planes,
but AIPAC exacted retribution. In 1984, it
helped Democrat Paul Simon oust
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INBOX OPENING GAMBIT
The American Zionist Emergency Council held a protest in July 1946 in Madison Square Park, New York, to denounce
British policy in Palestine.
FOREI GN POLI CY
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Republican Sen. Charles Percy, the
chairman of the Foreign Relations
Committee, whose support had helped
bring the sale to the Senate oor. Dine
boasted, All the Jews in America, from
coast to coast, gathered to oust Percy.
And American politicians got the
message.
DURING THE 1980S, EVEN WHILE DINE WAS
director and courting Democrats in
Congress, AIPAC began slowly moving to
the political right. That shift was partly
the result of an eort to align the organi-
zation better with the Reagan administra-
tion, but it also reected the growing
strength in Israel of the conservative
Likud party. The pro-business Likud is
closer politically to the GOP; and Republi-
cans more easily understood its hawkish
push for a Greater Israel that included
the West Bank. Since ousting the Labor
Party in 1977, it has dominated Israeli
politics for all but 10 of the last 37 years.
In 1982, AIPACs board of directors,
which consisted of major nancial
contributors to the organization and its
favored candidates, for the rst time chose
a Republican, Robert Asher, as president.
In 1993, the board red Dine and soon
elevated Howard Kohr, a Republican
operative, to become its executive
director. Over these years, the only time
AIPAC deviated from Israeli government
policywhen it was lukewarm over the
1993 Oslo Accords that Labor Prime
Minister Yitzhak Rabin had signed
showed its increasing hawkishness.
In moving rightward, AIPAC reached
the apotheosis of its power and inuence
during President George W. Bushs rst
term. In reaction to the 9/11 attacks, Bush
and the Republican Party identied Israel
as a prime ally in the war on terrorism.
Republicans and conservative evangeli-
cal Protestants (alarmed by the perceived
Islamist threat) ocked to Israels banner.
While retaining its Democratic support,
AIPAC increasingly looked rightward for
support.
AIPAC is not a political action commit-
tee (PAC). It exercises its inuence
primarily through its directors contribu-
tions and through advising its members
about which candidates to supportei-
ther through direct contributions or
through giving to local pro-Israel PACs.
There is no public record of where all the
money goes, but one indication of who
gets AIPACs support is contributions
made by these local PACs. From 2007 to
2012, three of the ve U.S. senators and,
during 2011-2012, three of the ve
representatives who received the most
funding from these pro-Israel PACs were
Republicans. They included Senate
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House
leaders Eric Cantor and John Boehner,
and Sen. Mark Kirk, an original co-spon-
sor of the Iran sanctions bill.
Sometime during Bushs second term,
however, as AIPAC was continuing its
movement rightward, it began almost
imperceptibly, and then very visibly, to
lose inuence. One key factor was a
change in the global security environ-
ment, which became less conducive to a
simple identication of Americas
interests with Israels. By 2007, Pentagon
ocials, bogged down with ghting in
Iraq and Afghanistan, were already
expressing skepticism about the idea of a
global war on terrorism. There were still
terrorist and radical Islamist movements
Our degree will take you places
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Explore our masters and
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the dynamics of trade, policy,
and development.
Visit irps.ucsd.edu
School of International Relations
and Pacifc Studies
MARCH/APRI L 2014
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in the Middle East, but they had become
primarily a threat to stability in particu-
lar countries. Israels continuing conict
with the Palestinians, once considered
part of the ght against radical Islamic
terrorism, was increasingly seen as a
catalyst for it, as well as a source of broader
regional instability and anti-Americanism.
When he was heading operations in
Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus said out
loud what many U.S. foreign policy
ocials had come to believe. He warned
that the Israeli-Palestinian conict
foments anti-American sentiment, due to
a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel.
Arab anger over the Palestinian question
limits the strength and depth of U.S.
partnerships with governments and
peoples and weakens the legitimacy of
moderate regimes in the Arab world.
Meanwhile, al Qaeda and other militant
groups exploit that anger to mobilize
support.
Simultaneously, American Jews
became more supportive of the Israeli-Pal-
estinian peace process. During the Reagan
era, Jewish Democrats had been willing to
overlook their discomfort with Israeli
expansion into the Gaza Strip, the West
Bank, and the Golan Heights because they
were concerned about Israels ability to
defend itself against its enemies. But
during Rabins pursuit of the Oslo
Accords, they had glimpsed the possibility
of a peaceful resolution to the long-stand-
ing conict. During the rst years of
Bushs war on terrorism and of the
Palestinians Second Intifada, they had
again become preoccupied with Israels
security, but as the fear of al Qaeda eased
and as the Palestinians elected a moderate
president, they looked to Israel to resume
negotiations with the Palestinians. And
when Obama made the peace process one
of his top rst-term priorities, only to
encounter resistance from newly sworn-in
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanya-
huand from AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation
League, and other members of the
pro-Israel lobbyJewish Democrats
quickly became disillusioned with Israels
government and its supporters in
Washington.
The founding of J Street, an organiza-
tion set up by Jewish Democrats to
advocate a two-state solution, was one
result of that disillusionment. And unlike
earlier Jewish groups that have tried but
failed to successfully challenge AIPAC, J
Street has taken hold and grown. Since
2008, its budget has gone from $1.5
million to about $7 million. It has a sta of
50, an online network of 180,000, with 46
local groups, and a powerful student
organization with some 55 chapters. And,
unlike AIPAC, its views of Netanyahu and
negotiations reect those of most Jewish
Democrats. In a recent Pew Research
Center poll, only 32 percent of Jewish
Democrats thought the Israeli govern-
ment was making a sincere eort to bring
about a peace settlement, and 56 percent
believed West Bank settlements hurt
Israeli security.
The rift between Democrats and AIPAC
deepened when the Obama administra-
tion began talks with Iran intended to
prevent it from building nuclear weapons
in exchange for sanctions relief. Last fall,
the United States and its negotiating
partners reached an interim deal with
Tehran that slows its uranium enrichment
and allows more stringent monitoring of
Irans nuclear facilities while the parties
hammer out a long-term accord. But
Netanyahu rejected the interim agree-
ment because it permits Iran to retain
civilian nuclear facilities that produce
ssile material, which could conceivably
be further enriched for weapons use. And
AIPAC began promoting legislation that
echoed Netanyahus demand that
sanctions not be removed unless Iran
dismantled all its nuclear-related
facilities. In the same language that AIPAC
used in a policy brief, the bill introduced
INBOX OPENING GAMBIT
Attendees arrive at the American Israel Public Afairs Committee annual policy conference in Washington on March 3, 2013.
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AMERICAS
CHOICE.
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MARCH/APRI L 2014
22
INBOX OPENING GAMBIT
by Menendez and Kirk said that America
should stand with Israel if it decided to
attack Iran.
The clash over the bill further alienated
Jewish Democrats and dramatized
AIPACs growing dependence on Republi-
cans. In the Senate, 43 of 45 Republicans
backed the Iran sanctions bill, but only 16
of 55 members of the Democratic caucus
supported it. Thats almost the mirror
image of Senate support for the 1981
AWACS bill. Powerful Jewish senators Carl
Levin and Dianne Feinstein, who chair
the Armed Services and Intelligence
committees, respectively, came out
against the bill, as did the Democrats
2016 presidential front-runner, Hillary
Clinton. While I recognize and share
Israels concern [about Iran], Feinstein
commented, we cannot let Israel
determine when and where the United
States goes to war. That was a rebuke not
only of Netanyahu, but also of AIPAC. J
Street opposed the bill, and Rabbi Jack
Moline, the new head of the National
Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC),
directly accused AIPAC of essentially
threatening people that if they dont vote
a particular way, that somehow that
makes them anti-Israel or means the
abandonment of the Jewish community.
The NJDC has rarely, if ever, taken public
issue with AIPAC in this manner.
Not long ago, AIPAC was considered
nearly untouchable, and the suggestion
that U.S. security interests might conict
with Israeli interests was a subject that
could provoke heated, even vitriolic
responses. In 2007, scholars Stephen Walt
and John Mearsheimer argued in The
Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy that
AIPAC and other pro-Israel lobbyists
successfully pressured politicians to back
an uncritical and uncompromising
relationship with Israel. Their views,
rst published in a 2006 article, were
denounced as anti-Semitic in the
Washington Post, the New Republic, and
other mainstream publications. When
former AIPAC staer M.J. Rosenberg
described members of the pro-Israel
lobby as Israel rsters in a 2011 column
that he wrote for Media Matters, a liberal
nonprot, he too was denounced as
anti-Semiticand Media Matters stopped
running his column.
But as AIPAC has explicitly sided with
Netanyahu over Obama, prominent
liberal-leaning commentators and policy
experts have begun to criticize the
organization more freely. As columnist
Thomas Friedman wrote in the New York
Times last fall:
[N]ever have I seen more lawmakers
Democrats and Republicansmore
willing to take Israels side against
their own presidents. Im certain this
comes less from any careful consider-
ation of the facts and more from a
growing tendency by many American
lawmakers to do whatever the Israel
lobby asks them to do in order to
garner Jewish votes and campaign
donations.
On The Daily Show, Jon Stewart
ridiculed the Democrats who back further
Iran sanctions as senators from the great
state of Israel. He quipped, Wait a
minute. Thats a whole other country
entirely. Why do we have to listen to them?
MSNBC host Chris Hayes, after showing a
clip of Netanyahu declaring the interim
agreement with Iran a historic mistake,
asked: Why the heck are 16 Senate
Democrats co-sponsoring this piece of
legislation? The only plausible answer is
that these Democrats either genuinely
want military escalation with Iran or they
are afraid of the extremely powerful and
inuential American Israel Political Action
[sic] Committee. And writing in Haaretz,
commentator Peter Beinart contrasted
American Jewrys support for Obamas
initiativeby almost 2-to-1, in an Ameri-
can Jewish Committee pollwith the
opposition from the leaders of AIPAC and
similar groups. These leaders, he wrote,
are more responsive than other American
Jews to the concerns of Benjamin
Netanyahu, who clearly hates Obamas
nuclear diplomacy.
Not only is AIPAC coming in for more
criticism than in the past, but its coming in
for more criticism from the very wing of
American politics that, once upon a time,
formed its natural base of support. AIPAC
knows that and is desperate to do some-
thing about it. On Feb. 5, as support for the
sanctions bill was eroding still further
among Democratsthree of the 16
co-sponsoring Democrats had already
announced they no longer would urge a
vote on itAIPAC posted a help-wanted ad
on JewishJobs.com for a national
progressives outreach constituency
director who would promote pro-Israel
advocacy among progressive political
leaders and activists.
However, it may take more than a skillful
coordinator who can develop and maintain
relationships to bolster AIPACs standing
among progressives. To do that, AIPAC
would have to be willing to adopt positions
that clash sharply with those of Israels
conservative governmentwhether on the
peace process or negotiations with Iran. It
would also have to be willing to forgo
supporting Republican politicians like
Cantor and McConnell, who, while favoring
aid to Israel, are anathema to liberal voters.
By backing these conservatives, AIPAC has
conrmed the qualms that Wise and
ocials from Hadassah expressed some 70
years ago. Its doubtful, however, that AIPAC
is ready to break with its current strategy.
The coming year will be telling.
Although midway through his rst term
Obama had backed o his initial push for
peace with the Palestinians, he and his new
secretary of state, John Kerry, have picked
it up once again. AIPAC may soon be forced
to decide whether to back a proposal for
peace that Netanyahu resists. Similarly, the
Iran negotiations may also result in a
long-term agreement that could promise
broad sanctions relief. That step could
require congressional approval, at which
point AIPAC could exploit Republican
opposition to Obama in an eort to block
the deals implementation. AIPAC might
well succeedand the Israeli government
would likely be pleased. But severing
AIPACs remaining ties to liberals and
Democrats could ultimately prove fatal,
even to an 800-pound gorilla.
John B. Judis is a senior editor at the New
Republic and the author of Genesis:
Truman, American Jews, and the Origins
of the Arab/Israeli Conict, from which
parts of this article were adapted.
Not only is AIPAC
coming in for more
criticism than in the
past, but its coming
in for more criticism
from the very wing
of American politics
that, once upon a time,
formed its natural
base of support.
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me to gain a unique insight from
some of the most important players in
international relations.

~ DaniIo Zimbres, Class of 2012


Brazilian Vice-Consul in
Frankfurt am Main
MARCH/APRI L 2014
24
THE ELECTION
OBSERVER
INTERVIEW AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY JEFFREY STERN
The stakes of Afghanistans upcoming national elections,
scheduled for April 5, could not be much higher. The vote marks
the rst presidential race in which Hamid Karzai, who has led
the country since the Talibans ouster in 2001, is not eligible to
participate. Whats more, the U.S.-led NATO combat mission in
Afghanistan is set to end in December, meaning that the central
government, which has long wrestled with issues of stability and
control, will face the countrys mounting challenges without the
degree of support it has enjoyed for over a decade. Its a very
critical time in the history of Afghanistan, says Marzia Faraz, the
women outreach ofcer at the Free and Fair Election Forum of
Afghanistan (FEFA).
Established in 2004, FEFA is an independent NGO that observes
elections and works to ensure their transparency. Today, FEFA is gearing
up for its most complex mission to date. During the April election, it
will deploy 10,000 observers to 399 voting districts to document
intimidation, electioneering, and other polling irregularities. If recent
history is any indicator, FEFA has its work cut out for it: Afghanistans
last four national votes were marred by endemic bribery, intimidation,
and violence. Some FEFA observers were even threatened at the polls.
People stand there campaigning for a particular person, Faraz
says. They have guns. Theyre very scary-looking.
For Faraz, however, the hard work begins well before the polls
open. In the months leading up to this election, Faraz has been
promoting womens participation by recruiting female candidates
and organizing voter-registration drives. Shes also helping to
train FEFAs legion of observers. On election day, Faraz will spend
18 hours elding observers reports, sent via cell phone using a
special text-message code. Shell forward complaints to the
Ministry of Interior Afairs, and if the ministry doesnt dispatch
police to trouble spots quickly enough for her liking, shell appeal
to the public. If there is a problem and they dont deal with the
guy, we bring the issue to the media, Faraz explains. It works.
Faraz invited FOREIGN POLICY to FEFAs compound in western Kabul
in January, where she showed us what she carries on the job and
what a typical poll observer never leaves home without.
This article was produced with the support of the Pulitzer Center on
Crisis Reporting.
INBOX THE THINGS THEY CARRIED
FEFA badge
We all carry
badges to show
that were working
with FEFA. Were
not allowed near
the polling center
without it.
Tory Burch
designer purse
I got the bag from
one of my friends
when I graduated
from UNC, Chapel Hill.
Its one of my favorite
American brands.
FOREI GN POLI CY
25
Security guidelines
This has phone
numbers for the
Ministry of Interior
Afairs and police
stations. It outlines
what to do and who to
call in case of threats
and intimidation. But,
sometimes, it is the
policemen who are
the ones intimidating
people.
Phone credit scratch card
We give all our poll observers
$25 worth of credit on
election day so that they can
report their checklist
responses (see below).
Sometimes at the busy polling
centers, they still run out.
Book
Right now Im reading
Monitoring Election
Campaign Finance.
I dont usually read
for pleasure. I read to
get information.
Mobile phones
Observers usually
carry two phones on
different networks.
Lets say they go to
an area where they
dont get a signal
from one carrier
they may get a signal
from the other.
Notebook
We tell all our
observers to bring
a notebook to the
polls to document
serious incidents that
are not included on
the incident form
(see second from
bottom left). Lets say
an observer is
threatenedthey can
write down the time,
location, and a
description of the
person threatening
them.
Canon camera
Cameras are not only
used by observers to
photograph
irregularities, but by
supervisors who visit
the polling stations to
document whether our
observers are present.
Polling station
checklist
Observers answer a
series of questions
to ensure there are no
irregularities. For
example, Are
campaign materials
within one hundred
meters of a polling
center?
Incident
reporting form
The form includes
things like X polling
center was opened late
and closed early, or
low-quality ink was
used in Y center.
MARCH/APRI L 2014
26
INBOX ANTHROPOLOGY OF AN IDEA
AUGUST
1988
After years of
supporting the
Afghan muja-
hideen, Osama
bin Laden and
some of his top
associates meet
in a suburb of Pe-
shawar, Pakistan.
With Soviet forces
withdrawing from
Afghanistan, the
idea of a global
jihad suddenly
seems possible,
and al Qaeda, lit-
erally the Base,
is born. We used
to call the training
camp al Qaeda,
bin Laden would
later recall. And
the name stayed.
OCTOBER 7,
2001
U.S. and British
forces attack
Afghanistan after
the Taliban regime
fails to produce
bin Laden, who
is accused of
masterminding
the 9/11 attacks.
Within months,
the bulk of al
Qaeda has
been driven into
Pakistan, where
the organization
reconstitutes it-
self and proceeds
to play a role in
bombings from
Bali in 2002 to
Madrid in 2004 to
London in 2005.
MAY 12,
2003
Al Qaeda launches
a sustained in-
surgency against
Saudi Arabia,
carrying out a
series of bomb-
ings in Riyadh. In
November, the
indigenous wing
of bin Ladens
organization
becomes the rst
to take on the al
Qaeda in formu-
lation, dubbing
itself al Qaeda
in the Arabian
Peninsula (AQAP).
Over the next
three years, AQAP
kills hundreds be-
fore Saudi security
forces are able to
stomp it out.
SEPTEMBER
11, 2006
Zawahiri
announces the
union of al Qaeda
and the Armed
Islamic Group
(GIA), a militant
Sala organiza-
tion with roots in
the Algerian civil
war. Four months
later, GIA rebrands
itself al Qaeda
in the Islamic
Maghreb (AQIM)
and carries out a
series of deadly
attacks in Algeria.
By 2012, AQIM
has established
footholds in Niger
and Mauritania
and has briey
joined forces with
Tuareg rebels to
seize control of
northern Mali.
DECEMBER
25, 2009
As Northwest
Airlines Flight 253
descends toward
Detroit, passenger
Umar Farouk
Abdulmutallab
attempts to
detonate plastic
explosives sewn
into his under-
wear. The attack,
which would have
been the rst on
American soil by
an al Qaeda afl-
iate, fails. He tells
the FBI that he
received training
and the explosive
device from AQAP.
But there is no
evidence that the
group coordinated
the plot with al
Qaeda core.
OCTOBER 17,
2004
Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi, whose
terrorist group
has perpetrated
some of the most
dramatic attacks
of the Iraq war,
pledges allegiance
to bin Laden and
founds al Qaeda in
Iraq (AQI). Around
this time, the CIA
begins using the
term AQCore,
for al Qaeda core,
to distinguish
bin Ladens
Pakistan-based
group from such
ofshoots.
19911998
Bin Laden moves
his base of oper-
ations to Sudan,
where he forges
links with militants
across the Middle
East and North
Africa who play a
role in numerous
terrorist attacks,
including the
1993 bombing
of the World
Trade Center. In
February 1998,
after being ex-
pelled from Sudan
and returning to
Afghanistan, he
issues a fatwa
against the United
States. Later that
year, he orders
the U.S. Embassy
bombings in Ken-
ya and Tanzania,
which kill 224
people.
JULY 2005
Bin Ladens
deputy, Ayman
al-Zawahiri,
chastises Zarqawi
for his extreme
tactics, warning
that AQIs brutal
beheading videos
could alienate
potential sup-
porters. Terrorism
analysts see this
as evidence that
al Qaeda core is
not in control of
its afliates.
FEBRUARY
3, 2006
Twenty-three al
Qaeda suspects
escape from a
Yemeni prison.
Widely considered
the moment of
conception for a
new AQAPone
of the inmates,
Nasser al-Wu-
hayshi, would
go on to lead the
organization after
its ofcial found-
ing in 2009the
jailbreak breathes
new life into al
Qaedas presence
in Yemen.
BY TY MCCORMICK | ILLUSTRATION BY SARAH KING
Ever since launching the war on terror in 2001,
the United States has struggled to dene
let alone defeatwhat has proved to be a
maddeningly amorphous enemy. Al Qaeda, once
a relatively dened and hierarchical group, has
metastasized into a multinational movement
with franchise operations in at least 16 countries,
from Mali to Syria, Yemen to Nigeria. These
so-called afliates have largely replaced the
FOREI GN POLI CY
27
JANUARY 3,
2014
As Iraq slides
toward civil war,
ISIS captures the
city of Fallujah.
The police and
the Army have
abandoned the
city, a local
journalist tells the
Washington Post.
Al Qaeda has
taken down all
the Iraqi ags and
burned them,
and it has raised
its own ag on all
the buildings.
JUNE 15,
2013
ISIS becomes the
rst al Qaeda af-
liate to go rogue,
defying an order
from Zawahiri to
quit ghting in
Syria and return
to Iraq. I have to
choose between
the rule of God
and the rule of
al-Zawahiri, and
I choose the rule
of God, ISIS
leader Abu Bakr
al-Baghdadi de-
clares. In February
2014, al Qaedas
central command
washes its hands
of ISIS, saying it
is not a branch
of the al Qaeda
group.
MAY 2,
2011
U.S. Navy SEALs
storm a nonde-
script compound
in Abbottabad, Pa-
kistan, and kill bin
Laden. Zawahiri is
tapped to succeed
him, but the death
of its longtime
leader is seen as
a near-knockout
blow for al Qaeda
core.
JANUARY
31, 2012
As long as
we sustain the
pressure on it, we
judge that core al
Qaeda will be of
largely symbolic
importance to
the global jihadist
movement, Na-
tional Director of
Intelligence James
Clapper tells the
U.S. Senate. But
regional afliates
and, to a lesser
extent, small cells
and individuals
will drive the glob-
al jihad agenda.
FEBRUARY
2012
Al Qaeda merges
with Somali
insurgent group
al-Shabab, with
which it had long
maintained close
ties. The following
year, al-Shabab
kills 61 civilians
in Nairobis
Westgate mall.
SEPTEMBER
2012
Zawahiri calls
on his followers
to exploit the
violence in Syria,
where rebels are
battling Bashar
al-Assads
regime. Seven
months later,
al Qaeda in Iraq
changes its name
to the Islamic
State of Iraq and
al-Sham (ISIS)
to emphasize
its growing
involvement
in the Syrian
conict. But ISIS
soon begins to
feud with another
al Qaeda afliate
in Syria, Jabhat
al-Nusra.
JULY
OCTOBER
2010
Bin Laden asks
a senior al Qaeda
associate in
Pakistan to draft
a memorandum
requiring regional
al Qaeda afliates
(brothers) to
consult with
al Qaeda central
before carrying
out operations
another apparent
sign that the core
is losing control
of the periphery.
Pakistan-based mothershipnow known as al
Qaeda core or al Qaeda centralas the driving
force of global jihad. That distinction, between
the original terrorist group and its ofshoots,
has recently grown in political signicance
as U.S. President Barack Obama touts his
decimation of al Qaedas core leadership
even if each new start-up renders that victory
less and less reassuring.
JANUARY
2014
Terrorism experts
Peter Bergen and
Jennifer Rowland
report that, with
recent gains in
Syria and Iraq,
al Qaeda and its
afliates control
more territory
in the Arab world
than at any
time in its histo-
ry. Obama later
argues, There
is a distinction
between the
capacity and
reach of a bin
Laden and a
network that is
actively planning
major terrorist
plots against the
homeland versus
jihadists who are
engaged in var-
ious local power
struggles and
disputes, often
sectarian. His
analogy: If a jay-
vee team puts on
Lakers uniforms,
that doesnt
make them Kobe
Bryant.
AUGUST
2013
Zawahiri
promotes AQAP
chief Wuhayshi to
the No. 2 position
in al Qaedas core
and orders him
to carry out an
attack, triggering
the closure of 22
U.S. embassies
across the
Muslim world.
The promotion
discredits the
widespread claim
that al Qaedas
core is based
solely in the
Afghanistan-
Pakistan border
area, notes the
Long War Journal.
Special thanks
to Peter Bergen,
Thomas
Hegghammer,
and Bruce Riedel.
MARCH/APRI L 2014
28
A
nyone who has been in a
Muslim country during
Ramadan knows the trans-
formation that comes about with the
rst sighting of the crescent moon.
During the holy month, the
devout fast from sunrise to
sunset. Bustling thorough-
fares go quiet; oce hours are
shorter to accommodate
fasting employees; and
business grinds to a halt, to
the frustration of expats and
foreign partners.
Now, a new paper from two
Harvard University research-
ers conrms what until now
has only been a nagging
suspicion: Religion isnt good
for the economy.
Economists Filipe Cam-
pante and David Yanagiza-
wa-Drott examined data from
every Ramadan since 1950,
using the amount of time
spent fasting as a measure for
intensity of religious practice.
Focusing on countries that
were more than 75 percent
Muslim, they found that when
people spent more time
fastingwhen Ramadan fell
during the long days of
summer, for instanceit took
a bigger toll on economic
growth. Increasing the
average daily fast in a country
from 12 to 13 hours, for
example, decreased GDP
growth by about 0.7 percent-
age points, the authors found.
More-intense religious
practice, in other words, left
worshippers poorer. And
being poorer makes you less
happy, right?
Wrong. Campante and
Yanagizawa-Drott also found
that Muslims who went
through a more intense
Ramadan season reported
feeling happier. Increasing
the average fast from 12 to 13
hours boosted by 4 percent
the chance that respondents
would describe themselves as
being happy that year.
Most interestingly,
however, the economic losses
dont come as a result of
productivity squandered
during a month of lethargy
and hunger. Rather, the
slowdown in growth comes
from Muslims making
dierent choices post-Rama-
dan about how they live their
livesnamely, what jobs to
take and how to divide their
time between work and
worship. Spending more time
praying, it seems, leads
Muslims to make decisions
The Slow Track
to Happiness
BY ALICIA P.Q. WITTMEYER | ILLUSTRATIONS BY CHRIS GASH
INBOX IDEAS
Constitutional
Condence
The Indian Constitutionthe
longest social contract of any
country in the worldclocks in at a
hefty 78,255 words. Its split into
22 parts and contains 395 articles,
with 98 amendments tacked on for
good measure.
Why so wordy? The consti-
tutions drafters might have said
its because they sought to be
thorough, borrowing concepts from
France, Japan, and the Soviet
Union. But the authors of a recent
study, Constitutional Verbosity
and Social Trust, would counter
that the Indian Constitution is so
long because Indians simply dont
trust one another.
Economists Christian Bjornskov
and Stefan Voigt examined the
constitutions of 110 countries and
found that the length of the
document is inversely correlated
to how much faith that nations
people have in their fellow citizens,
as measured by the World Values
Survey. Countries with long
constitutions and low trust levels
include Kenya (74,789 words) and
Brazil (42,472 words). Countries
with short constitutions and high
trust levels include
Norway (7,404 words)
and Denmark (6,208
words). The U.S.
Constitution is
pithyjust 4,542
wordsand American
trust levels are indeed
above average.
But the title for the
worlds shortest
constitution belongs
to Iceland, which
clocks in at a snappy 4,115 words.
A more detailed constitution
can be a good thing. Explicit
legal codes covering a variety
of scenarios establish clear
boundaries for
lawmaking and
governing. They
constrain both
contemporary actors
as well as future
politicians, who may
not share the same
ideas as a countrys
founders. But the
extra codication
comes at a cost: Too
many constraints can
CONSTITUTION
LENGTH WORDS
74,789
4,542
FOREI GN POLI CY
29
WHEN NO
ONES LOOKING
From Afghanistan to Indonesia, Georgia
to Malawi, election season brings with it a
time-honored tradition: the migration of
international monitors to far corners of the
worldeyes guarding against fraud, vote-
buying, and outright cheating.
Advocates have long claimed that the
presence of election-day observers, while
certainly providing no guarantee, helps ensure
free and fair elections and delegitimizes
political actors who would try to rig the vote.
But new research that examines 19 years of
elections in Africa argues that, when it comes
to stopping at least one type of election
fraudvoter intimidation through violence
election observers arent putting an end to it;
theyre just ensuring that it happens before
they arrive.
Looking at the three months before 330
African election rounds from 1990 to 2009,
Amsterdam-based political scientist Ursula
Daxecker examined the efect that monitors
from organizations like the United Nations, the
European Union, and the National Democratic
Institute had on election-related violence.
What she found was alarming: The probability
of violence in the three months leading up to
elections increased a stunning 200 percent
when international monitors were present
for election dayan indication that the extra
scrutiny may be having a perverse efect.
Whats more, Daxecker found that the presence
of monitors has no statistically signicant
efect on violence on election day itself.
Often, when an election turns ugly, observers
look to indigenous factors for an explanation.
Was an unpopular incumbent afraid of losing
votes? Were there more fringe challengers
contesting a wide-open ballot? Daxeckers
research serves as a warning not only that
the worst election-related violence might go
unseen by monitors, but that international
forces play a role in how and when it unfolds
even when they have the best of intentions.
Its also a reminder that, for any country
struggling with democracy, election day is just
a small part of a much bigger picture.
that result in slower economic
growthbut greater happiness.
Campante and Yanagiza-
wa-Drotts research is yet
another indicator that
increasing GDP growth may
not be the best way to
improve a populations overall
well-being. But it also raises
interesting questions: If
people are happier working
less and worshipping more,
then why dont they opt for
that choice without the extra
Ramadan nudge? And is this
trend specic to Ramadan
and Islam, or does it hold for
people who spend more time
in church or synagogue?
These are paths for future
research, the authors say. In
the meantime, for Muslims
north of the equator, Rama-
dan falls smack dab in the
middle of summer this year.
For those celebrating, the
days will be long and dicult,
but, if Campante and
Yanagizawa-Drott are right,
they will have a happier year.
make governing cumbersome. Thus,
when constitution drafters feel
condent that their compatriots will
act in good faith, theyll tend to opt
for brevity, Bjornskov and Voigt
argue. Its only when theyre
skeptical that theyll ll in the gaps
with codes and caveats. Its the
diference between, say, a 130-page
contract and a handshake.
All things being equal, this
suggests that a shorter constitution
indicates a healthier political
situation. But Bjornskov and Voigt
caution that their theory of
constitution drafting assumes a
certain degree of objectivity and
foresight on the part of the drafters
and, as they put it, that no other
overriding considerations are salient
around constitutional birth. If the
victors in a civil war draft a concise
new constitution, for example, that
does not necessarily indicate a high
degree of national warmth and
fuzziness.
So what does that say about
Egypts new, just-below-average-
length, 20,000-word constitution,
which was written in the aftermath of
a military coup, bans religious parties
from the political process, and
reinforces the armys control? The
result of a strong sense of trust?
Perhaps. Or perhaps there were other
salient overriding considerations.
MARCH/APRI L 2014
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INBOX THE OPTIMIST
Learning Curve
Why more and more parents in
poor countries are paying to send
their kids to private school.
By Charles Kenny
WHEN AMERICANS THINK
about private education,
what likely comes to mind
are posh-sounding names
like Milton or Collegiate,
where the elites of Boston and Manhat-
tanfor the low, low price of $40,000 a
yearsend their ospring to give them a
small leg up in the race to Harvard or Yale.
But in developing countries, private
schools are a big deal too, and they play a
very dierent role: For just cents a day,
theyre giving some of the worlds very
poorest children a chance to escape the
absolute deprivation their parents have
suered their whole lives. And by showing
what can be achieved in schools where
teachers actually make an eort to teach
and where principals actually care about
results, theyre laying the basis for a
revolution in global education.
For many countries in Africa, Latin
America, and Asia, one of the most
dramatic changes over the past couple of
generations has been the number of
children who go to school. Take the West
African country of Guinea-Bissau, where
practically all of the countrys prima-
ry-school-age kids had entered the formal
education system in 2010 and nearly
two-thirds were completing the full six
years of primary school. Thats up from
around a quarter completing only a
decade earlier. Across sub-Saharan Africa
as a whole, the percentage of children
completing primary school has climbed
from 54 percent in the early 2000s to 69
percent in 2011.
W
Students at M.A. Ideal School, a
private school in Hyderabad, India.
FOREI GN POLI CY
31
But enrollment doesnt tell the full
story. Although more and more kids
worldwide are making the walk to school
every morning, its not at all clear that
theyre actually learning something in
class. In Guinea-Bissau, independent
surveys suggest only about a quarter of
children are able to do even the most basic
addition, let alone handle fractions. Less
than one-fth of Bissau-Guinean
schoolchildren can read and comprehend
simple words. It isnt just small African
states: In India, only around one in four
10- and 11-year-olds (most of whom
completed their primary education) can
read a simple paragraph, perform
division, tell time, and handle moneyall
skills they should have learned after just
two years of schooling. Its a global
problem: From Panama to Tunisia, Brazil
to Indonesia, average scores on interna-
tional math tests would put students from
developing countries among the bottom
tenth of Danish pupils, according to
analysis from Harvard Universitys Lant
Pritchett. (Denmark has typical scores on
these tests among countries in the
Organization for Economic Cooperation
and Development, making it a good
developed-world comparison.)
There are lots of reasons why kids arent
learningespecially in poorer countries.
Many arrive at school malnourished or
have illiterate parents who cant help with
homework. The schools themselves lack
books, desks, even basic supplies. All too
often, they lack teachers. In some
countries, as many as 25 percent of
teachers dont even show up for work on a
regular basis. But perhaps the biggest
problem is that teachers and principals
face little incentive to help kids learn.
Theyre paid to get through the syllabus
not to ensure their pupils retain any of it.
The good news, however, is that across
the developing world, tens of millions of
parents are refusing to accept that their
kids sit in class day after day learning
nothing. Instead, theyre moving their
children to private schools. And these
arent just wealthy parents. Extremely
poor mothers and fathers are taking some
of their limited income and using it to
ensure that their kids can have a better life
through higher-quality education.
In India, as many as two-thirds of
urban kids and 28 percent of rural
children attend private school. The
median per-person income is about $565
per year, and the poorer districts and
states have more rural private schools
than the richer ones. In Pakistan, roughly
one-third of children attend private
primary school. Parents there spend
about 10 cents a day on private educa-
tionsure, thats less than one-thou-
sandth of what it costs to attend Phillips
Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, but
its a lot of money in a country where
more than half the population subsists on
less than $2 a day.
The investment is paying o. Kids in
private schools are learning far more
than their friends stuck in government-
nanced classrooms. In the Indian state
of Andhra Pradesh, for example, the
government used a lottery system to hand
out vouchers to some parents to cover
the costs of private school attendance.
Analysis by economists Karthik Mu-
ralidharan of the University of California,
San Diego, and Venkatesh Sundararaman
of the World Bank shows those students
saw signicantly higher test scores in a
number of subjects than their peers who
remained in public schools. This despite
the fact that education costs per student
were one-third of those in government
schoolsand teacher salaries were only
one-fth as high. But maybe the biggest
endorsement is this: Four out of ve
public school teachers in India send their
own kids to private school.
The pressure on developing-country
education systems to deliver learning
results is growing. They are shamed by
published test results from international
organizations like the OECD and by local
civil society groups like Uwezo in East
Africa and Pratham in India. And it
doesnt look good for elected politicians
when parents start voting with their
feetabandoning free public education
in favor of fee-based private schooling.
But when it comes to reforming
education systems, the answer isnt
necessarily mass privatization. Remem-
ber, the principle of universal access to
free primary education is enshrined in the
U.N.s Universal Declaration of Human
Rights. That means governments should
be paying the tab for primary school
either public or privateand making sure
that teachers and principals are put on
notice: Either shape up or ship out. The
real test is whether students are learning
anything, not just attending.
Charles Kenny is a senior fellow at the
Center for Global Development and author,
most recently, of The Upside of Down: Why
the Rise of the Rest Is Good for the West.
Kids in private
schools are learning
far more than
their friends stuck
in government-
nanced classrooms.
A female student at M.A. Ideal School shyly hides her face with her schoolwork.
MARCH/APRI L 2014
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IRANIAN MYSTIQUE
PHOTOGRAPHS BY HOSSEIN FATEMI
Following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Irans
secular world all but disappeared from view. Today,
much remains forbidden, especially for women:
They are not permitted to socialize with men in
public or reveal too much hair from under the head-
scarves they are required to wear. Security forces
troll the streets to enforce these restrictive laws.
But behind closed doors, a more permissive
world thrives. Young Iranians, including women,
engage in the taboo: smoking, dancing, drinking,
mingling with the opposite sex. There are no
bars in Iran, so young people often meet at cofee
shops, like the one pictured above. Proprietors
post signs saying theyre not permitted to serve
hookahs to women, but some do it anyway.
Iranian photographer Hossein Fatemi, now
based in Chicago, spent years in his native coun-
try capturing these hidden lives.
At Irans public beaches, women are not supposed to go in the water
(except in small, cordoned sections) because wet clothes will reveal their
gures. Yet society is more accepting than Iranian law, and this woman
swims with her young son, in the open and unafraid.
INBOX PICTURED
These two women live together, throw parties, drink alcohol, and dont always
wear hijabs. Here, while one smokes a cigarette, the other praysbut still she
ignores conservative religious mandate by exposing her arms. I pray for my
own relaxation, she told Fatemi, not for anyone else.
When Fatemi came to this small gym, the women covered their hair, arms,
and legs. One invited Fatemi to photograph her at home so she could show
more of herselfand show the world how powerful Iranian women really are.
MARCH/APRI L 2014
34
HARGEISA, SOMALIA Mowlid
Ahmed Abidoon stands
quietly in the small prison
cell where he has lived for
nearly two years. Slot
windows on one wall let in only a little
sunlight, leaving his face almost entirely
obscured in darkness. Yet there are
splashes of color all around: The rooms
bunk beds are covered in sheets with
bright oral and geometric patterns, over
which hang canopies of blue mosquito
netscells within the cell.
Clad in a striped polo shirt and
prison-uniform pants, Mowlid estimates
that he is about 20 years old; the last
traces of baby fat still cling to his cheeks.
He insists that he shouldnt be behind
Puntland Is
for Pirates
Why are convicted high-seas
bandits being sent to the
Somali region that prots
from their crimes?
Text and Photographs By Jillian Keenan
INBOX DISPATCH
H
bars. Im a sherman, not a pirate, he
says atly, as though he has delivered this
speech a hundred times before.
Court documents from Seychelles say
otherwise. On Dec. 6, 2009, Mowlid and
a band of fellow Somali pirates used
rearms and explosives to attack the
Topaz, a Seychelles Coast Guard patrol
vessel. (Seychelles, an island nation, is
about 825 miles southeast of Mogadishu,
Somalias coastal capital.) They were
arrested, convicted, and sentenced to
24 years in prison.
Thats how Mowlid ended up in
Hargeisa Central Prison, home to 29
Somali pirates. The prison was born of
necessity. Pirates are often tried in
countries like Seychelles and Mauritius, in
whose waters they are caught, but those
states dont want to keep the convicted in
their jails. The Somali government cant
reasonably take them, given its extreme
volatility. Yet one place has been eager to
house pirates: Somaliland, a self-declared
independent (but internationally
unrecognized) republic in northern
Somalia that wants to prove its state-like
qualities and relative security in the
tumultuous Horn of Africa.
So the United Nations invested millions
FOREI GN POLI CY
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of dollars to build a prison in Hargeisa,
Somalilands capital. Opened in 2010 and
run by local authorities, it was the rst
new prison in the region in 30 years.
Today, outside the prisons main
entrance, a sign warns visitors what they
cannot bring with them: hand grenades,
knives, assault ries. Inside, inmates
compete against guards in basketball,
while feral kittens roam the dusty
grounds. In the prisons open kitchen, a
huge pot of stew bubbles over a re. Aside
from spirals of barbed wire and armed
guards atop open towers, there isnt much
obvious security.
Beneath the veneer of calm, however,
the prison is nearing capacity. The facility
can hold 506 prisoners, and it already has
480. (Pirates are housed alongside other
criminals.) Mowlid, like many inmates,
shares his cell with nine other men.
Meanwhile, some 1,350 pirates currently
incarcerated abroad await repatriation
to Somalia. Its clear that neither Hargeisa
nor Somaliland generally will be able
or even willingto take them all.
The solution, according to the interna-
tional community, lies in another
autonomous region in Somalia: Puntland,
which encompasses the countrys
northeastern coastline. The U.N. provided
funding to upgrade and expand a prison
in the port city of Bosaso, and, as of press
time, another U.N.-backed facility was
scheduled to open in Garowe, Puntlands
capital, in February 2014. But Puntland
isnt Somaliland. It is a less stable and
more corrupt place. Perhaps most
worrying, however, is that
its also considered the heart
of Somalias pirate culture.
Puntland is pirate land,
explains Michael Frodl, the
founder of C-Level Maritime
Risks, a Washington-based
consultancy. If I were a
Somali pirate, Id do
everything I could to get
sent to Garowe.
PIRACY BEGAN SPREADING
rapidly in the waters o Somalia in the
early 21st century because of civil war
and povertyoering a chance to make
money amid an economic wasteland of
opportunity. In a typical operation,
pirates armed with guns and other
weapons approach commercial ships in
skis, hijack them, and demand a
ransom, a chunk of which they often pay
to wily nanciers. But even if Somali
pirates can be considered products of
circumstance, some have also become
torturers and murderers: Freed hostages
have reported pirates hanging captives
by their feet, submerging them at sea,
staging mock executions, and locking
them in freezers.
Reports of appalling
violence, along with
hundreds of millions of
dollars in losses to
shipping companies, have
prompted the international
community to focus on
repressing, arresting, and
prosecuting Somali
pirates. In 2008, the
U.N. Security Council
adopted a resolution
calling on countries
with ships in the region to use military
force against pirates. NATO and the
European Union (among others) police
the Indian Ocean, and private, for-
eign-funded security operations have
also joined the ght. Meanwhile,
shipping companies have fortied their
vessels to repel attacks, using everything
from armed guards to razor wire.
More than two dozen convicted Somali pirates live at Hargeisa Central Prison, in the autonomous region of Somaliland.
SOMALIA
HARGEISA
BOSASO
GAROWE
MOGADISHU
SOMALILAND
PUNTLAND
DISPUTED
TERRITORY
MARCH/APRI L 2014
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Their eorts have worked. There were
only 15 reported attacks in 2013, according
to the International Chamber of Com-
merce, down sharply from a peak of 237
in 2011. Analysts around the world have
touted the drop as a huge success.
But while the most visible manifesta-
tions of piracy have diminished, the root
causes of the phenomenon remain
unaddressed back on dry land. Amid
continuing political and economic
instability, organized gangs of pirates still
exist, looking for susceptible targets, and a
new generation of young men like Mowlid
could easily turn to a life of maritime
crime. Indeed, according to a 2013 World
Bank report, Current and proposed
onshore or oshore policies for curbing
Somali piracy are either ineective or
unsustainable. As a result, the report
states, whether they [pirate attacks] will
continue to be suppressed is a major
question. Similarly, Jon Huggins of the
nonprot Oceans Beyond Piracy, has
called the recent gains against pirates
fragile and reversible and has warned
against emphasiz[ing] too much the
declining numbers of attacks.
The prisons in Somaliland and
Puntland, in other words, are part of a
security solution to a problem that is, at its
heart, economic and politicala worrying
mismatch. Ending piracy once and for all
will require more than military might on
the high seas and the threat of incarcera-
tion. According to the World Bank, it will
require incentivizingthrough both
law enforcement and development
initiativesthe local leaders enabling
piracy to change their tune. Then there is
the matter of jobs. Ultimately, we need to
get these Somali men, often youth, quality
employment, says Michael Shank, an
adjunct professor and Somalia expert at
George Mason Universitys School for
Conict Analysis and Resolution. The
U.N. Development Program has pegged
the unemployment rate for Somali youth
between the ages of 14 and 29 at 67
percentone of the worlds highest.
Pirate prisons alone certainly cannot
address this problem. Although inmates
can complete training programs in trades
like construction, metalworking, and
plumbing in the Hargeisa and Bosaso
facilities, its unlikely they will be able to
use their newfound skills upon release.
Even shing jobs are largely out of reach.
Shank explains that, in addition to
ransom pirates, there are resource
pirates. The latter, however, arent
Somalis. They are foreign eets that
threaten East Africas waters with
overshing and toxic-waste dumping,
making it impossible for many Somali
men to make money the way their fathers
and grandfathers did. To put the problem
of piracy in perspective, ransom pirates
made $60 million in their most lucrative
year, while commercial-resource pirates
illegally harvest up to $450 million in sh
annually, says Shank. Any sustainable
solution for this problem, then, must
address this exploitation.
Ironically, pirate prisons may also be
generating new security risks. Pirates in
Hargeisa and Bosaso are held in the
same facilities as members of al-Shabab,
the Somali terrorist group with ties to al
Qaeda, and juveniles are housed alongside
adults. That means theres a very real risk
that impressionable, disillusioned young
men could be radicalizedyoung men
like Mowlid, who, if his estimated age is
correct, was only about 16 when he and his
friends attacked the Topaz. I dont see
any future, Mowlid says of his life.
John Wilcox, a prison advisor for
Somaliland with the United Nations Oce
on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), says
roughly 12 of the Hargeisa prisons
inmates are members of al-Shabab. There
is a covert prison intelligence program in
place to ward o radicalization, but Wilcox
still worries that the facility could become
a breeding ground for extremists. A lot
of these guys dont have father gures, he
says, alluding to another socioeconomic
problem in Somalia: the disintegration
of clan and family structures because of
conict and hardship. And with al-
Shabab in here, we certainly dont want
this to be the place where they nd one.
Radicalization might be less of a
concern if prison inmates were certain
to remain behind bars. But in November
2013, Bosasos prison was attacked by
al-Shabab militants carrying at least one
rocket-propelled grenade; they killed
three people as they sought to liberate
fellow extremists from their cells. The
UNODC was quick to point out that, had it
not been for its recent investments in
Bosaso, the attack could have been worse.
However, we cannot close our eyes to
possible attacks, says Manuel de
Almeida Pereira, a program coordinator
with the UNODC in Garowe. We remain,
of course, worried.
The prisons in
Somaliland and
Puntland are
part of a security
solution to
a problem that
is, at its heart,
economic
and political
a worrying
mismatch.
An armed
pirate sits
on Somalias
northeastern
coastline in
2010. The ship
in the distance,
a Greek
vessel called
MV Filitsa,
was being held
by pirates
at the time.
FOREI GN POLI CY
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Its not just al-Shabab that threatens
the prisons security: Puntland has a
reputation fortolerating and even
enabling piracy. Although Puntlands
former president, Abdirahman Farole
in oce from 2009 until January 2014
made repeated public pledges and some
concrete eorts to undermine, arrest,
and convict pirates, a 2012 report by the
U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia and
Eritrea called into question [t]he
authenticity of the Puntland authoritys
commitment to ghting piracy. Gangs
have reportedly paid o local communi-
ties in order to dock hijacked ships in
Puntlands coastal cities during ransom
negotiations, andPuntland government
ocials have been known to receive
pirate money in exchange for protection
agreements and information about the
location of foreign ships. A 2012
Chatham House study also found that
ransom money contributes heavily to
the regions economic development,
particularly in provincial capitals.
Puntlands political elites are therefore
unlikely to move decisively against
piracy, the report concluded.
The decision to invest in greater
detention capacity in Puntlandlike
Somaliland before itwas due largely to a
lack of alternatives. (It didnt help that,
due to an ongoing border dispute,
Somaliland has refused to imprison
pirates born in Puntland, saying it must
deal with its own problems.) But the
large-scale transfer of pirate prisoners
from abroad hardly seems like a safe
solution. Pirates have had success bribing
their way out of custody throughout
Somalia. The U.N. is working to ensure
that prisoners are not unlawfully released
from the facilities it funds, but some
experts are worried that pirates may still
slip through the cracks in Puntland.
Pirates are basically being sheltered by
the regime in exchange for protection
money, Frodl, the maritime risk consul-
tant, says. Those jails might hold a few
foot soldiers, but if you tried to incarcerate
any high-level pirates in Puntland, theyd
buy their way out in a week.
MOWLID, WHO GREW UP IN THE TOWN OF
Barawe, south of Mogadishu, perks up
slightly when asked about the Puntland
prisons. Puntland might be better, he
agrees. In Somaliland, he has never been
able to have a visitor, and he misses his
family. Puntland would be closer to home.
A few of his fellow inmates nod. A
transfer might be nice.
But thats not what they really want to
talk about. As the minutes pass, they shift
in their seats, ignoring the bottles of fruit
juice and water a prison guard has passed
around.
How can you help us? demands Ares
Isse Karshe, a 40-year-old pirate who was
captured with Mowlid. He has a thin,
ragged beard with hints of gray. When I
explain that I cant help him, he leans
back in his chair and says nothing.
Across the room, Mowlid is willing to
speakbut only a little. He claims once
more that he is innocent and that his
right to a fair trial was violated.
Please leave us alone, Mowlid says
nally, looking down. We give up the
sea. It belongs to you now. His ngers
have curled into sts.
Jillian Keenan is a New York-based
journalist.
MARCH/APRI L 2014
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An Ironclad Treaty
Is the Only Way to
Save the Planet.
DONT COUNT ON IT.
TIME IS RUNNING SHORT FOR THE INTERNATIONAL
community to tackle climate change.
Pressure to act comes from rising
temperatures and sea levels, super-
storms, brutal droughts, and diminish-
ing food crops. It also comes from fears
that these problems are going to get
worse. Modern economies have already
boosted the concentration of carbon
dioxide (CO
2
) in the atmosphere by 40
percent since the Industrial Revolution.
If the world stays on its current course,
CO
2
levels could double by centurys end,
potentially raising global temperatures
several more degrees. (The last time the
planets CO
2
levels were so high was 15
million years ago, when temperatures
were 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit higher
than they are today.)
Another source of pressure, however, is
self-imposed. Under the auspices of the
United Nations, the next global climate
treatyto be negotiated among some 200
countries, with the central goal of cutting
greenhouse gas emissionsshould be
enacted in 2015, to replace the now-out-
moded 1997 Kyoto Protocol. (Once passed
by state parties, the new treaty would
actually go into eect in 2020.)
The race against both nature and the
diplomatic clock is stressful. But in the
rush to do something, the international
communitymost notably, and
ironically, those individuals and
organizations most fervent about
combating global warmingis often
doing the wrong thing. It has become
xated on the notion of consensus
codied in international law.
The U.N. process for climate diplomacy
has been in place for more than two
decades, punctuated since 1995 by
annual meetings at which countries
assess global progress in protecting the
environment and negotiate treaties and
other agreements to keep the ball rolling.
Kyoto was nalized at the third such
THINK AGAIN
Think Again:
Climate Treaties
By David Shorr
Illustration by Maayan Pearl
FOREI GN POLI CY
39
conference. A milestone, it established
targets for country-based emissions cuts.
Its signal failure, however, was leaving
the worlds three largest emitters of
greenhouse gases unconstrained, two of
them by design. Kyoto gave developing
countries, including China and India, a
blanket exemption from cutting emis-
sions. Meanwhile, the United States
bristled at its obligationsparticularly in
light of the free pass given to China and
Indiaand refused to ratify the treaty.
Still, Kyoto was lauded by many
because it was a legally binding accord,
a high bar to clear in international
diplomacy. The agreements provisions
were compulsory for countries that
ratified it; violating them would invite a
stigmaa reputation for weaseling out
of promises deemed essential to saving
the planet.
Today, the principle of if you sign it,
you stick to it continues to guide a lot
of conventional thinking about climate
diplomacy, particularly among the
political left and international NGOs,
which have been driving forces of U.N.
climate negotiations, and among leaders
of developing countries that are not
yet major polluters but are profoundly
aected by global warming. For instance,
in the lead-up to the last annual U.N.
climate conferenceheld in Warsaw,
Poland, in November 2013Oxfam
Internationals executive director, Winnie
Byanyima, said the world should not
accept a successor agreement to Kyoto
that has anything less than the force of
international law: Of course not. If
its not legally binding, then what is it?
Ultimately, Byanyima and other civil
society leaders walked out of the
conference to protest what they viewed
as a failure to take steps toward a new,
ironclad treaty.
The frustration in Warsaw showed an
ongoing failure among many staunch
advocates of climate diplomacy to learn
the key lesson of Kyoto: Legal force is the
wrong litmus test for judging an interna-
tional framework. Idealized multilateral-
ism has become a trap. It only leads to
countries agreeing to the lowest common
denominatoror balking altogether.
Evidence shows that a drive for the
tightest possible treaty obligations has
the perverse eect of provoking
resistance. In a seminal 2011 study of
climate diplomacy, David Victor of the
University of California, San Diego,
concluded, The very attributes that
made targets and timetables so attrac-
tive to environmentaliststhat they set
clear, binding goals without much
attention to costmade the Kyoto treaty
brittle because countries that discovered
they could not honor their commitments
had few options but to exit.
This argument may sound like one
made by many political conservatives,
who opposed Kyoto and have long been
wary of treaties in general. But the
point is not that international eorts are
useless. It is that global agreements are
most useful when they include a healthy
measure of realism in the demands
that they make of countries. Instead of
insisting on a binding agreement,
diplomats must identify what govern-
ments and other actors, like the private
sector, are willing to do to combat global
warming and develop mechanisms to
choreograph, incentivize, and monitor
them as they do it. Otherwise, U.N.
talks will remain a dialogue of the deaf,
as the Earth keeps cooking.
The Biggest Problem
Is That Leaders Lack
the Political Will to Craft
a Treaty.
NOT EXACTLY.
TO EXPLAIN MULTILATERALISMS RECENT
failures, from the Kyoto Protocol to the
Warsaw conference, its most fervent
advocates often take aim at the same
purported stumbling block: the spine-
lessness of politicians. Fainthearted
presidents and prime ministers shy away
from commitments to protect the planet
because it is more politically expedient
to focus on economic growth, no matter
the environmental consequences.
Thanks to this conventional wisdom,
political will has become a loaded
term. If a leader doesnt sign on to a
tough, legally binding treaty, he or she
must be morally bankrupt. Mary
Robinson, a former president of Ireland
who now runs a foundation dedicated to
climate change issues, has called the
legal character of climate agreements
an expression of or an extension of
political will. Meanwhile, Kumi Naidoo,
executive director of Greenpeace
International, has written that he hopes
governments will nd the political will
to act beyond short-sighted electoral
cycles and the corrupting inuence of
some business elites.
The fallacy of the political will
argument, however, is that it assumes
everyone already agrees on the steps
necessary to address climate change and
that the only remaining task is fol-
low-through. It is true that the weight of
scientic evidence tells us humanity can
only spew so many more gigatons of CO
2

into the air before subjecting the planet
and its inhabitants to dire consequenc-
es. But the only guidance this gives
policymakers is that they must transi-
tion to low-carbon economies, stat.
It does not tell them how they should
do this or how they can do it most
eciently, with the least cost incurred.
As a result, advocates of strict climate
treaties hammer home the imperative
for environmental action without
providing for discussion about how
countries can actually transform their
economies in practice.
Consider environmental author and
activist Bill McKibbens comments in
early 2013 praising Germany for using
more renewable energy: There were
days last summer when Germany
generated more than half the power it
used from solar panels within its
borders. What does that tell you about
the relative role of technological prowess
and political will in solving this?
Unfortunately, it tells us very little. It
doesnt tell us what it would take to
stretch the reliance on solar energy
beyond some sunny German days or the
subsidy levels required to make solar
power a more widely used energy
source. It also tells us nothing about how
we could translate Germanys accom-
plishments to countries with very
dierent political and economic
circumstances. And it doesnt explain
what would induce those diverse
countries to accept a multilateral
arrangement boosting the global use of
renewable energy. All McKibbens
factoid tells us is that the myth of
political will is quite powerful.
Certainly, economic imperatives should
not override environmental ones. Yet the
standard for climate diplomacy should
not be broad appeals for boldness that ask
policymakers to deny trade-os rather
than wrestle with themparticularly in
the countries that the world needs most
in the ght against global warming.
THINK AGAIN: CLIMATE TREATIES
GO.MIIS.EDU/SOLUTION
FOREI GN POLI CY
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China and India Are
Ruining Our Chances to
Avert Global Catastrophe.
ACTUALLY, THEYRE HELPING.
LAST FALL, AFTER THE WARSAW MEETING,
many experts and pundits were quick to
place blame for the gatherings tumult.
The India Problem: Why is it thwarting
every international climate agreement? a
headline on Slate demanded. Other
observers scorned India and China for
saying they would not make commit-
ments to greenhouse gas cuts in the 2015
climate agreement. (The meetings
attendees ultimately settled on the word
contributions.)
These complaints, however, are
increasingly out of date.
Its true that, throughout most of the
2000s, China and India clung to the
exemption that the Kyoto Protocol had
granted them, arguing that the industrial-
ized world had caused global warming
and that developing countries shouldnt
be deprived of their own chance to
prosper. This has induced great anxiety
because, since 2005, Chinas annual share
of CO
2
emissions has grown from around
16 percent to more than 25 percent, while
India has emerged as the worlds
third-largest carbon emitter. In short,
without China and India, progress on
climate change will be virtually impossible.
By 2010, however, Beijing and New
Delhi had begun to change their stance.
A desire to save face diplomatically,
combined with increasing pollution at
home and domestic need for energy
eciency, have made China and India
more willing to cut emissions than ever
before.
Chinese leaders in particular are eager
to recast their country as an environmen-
tal paragon, rather than a pariah. Some
analysts attribute this shift to Chinas
aspirations to global prominence. Playing
o the popular idea of the Chinese
century, Robert Stavins, director of the
Harvard Project on Climate Agreements,
has said, If its your century, you dont
obstructyou lead. Recently, China has
taken signicant steps forward with green
energy, mimicking many of the regula-
tions and mandates that have helped the
United States achieve environmental
progress. Wind, solar, and hydroelectric
power now provide one-quarter of Chinas
electricity-generating capacity. More
energy is being added to Chinas grid each
year from clean sources than from fossil
fuels. And in a show of its willingness to
step up to the diplomatic plate, China
signed an accord with the United States in
2013 that scales down emissions of
hydrouorocarbons, which are so-called
super-greenhouse gases.
Yet these changes have not substantial-
ly bent the curve of Chinas total emis-
sions. According to Chris Nielsen and
Mun Ho of Harvard Universitys China
Project, this is largely because the
countrys rapid economic growth makes
the tools that have slowed emissions in
other economies less eective in China:
[T]he unprecedented pace of Chinas
economic transformation makes improv-
ing Chinas air quality a moving target.
Ultimately, Nielsen and Ho argue, the only
way for China to rein in emissions will be
to attach a price to carbon, through either
a tax or a cap-and-trade system. As if on
cue, China is now setting up municipal
and provincial markets in which polluters
can trade emissions credits, with the goal
of creating a national market by 2016.
The point here is that the leaders of
countries with rapidly developing
economies cannot predict environmental
payos with any real condence. Tools
that work well for others may not for
them. Thats why China and India are
hesitant to sign legally binding treaties,
which would put them on the hook to hit
targets that could prove much harder to
reach than anticipated. They dont want
to undertake costly reforms that might
not have the predicted benets, and they
do not want to risk the hefty criticism
that failure to abide by a treaty would
surely bring.
Chinese and Indian leaders realize
theyll be judged by their contributions to
a cleaner environment, and they embrace
the challenge. (Recently in India, more
than 20 major industry players launched
an initiative to cut emissions.) And they
are apt to be less guarded on the interna-
tional stage if a new climate agreement
functions as a measuring stick, not a
bludgeonmuch like the 2009 Copenha-
gen accord has done.
But Copenhagen
Was a Catastrophe.
NOT AT ALL.
IN DECEMBER 2009, THE U.N.S ANNUAL CLIMATE
conference, hosted in Copenhagen,
produced an agreement that is still
roundly condemned by environmental-
ists, the leaders of developing countries,
and political liberals alike. Unlike
the Kyoto Protocol, the agreement let
countries voluntarily set their own targets
for emissions cuts over 10 years. The city
of Copenhagen is a crime scene tonight,
the executive director of Greenpeace U.K.
declared when the deal was reached.
Lumumba Di-Aping, the chief negotiator
for a group of developing countries known
as the G-77, which had wanted major
In September 2013, a landslide buried part of the Mexican village of La Pintada. Heavy rains had pummeled the area
after a hurricane. Some experts say climate change is producing more intense storms.
THINK AGAIN: CLIMATE TREATIES
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polluters like the United States to take
greater responsibility for global warming,
said the agreement had the lowest level
of ambition you can imagine.
In reality, however, the conference
wasnt a asco. It oered the basis for a
promising, more exible regime for
climate action that could be a model for
the 2015 agreement.
The Copenhagen agreement had a
number of advantages. It didnt have to
be ratied by governments, which can
delay implementation by years. More-
over, in an important new benchmark for
climate negotiations, the agreement set
the goal of preventing a global average
temperature rise of more than 2 degrees
Celsius, with all countries emission cuts
to be gauged against that objective. This
provision went to the heart of climate
diplomacys collective-action problem:
Apportioning responsibility for cutting
emissions among countries is always
tricky, but the 2-degree target creates a
shared denition of success.
Most importantly, however, the shift to
voluntary pledges showed the rst
glimmers of lessons learned from the most
common mistakes of climate negotiations.
In the U.N. process, countries usually
operate by consensus: They must all agree
on each others respective climate goals, a
surere recipe for dysfunction. (In 2010,
the chair of annual climate talks refused to
let a single delegationBoliviablock
consensus, which counts as a daring move
at U.N. conferences.)
Under Copenhagen, by contrast,
countries can pledge to do their share
while remaining within their comfort
zones as dictated by circumstances back
home. For instance, faced with economic
imperatives to continue delivering high
growth, China and India pledged at
Copenhagen to reach targets pegged
relative to carbon intensity (emissions per
unit of economic output) rather than
absolute levels of greenhouse gases. This
was as far as they were willing to gobut it
was further than theyd ever gone before.
Admittedly, the Copenhagen conference
wasnt perfect. The deal was struck on the
conferences tail end, after U.S. President
Barack Obama barged in on a meeting
already under way among the leaders of
China, India, Brazil, and South Africa.
Many of the other delegates registered
outrage that the ve leaders had negotiat-
ed a deal in private by having the confer-
ence merely take note of the accord.
But the following years U.N. conference
eshed out the Copenhagen framework,
and it has since gained enough legitimacy
that 114 countries have agreed to the
accord and another 27 have expressed
their intention to agree. Taken together,
this includes the worlds 17 largest
emitters, responsible for 80 percent of
carbon-based pollution.
The Copenhagen accord will expire as
the Kyoto successor agreement takes eect
in 2020. But it shouldnt be viewed as just
a stopgap. In giving governments more
exibility, Copenhagen oers the chance
to build more condenceand ambi-
tionwhere historically there has only
been uncertainty and rancor. Any future
climate agreement should do the same.
Countries Will Never
Keep Mere Promises
to Cut Emissions.
NEVER SAY NEVER.
THE MOST OBVIOUS CRITICISM OF COPENHAGENS
system, of course, is that, while it is nice
for countries to set voluntary goals, they
will never meet them unless they are
legally compelled to do so. That is why,
just after the Copenhagen deal was
reached, then-British Prime Minister
Gordon Brown hastily said, I know what
we really need is a legally binding treaty
as quickly as possible.
To date, there has been progress on
meeting targets set under Copenhagen.
The United States and the European
Union, for instance, are all within reach
of meeting their 10-year goals, perhaps
even ahead of schedule. Meanwhile,
Chinas pledge to cut carbon intensity,
based on 2005 levels, has become the
framework for the countrys new
emissions-trading markets.
But the most important reason to have
condence in the Copenhagen deal lies
in its provisions for measurement,
reporting, and verication. If done right,
these so-called MRV mechanisms will
alert the world as to how countries are (or
are not) reducing greenhouse gases,
while also pushing states to keep pace
toward pledged cuts.
MRVs rely on peer pressure. Countries
report to and monitor one another,
tracking and urging progress. This kind
of system has already proved eective in
a variety of international policy areas. For
instance, the Mutual Assessment Process
of the G-20 and International Monetary
Fund brings together the major economic
powers to discuss whether their respec-
tive policies are helping to maximize
global economic growth or are instead
widening imbalances between export-
and consumer-based economies. The
process is fairly new, but already, it is
widely credited with prodding China
long reluctant to discuss these issues in
multilateral forums (sound familiar?)to
let its currency appreciate and to make
boosting domestic consumption a main
plank of its ve-year (2011-2015) plan.
MRVs have also proved valuable in
narrower climate regimes, such as the
At the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference, leaders and negotiators from several countries reached an agreement
that called for voluntary pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
FOREI GN POLI CY
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THINK AGAIN: CLIMATE TREATIES
European Unions cap-and-trade
mechanism. As a 2012 Environmental
Defense Fund report explained, [B]ecause
EU governments based the systems initial
caps and emissions allowance allocation
on estimates of regulated entities
emissions governments issued too
many emissions allowances (over-
allocation). Now, however, caps are
established on the basis of measured and
veried past emissions and best-practices
benchmarks, so over-allocation is less
of a problem. In other words, MRVs have
helped the European Union tighten
market standards, correcting an earlier
miscalculation and actually heightening
the systems ambition.
The Copenhagen agreement enhanced
the utility of global, climate-related
MRVs by requiring greater transparency
from developing countries. Under Kyoto,
these countries were only required to
provide a summary of their emissions
for two years: a choice of either 1990
or 1994, and 2000. Copenhagen, by
contrast, committed developing
countries to report on their emissions
bienniallythe rst reports are due in
Decembernarrowing the gap with the
requirement for annual reports that
Kyoto imposed on developed countries.
Copenhagens MRVs are not yet as
strong as they could be. For instance,
they should require annual reports from
all countries, no matter their stages of
development. These reports should also
include a breakdown of information
according to economic subsectors and
dierent greenhouse gases, along with
supporting details about data-collection
methods. In addition, the process of
reviewing reports needs to be eshed
out, taking cues from other strong MRVs
that already exist, and wealthier
countries should help underwrite the
cost to developing countries of preparing
comprehensive reports.
The good news is that, given the
ongoing nature of U.N. climate diplo-
macy, its still possible to strengthen
Copenhagens MRVs. Important new
principles and guidelines for peer
review have been established in
negotiations since 2009, and those
involved in climate diplomacy should
now buckle down to finish the job.
Robust MRVs would guarantee that the
world makes the most of the next few
years and draws on that experience to
chart a new phase of climate action
anchored in a 2015 agreement.
Forget Treaties.
Solutions Will Come
From the Bottom Up.
DONT GET CARRIED AWAY.
SOME CRITICS OF THE U.N. PROCESS, HAILING
from conservative political ranks, the
private sector, and other areas, have lost all
patience and think that a top-down process,
particularly one negotiated in an interna-
tional forum, is the wrong way to go. They
point out that, while national leaders
negotiated the Copenhagen deal, actual
progress toward its goals is being cobbled
together by actors at lower levelsin cities,
states, markets, and industries. They are
choosing which energy will generate
electricity, honing farming practices,
improving industrial eciency, and the like.
Indeed, some policymakers and climate
analysts point to the inuence of local
authorities as a game-changer for climate
action. After all, Chinese cities and
provinces have begun building emis-
sions-trading markets, and California has
passed a law establishing one of the most
robust such markets in the world. Mean-
while, leaders of the worlds megacities
have banded together to cut emissions in
whats known as the C40 group, established
in 2005. As C40 chair and Rio de Janeiro
Mayor Eduardo Paes has put it, C40s
networks and eorts on measurement and
reporting are accelerating city-led action at
a transformative scale around the world.
Given this sort of local progress, it is
certainly worth asking whether diplomats
and national policymakers should just get
out of the way. Maybe a thoroughly
bottom-up approach would be better for the
planet than an international climate
regime, no matter how exible. David
Hodgkinson, a law professor and executive
director of the nonprot EcoCarbon, which
focuses on market solutions for reducing
emissions, has argued that such an
approach has more substance and
probably holds out more hope than a
top-down UN deal.
Ultimately, however, this view is
misguided. There is no substitute for
high-level diplomacy in getting everyone to
do their utmost and in keeping track of
their eorts. In particular, as Copenhagen
reminded the world, the value of the
agenda setting, peer pressure, and leverage
unique to international diplomacy
shouldnt be overlooked. Moreover, weve
seen in other policy spheres how the
international community can rst establish
fundamental principles, which then
sharpen over time with the aid of global
coordinating bodies and more localized
initiatives. For instance, the nonbinding
1948 Universal Declaration of Human
Rights established a framework for a host
of subsequent international treaties, U.N.
agencies, regional charters and courts,
national policies, and, more recently, corpo-
rate responsibility eorts.
Practically speaking, it would also be
shortsighted to rely on an assortment of
subnational actors to tackle a global
problem like climate change. Determining
how the work of these actors intersects,
what it adds up to, and who monitors that
sum are critical matters best managed from
the top-down. As the goal of preventing a
global average temperature rise of 2 degrees
Celsius reminds us, it is the aggregate of
countries reduced emissions that will be
the ultimate test of success.
Even so, the status quo of climate talks,
focused on badgering countries to join
another legally binding treaty, represents
diplomatic overreach. This hasnt worked in
the past, and it wont in the future. The
international community should give up the
quest to sign a legally binding treaty in 2015.
Stop fretting about political will and
acknowledge the various pressures dierent
countries face. Focus on fully implementing
Copenhagens pledge-and-review system
and use that as a model for the successor to
Kyoto. Then, allow that new pact to be what
steers action and innovation.
Interest in this approach is slowly
mounting, including in the U.S. govern-
ment. Todd Stern, the State Departments
special envoy for climate change, said in a
2013 speech, An agreement that is
animated by the progressive development
of norms and expectations rather than by
the hard edge of law, compliance, and
penalty has a much better chance of
working. Still, theres a long way to go
before the all-or-nothing attitude that has
dominated climate diplomacy for so long
disappears for good.
In the meantime, the environmental
clock keeps ticking.
David Shorr has been analyzing multilateral
aairs for over 25 years. He has worked with
a range of international organizations, and
participates in Think20, a global meeting of
leading think-tank representatives.
H i g h -
High-speed trains at a maintenance station in
Wuhan, China.
S p e e d E m p i r e
C h i n e s e r a i l i s s p r a w l i n g ,
mo d e r n , a n d e l e g a n t . I t s a l s o
c o n v o l u t e d , c o r r o d i n g ,
a n d f i n a n c i a l l y a l a r mi n g .
Wa n n a t a k e a r i d e ?
B y To m Z o e l l n e r
P h o t o i l l u s t r a t i o n b y A d a m Fe r r i s s
MARCH/APRI L 2014
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hurtles toward the industrial city of Taiyuan in northern China,
and seemingly within seconds, the modern, smog-soaked
Beijing skyline gives way to open elds. David Su is munching
on pistachios in the bar car, careful that not a crumb hits his
blue foulard scarf, as he heads some 320 miles to reach his
early-morning appointment for a private equity rm. Over his
shoulder, the Chinese countryside is a disembodied blur: farms
and factories receding at the mind-aching speed of 186 miles per
hour. Cars on a nearby highway seem to be creeping along by
comparison.
Su travels frequently for his job at Global Capital Investments
Group, and he likes this new high-speed train, zipping along on
one of several dozen lines built by the Chinese government in a
decade-long blitzkrieg program that now has a price tag of $500
billion.
This will take a nancial loss for a few years, he says, as the
aerodynamic carriage rocks and sways. But 10 to 20 years from
now? This will turn out to be a great investment. I mean, look at
it now. Its full! He puts down his bag of pistachios to gesture to
the car, where drowsy travelers are hidden behind newspapers,
young hipsters are nodding along with their earbuds, and a
group of policemen are playing a voluble game of cards: a
workaday commuter scene in front of a hallucinogenic smear of
color outside the windows.
Chinas extraordinary high-speed train enterprise, ocially
launched in 2007, has often been held up as a grand case study
for how a determined nation can build its way to prosperity.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has admiringly
termed it a moon shot of technological condence, of a piece
with Chinas front-line work in aviation, biosciences, and
electric cars. Trains make dozens of departures a day from
supermodern stations with indoor gardens and mirror-like
oors; the lead cars are needle-nosed, their trailing bodies
majestic and sleek as swans; and young attendants in zinfan-
del-colored uniforms and berets serve wine, beer, and coee.
The trains eat up the journey from Beijing to Shanghai
roughly the same distance as that between New York and
Chicagoin slightly less than ve hours. More than 6,000 miles
of dedicated track connect these and other major cities, and the
eight-hour run between Beijing and Guangzhou is the longest
bullet-train line in the world. A majority of Chinese cities with
populations over a half-million are supposed to be connected
within the next 15 years.
Shrinking commute times are expanding the horizons of
where employees can live and, as railroads always do, are
boosting the value of land near train stations. Although some
lines have struggled to nd their customers, total ridership has
been relatively healthy thus far: about 1.3 million people
roughly a quarter of Chinese rail usersclimb aboard each day.
Airlines have had to cut routes because of lost business.
But building so much in such a short period has necessitated
dangerous shortcuts. Thousands of miles of track may not be up
to international design standards. Forty passengers died in an
accident that revealed a culture of deep-set and spectacular
corruption, involving the embezzlement of millions of dollars.
And the half-trillion-dollar enterprise rests on nancing so
shaky that work ground to a crawl in 2011, when the ministry
responsible for the project couldnt service its debt or pay
hundreds of millions of dollars in billsrequiring Beijings
direct intervention. The state-owned group building roughly
half of the rail encountered the very same problem in the fall of
2013, when it ran out of cash. In January, the companys
president accidentally fell to his death from the window of his
Shanghai apartment.
The decision to radically accelerate rail is one manifestation
of Beijings eort to push breathless economic growth through
massive infrastructure projects. The goal has been to make
China a moderately prosperous society by 2020. But, today,
the rail projects underlying nancial dysfunction is representa-
tive of much broader and deeper aws in Chinas overall
economic strategy.
All this is to say that those who consider Chinas empire of rail
a model of infrastructure development ought to take a more
critical lookand that countries gazing with understandable
envy at the sleek marvels crisscrossing the Middle Kingdom
should measure twice before they cut their rst piece of rail.
HIGHSPEED RAIL MAY BE a contemporary obsession, but it
was invented decades ago by a Japanese engineer named Hideo
Shima, who demonstrated in 1957 that a lightweight carriage
could be made to travel at game-changing speeds by feeding
power through a motor straight to each wheel. Electricity could
be channeled to the train through a set of overhead wires and a
pantographa method similar to that used for years by city
streetcarsexcept that the whole apparatus had to be on a
dedicated track kept free of road crossings and sharp curves.
Shimas breakthrough attracted the attention of the head of
Japanese National Railways, a curmudgeonly career bureaucrat
named Shinji Sogo, who thought it was the right tool to save his
beloved railway from obscurity at a time when automobiles
were all the rage in the United States and Japan. Sogonick-
named Old Man Thunder for his yellingdeliberately fudged
the estimated price tag of an inaugural link from Tokyo to
Osaka. Acknowledging only half the cost of the project, he
blustered his way through red tape to win approval for the
Shinkansen, or main truck line. The sleek and graceful train,
designed to look like an airplanes fuselage, debuted in time for
the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and became a symbol of
postwar Japanese pride and know-how. (France would develop
its high-speed rail, TGV, from the same platform.)
In late-1990s China, the Ministry of Railways was eager to
FOREI GN POLI CY
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make room on its lines for an increasing number of freight cars,
so it began phasing out sluggish passenger trains on short routes
and hustling its long-distance trainsa campaign dubbed
Speed Up. The maximum locomotive speed was bumped from
30 to 100 miles per hour. The systems total capacity opened up,
and the distance traveled by an average passenger more than
doubled. The ministry laid a pilot set of high-speed tracks in
northern China, began planning the Beijing-Shanghai link, and
in 2004 awarded a series of contracts to companies from France,
Germany, and Japan.
The Ministry of Railways (a secretive bureaucracy nicknamed
Boss Rail) purchased complete train sets from manufacturers
like Alstom, Siemens, and Kawasakias well as the technology
for brake systems, traction converters, and control networks,
which the Chinese then assembled in their own factories.
Chinas needle-nosed bullet trains can look quite distinctive
with their white livery paint and CRHChina Railway
High-Speedin thick black block letters. But some are the
Siemens Velaro model (a version of which set a
2006 world speed record at 250 mph); others are
Alstom New Pendolinos (the favorite of Richard
Bransons Virgin Trains in Britain); still others are
the Zero 250 type, made by the Canadian
company Bombardier and equipped with 480
beds. Nearly all high-speed train models that
China uses today have been retted with new
domestic-made parts, reverse-engineered once
the patented machinery was safely within the
country.
This process, which the government euphemis-
tically calls digestion and re-innovation,
demonstrates Chinas genius for improving
foreign technology, a skill once dominated by the
Japanese, and it set the course for a home-built
industry that would soon be able to export its own
train sets and parts. For a country that was still
manufacturing and using coal-red steam trains
as recently as the late 1990s, the rapid absorption
of high-speed rail marked noteworthy progress.
But it wasnt enough to support an economy that,
by 2003, was growing 10 percent annually and needed faster
infrastructure to support its smoke-spewing factories and
instant cities.
In 2008, the U.S. nancial crisis soured the world economy,
but the downturn was a great gift for Chinese rail. If you were
trying to dream up a tool for creating low-skilled employment,
generating big construction contracts, and laying the founda-
tions for continuing industrial prowess, you would have a hard
time doing better than high-speed rail. There are jobs for
everyone on the socioeconomic spectrumfrom top managers,
to university-trained engineers, to sales agents, to running
crews, to factory foremen, to shovel gangs.
On Nov. 9, 2008a hinge moment in railroad historythe
central government announced a giant national stimulus
package, and the following year it revealed that the largest
chunk of money would go to improve public infrastructure.
Investment in rail projects soared from $49 billion to $88 billion
within the space of a year. And the original plan was to open 42
high-speed lines within the next three years. Not since Czar
Alexander III built the Trans-Siberian Railway had a central
authority taken on such an ambitious rail project.
The irony of Beijings embrace of high-speed trains is clear to
those who know the countrys history. After British companies
pried their way into China with gunboats during the Opium
Wars in the mid-1800s, they urged their reluctant hosts to build
railways. Initially resistant to the re cart and fearing an
inux of cheap imported goods, the Qing dynastywith an eye
toward opening up coal mines in the countrys interioreven-
tually capitulated and allowed foreign contractors to build
several lines. Chinese army strategists also realized that, with
the help of a railway, one soldier can have the impact of a
dozenand that rail could be used to ght the British if they
ever invaded again.
In the end, however, the real threat to the Chinese govern-
ment came from all the short-term borrowing it engaged in to
build the rst lines. The national debt metastasized to crushing
levels, and with the government unable to keep up with loan
payments, foreign banks were only too happy to foreclose on the
railways assets. The entire system was under foreign control by
the turn of the century, one more insult to a
population that was already roiling amid its
so-called century of humiliation at the hands
of the West.
That public resentment fueled the Boxer
Rebelliona violent assault on Christians and
foreigners, which began in 1899and was
further stoked by the Boxers defeat at the
hands of foreign troops and by the indemnities
that France, Germany, Britain, and the United
States subsequently demanded. The Qing
dynasty was weakened, and, in 1911, protests
broke out nationwide. One of the worst ash
points was the nationalization of the Sich-
uan-Hankou railway, which ran through Hubei
province and had been nanced by locals.
Furious over the loss of their savings, thou-
sands of protesters gathered in Sichuan, and
troops red into the crowds, killing dozens. The
attempt to crush the Railway Protection
Movement, as these anti-Qing groups were
called, ultimately failed, embarrassing the
dynasty and fueling demands for a new form of government.
The next year, the Chinese imperial systemwhich had stood
for more than 2,000 years in the hands of various family
dynastiescollapsed. It had survived plagues, invasions,
famines, civil wars, and droughts, but it was rail that nally
tipped it over the edge.
ONE HUNDRED YEARS LATER, another railway line running
through the very same province put Chinas central government
under pressure once again.
March is not typically the wettest month in the Yangtze River
valley, but in 2012 the spring thunderstorms had been heavy.
Rain pounded the newly built Wuhan-Yichang line, slowly but
surely weakening the rail bed running through Hubeis crop
eldsuntil nally nine kilometers of rail sank several millime-
ters before collapsing altogether. The entire section needed to
be replaced. The line was temporarily taken out of commission,
and hundreds of laborers were set to work night and day shoring
the damage and laying new concrete rails with heavy equip-
ment. The director of Hubeis construction bureau told the Wall
Street Journal that the rain was not to blame. If the rain could
Uni que among
today s maj or
worl d powers,
Chi na has
the dubi ous
advantage
of bei ng abl e
to draw trai n
l i nes at i ts
pl easure
whi l e i gnori ng
free market
pressures.
MARCH/APRI L 2014
48
destroy a railway line, then what kind of a project is that? he
asked, perhaps missing the irony.
It was an apt question. The week before, Chinese media
reported that managers of the project had not used chipped rock,
known as spall, within the foundation, as had been ordered.
Instead, they had substituted ordinary soil, which is cheaper,
and had pocketed the dierence. After interviewing a mole
within the Ministry of Railways, the Global Times, a mouthpiece
of the Communist Party, wrote that substitutions like this had
been common over the years and amount[ed] to building a
house on the foundation of cake. Indeed, the collapse spoke to a
serious defect potentially underlying thousands of miles of
tracknot just in the soil but in the concrete.
Concrete is the sine qua non of Chinas whole rail empire
because much of the track bed is elevated on giant gray stilts to
carry trains over small farms, creeks, dirt roads, and whatever
else might be in the way. The 819-mile line from Beijing to
Shanghai, for example, is up on a viaduct for some 80 percent of
its length, supported by a set of relentless marching columns,
each about 15-feet thick and varying in height according to the
undulating landscape. The columns were supposed to be made
of a blend of gravel, cement, and a strengthening product called
y ash, which was to be harvested from the smokestacks of
Chinas coal-red power plants.
In 2008, when the rail project went into high gear, the China
Railway First Survey and Design Institute estimated that there
was enough supply of high-quality y ash to build approximate-
ly 100 kilometers of high-speed track a year. But Chinas
breakneck building program far exceeded that pace and, in fact,
required more y ash than all the coal plants on the planet could
have produced. So some construction rms abridged the recipe
to meet tight deadlines, buying substandard y ash and using
their pull with the government to bypass normal quality-control
procedures.
As a result, much of the concrete in Chinas 6,000-mile rail
system is brittle and prone to collapse. Southwest Jiaotong
Universitys Zhu Ming told the South China Morning Post in 2011
that if China continues to opt for low-quality y ash, judgment
day could come within ve years of laying the track. The
infrastructural integrity of the rail, he said, will not present
small problems such as occasional cracks and slips that delay
trains for hours, but the big problems that will postpone an
entire line for days, if not weeks.
When that happens, Zhu said, the miracle of Chinese
high-speed rail will be reduced to dust. (The Ministry of
Transport, the State Railways Administration, and China
Railway Corp. did not respond to FOREIGN POLICYs request for
comment.)
High-speed construction, rather than quality, seems to have
been the top priority for much of Chinas great high-speed
railway surge. Jan Moorlag, a project manager who worked for a
Dutch contracting rm on the Wuhan-Guangzhou line, recalled
that his section of rail was set to open in December 2009. During
the construction of a six-mile-long tunnel, however, the project
started to fall behind. So a local contractor went to his Chinese
boss and told him that the Ministry of Railways should be told of
the delay, Moorlag explained. Well, I think this guy would have
rather have hanged himself than lose face, he said. The boss
made phone calls all night long, and by the next morning, there
were 500 extra people at the job site. Within a week, everything
was back on schedule. The project is always delivered on
timeperiod, Moorlag said.
Rail construction in China has often been marked by this
bizarre melding of the superfast and the primitive. The crews
called up on short notice are little more than human shovel
brigades, without even basic machinery like bulldozers.
Theres not much mechanical equipment on those job sites,
Moorlag said. They have people, and people are cheaper.
Struck by the simple country muscle of this large-scale con-
struction project, he documented the eorts in a photo album,
which shows workers hauling agstones by hand and pouring
wet concrete out of handcarts.
The haste not only undermined quality control during
construction, but it handicapped analysis that should have been
conducted before workers ever turned the rst spade of earth.
We really could not guarantee the quality of our construction
work, an unnamed engineer on some of the rail projects told
Du Junxiao, an editor of the Peoples Daily, in 2011. For some
projects, the steps of survey, design, and construction were all
done at the same time. Some projects were handled even worse
and didnt even go through these three steps.
Another project engineer told Du that he, himself, would
never take high-speed rail for fear of his life. Du commented,
Since those who participated in the construction of the HSR
[high-speed rails] dare not ride them, there must be serious
problems.
Sure enough, on July 23, 2011, near the city of Wenzhou, a train
proceeded through dark territorythat is, a patch of line
uncovered by signalsand rammed into the rear of a stalled train
cleared to enter the same stretch of track. The impact knocked
three carriages o a viaduct and 65 feet down to the ground
below, killing 40 people. The rst ocial response was drenched
in Mao-style opacity. Newspapers across China were directed to
run only brief stories. Do not question. Do not elaborate,
warned Chinas Propaganda Department in a memo. One of the
mangled carriages was immediately buried on the scene
(authorities claimed they needed the space for rescue staging),
and lawyers were warned not to bring any liability cases.
Then-Premier Wen Jiabao promised to get to the heart of what
had happened, and in December 2011 the government released
an uncommonly blunt report that concluded, The disastrous
crash was caused by serious design aws in the train control
system, inadequate safety procedures implemented by the
authorities, and poor emergency response to system failure. A
signaling device had been knocked out of commission when it
was struck by lightning, and though such devices commonly have
backup systems, the report suggested that the haste to get the rail
up and running might have led builders to cut corners.
The government red 54 Ministry of Railways employees after
the investigation, but the top management was already gone. Five
months before the crash, Liu Zhijun, the head of the ministry and
architect of the massive rail expansion, had been arrested on
charges of abuse of power and corruption, accused of pocketing
at least $10 million. According to the New Yorkers Evan Osnos,
who has reported extensively on the ministry, Lius ambitions
were to bribe his way onto the Party Central Committee and,
eventually, the Politburo.
The scandal that ensued revealed that Liu had also, years
earlier, used his inuence to secure industry positions for his
brother, Liu Zhixiang, who promptly abused his authority. Liu
Zhixiangs role as vice chief of the Wuhan Railway Bureau came
to an abrupt stop in 2006, when he was sentenced to deatha
FOREI GN POLI CY
49
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punishment later commuted to 16 years in prison for corrup-
tion, embezzlement, and murder. He had hired someone to stab
to death a contractor who planned to expose him. (Osnos
reported, According to an ocial legal journal, [the contractor]
had predicted in his will: If I am killed, it will have been at the
hand of corrupt ocial Liu Zhixiang.)
In July 2013, Liu Zhijun was convicted and given a suspended
death sentence. The laudatory recounting of his accomplish-
ments was scrubbed from ocial histories of the high-speed
project, but the aws in the rail network, both physical and
nancial, were not so easily erased. Ocials later found that $28
million had been embezzled from the Beijing-Shanghai link
alone.
The central government tried to show the world that it took
widespread corruption seriously. In March 2013, it dissolved the
Ministry of Railways and charged the Ministry of Transport,
whose portfolio had never included trains, with overseeing the
safety and regulation of the railways. The State Railways
Administration is now responsible for inspections. And China
Railway Corp., which was previously under the purview of the
Ministry of Railways, manages the construction of the countrys
rail system. But some things didnt change. China Railway Corp.
continued to work with its main engineering contractors, China
Railway Group and China Railway Construction Corp.both of
which are state-owned and ranked by Forbes as among the largest
companies in the world.
DEFENDERS OF CHINA S HIGHSPEED RAIL have pointed out
that a complex national system that carries 1.3 million passen-
gers a day while having sustained only a few dozen known
fatalities in seven years is operating quite safelymore safely
than the worlds aviation industry. But a culture of cutting
corners to meet production goals pervades factories and mines
as well, and China has the highest number of industrial deaths
and accidents in the world. This human cost is one of the
hallmarks of Beijings insistence on breakneck GDP growth.
Rapid growth has also incurred a high degree of nancial risk.
Chinas formula of spending money to make money on
infrastructure projects, such as rail, may not balance out if they
do not, in the end, make money. Are they doing high-speed rail
because they need it, or are they doing this to meet a GDP
target? asked Ruchir Sharma, the head of emerging markets at
Morgan Stanley Investment Management, in an interview with
FP. When a country tries to grow by relying on debt, it always
leads to trouble.
Rely on debt it did. In 2008, after China announced a $586
billion national stimulus packageover $146 billion of which
was directed to railit became clear that the central govern-
ment would not directly provide most of the money. Instead, it
simply signaled to banks that infrastructure projects, which
accounted for nearly three-quarters of the stimulus, would be
approved. Lending targets were increased and interest rates
were decreased, and Chinese banks nanced a spurt of
construction.
The credit infusion has been largely a family aair, as the
Chinese Big Four megabanksChina Construction Bank,
Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and
Agricultural Bank of Chinaare state enterprises that take in
small deposits from millions of households and lend out
mountainous sums to fund national and local capital projects.
H
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MARCH/APRI L 2014
50
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Whether the ventures will ever generate enough revenue to
repay the loans has often been a secondary concern to the
central government. But that means banks could be left
holding a slew of nonperforming loansand that is what has
happened with rail.
Unique among todays major world powers, China has the
dubious advantage of being able to draw train lines at its
pleasure while ignoring free market pressures. The World Bank
agged this as a problem in 2009. The availability and sources
of railway nance are major challenges, it reported, particular-
ly since many of those proposed rail projects that are driven by
regional economic development aims are likely to be not
commercially viable, irrespective of their wider economic and
social benets.
The worlds longest bullet-train line, from Beijing to Guang-
zhou, is struggling to nd its market. The eight-hour ride is not
competitive with a three-hour airplane trip, and even the
state-run Beijing News told its readers that the slightly cheaper
fare just isnt worth the time. Beneath the shiny exterior of
Chinas sleek new trains, the economic reality, at least so far, has
been bleak.
Things came to a head in 2011, when the Ministry of Railways
ran out of money and credit, leaving it unable to make its loan
payments or pay its contractors, whom it owed hundreds of
millions of dollars. Although the ministry was an arm of the
central government, it had been responsible for taking out
loans to fund its projects. Work on the railways screeched to a
near halt until the central government stepped in, directly
paying some of the ministrys obligations and guaranteeing its
debt. This reopened the credit taps temporarily.
The 2013 reorganization of the ministry was supposed to
make rail operations more sustainable. But it hasnt: The same
problems are cropping up yet again. Last year, China Railway
Group couldnt service its debt while also paying its thousands
of workers. In October 2013, the company reported a debt-to-
asset ratio of 85 percent, indicating a high level of nancial
risk. And the future doesnt appear to be much brighternot
unless China Railway Corp., which is also struggling, manages
to cough up the hundreds of millions of dollars that it owes
the construction company. As if China needed a sign that all is
not well, the groups president, Bai Zhongren, fell out of a
window of his fourth-oor apartment. After
the news brokethe company called it an
accident, the media called it a suicidethe
stock of the state-owned, but publicly-trad-
ed company dropped more than 4 percent.
Some Chinese academics openly criticize
high-speed rail as a boondoggle, predicting
a debt disaster. We cant aord this in
China! said Zhao Jian, a professor of
transportation economics at Beijing
Jiaotong University, nearly shouting during
an interview in his oce, a spare room on
an upper oor of a Maoist-era tower. Its
like a $300 million Hollywood movie that
nobody sees.
The problem is not so much that China
Railway Corp. could default. Rather, the
issue is whether the problems facing
high-speed rail are only one manifestation
of a massive overinvestment in unneeded
infrastructurean unsustainable approach whose risk is
obscured by the fact that much of the debt is not on Chinas
balance sheet, but rather on the books of state banks and local
governments. Chinese companies had accumulated more than
$12 trillion in debt by the end of 2013, according to Standard &
Poors. The question is how much of that debt is badand how
much the central government could be obligated to cover.
Beijing is already tightening credit and introducing market
reforms to its banking sector, and many analysts think that the
governments ability to manage any potential defaults along the
way is strong. Behind all this, said Peter Petri, professor of
international nance at Brandeis University, is an economy
with $4 trillion in cash reserves. In other words, China is not on
the cusp of a subprime mortgage-like crisis.
But some analysts are more concerned, pointing to, among
other things, Chinas sharply increasing debt-to-GDP ratio. The
brokerage rm Crdit Lyonnais Securities Asia, historically
bullish on China, published a nervous report in May 2013
concluding that China is addicted to debt to fuel growth and
suggesting that the country would have to go into the economic
version of a rehab clinic to get spending under control. The
high-speed hangover may loom for years.
Admittedly, not all of rails economic benets can be
expressed on a balance sheet. The ocial argument in favor of
high-speed rails high-speed rollout is that it has boosted
short-term employment2.5 million temporary jobs within 10
yearswhile leaving behind a long-term asset. Faster access
from the archipelago of factories around Guangzhou, for
example, means that containers full of goods can be shipped
more quickly to ports. Getting slower passenger trains o the
conventional rails opens them up to more freight trac, where
the real money can be made. In manufacturing, a days
advantage can translate into hundreds of millions of dollars.
With improved rail service, China can now ship three times the
amount of freight that it did in the 1990s, which means it can
exploit coal seams far from urban centers, just as the Qing
dynasty had once hoped. And the railways allow workers to
commute farther, fasterincreasing labor mobility and
economic opportunity.
Yet its not clear that your average worker can actually take
advantage of this opportunity. A persistent internal complaint
Attendants in
Chongqing prepare
to board a new bullet
train bound for Beijing
on Jan. 11, 2011.
FOREI GN POLI CY
51
about Chinas high-speed rail is that it was built for the rich
high-income business travelers, like David Su of Global Capital
Investments Groupat the expense of the reliable network of
conventional trains the country has operated for more than 100
years. A new piece of slang has cropped up in Beijing: bei gaosu,
which means you have been compelled to take high-speed rail.
This is roughly equivalent to Youre screwed!
One of the greatest tests of high-speed rail for Chinas working
poor comes during mid-winters Lunar New Year, when factory
toilers return to their villages for reunion dinners. Over 40 days,
Chinese take an estimated 258 million rail trips. But in 2013 few
bought bullet train tickets because they can cost three-quarters
of the average $100 monthly salary. Saving time doesnt matter
to me. Saving money does. I think the main concern for every
migrant worker is about money, said hospital janitor Liang
Xiuxia in an interview with China Daily, explaining why she was
willing to sit on an ordinary train and a bus for 15 hours.
There have been signs that Chinese rail is moving in a more
democratic direction, albeit under pressure. After the Wen-
zhou crash, ocials not only slowed trains on the Bei-
jing-Shanghai route to a top speed of 186 mph
(from the previous 236 mph), but they also
oered cheaper tickets. In 2011, Railways Vice
Minister Hu Yadong said that the satisfaction
of the people would now be the basic
requirement for evaluating railway work.
DESPITE ITS MANY PROBLEMS, Chinas
high-speed rail boom has resonated around the
worldeven, to some extent, in the United
States.
To date, the American experience with
high-speed rail has been an expensive disap-
pointment. Amtrak spent $661 million for what
it called the Acela between Boston and
Washington, but the trains ungainly design and
shared tracks keep its average speed at a poky
75 mph. So in 2009, President Barack Obama
guaranteed $8 billion total in matching funds to
any states willing to embrace the vision of a 180
mph ride between cities. Over the next two
years, Republican governors killed high-speed
rail projects in Ohio, Florida, and Wisconsin,
leaving California as the largest recipient of the federal
largesse. Even there, lawsuits over cost and environmental
issues have hampered progress, but Gov. Jerry Brown remains a
voluble supporter. He rode the line from Shanghai to Beijing on
a tour in April 2013. People here do stu, the governor told
reporters, with obvious envy. They dont sit around and mope
and process and navel-gaze. The rest of the world is moving at
Mach speed.
Californias interest in China is being reciprocated. Another
passenger on Browns train was Jiang Lay, a designer and
engineer for Tangshan Railway Vehicle Co., a China-based
locomotive manufacturer. We are very interested in California,
he told the Los Angeles Times. We are very condent that our
Chinese technology can be successful in America. Manufactur-
ers are already plotting the same joint ventures that rst
brought traction motors and signals to China. And the Califor-
nia High-Speed Rail Authority has said it may tap sovereign
wealth fundssuch as the China Investment Corp., with which
talks have already begunto defray the $68 billion needed to
build a line connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco. This
would put big rail debt on two continents, even as the economic
benets are still being sorted out.
Meanwhile, Morocco is planning to lay tracks for a real-life
Marrakesh Express to Tangier that will stretch 350 miles. By the
end of 2015, Saudi Arabia expects to run its rst test of the
Haramain High-Speed Railway, designed to whisk pilgrims from
Jeddahs airport to Meccaordinarily an hours drivein
around 30 minutes. Vietnamese ocials recently considered a
scheme to unite the former warring capitals of Hanoi and Ho
Chi Minh City with a 720-mile track.
China is only too happy to help. Experienced gandy-dancing
rms from Beijing and Shanghai are proposing lines in places
as disparate as Kenya, Israel, Colombia, Venezuela, Turkey, and
Russia in an ocial sales policy that the central government
has termed Go Abroad. In Burma, a Chinese rm has
partnered with the government to build train-production
facilities. If nothing else, China is now the undisputed leader
in this sector, or as a member of the Chinese Academy of
Engineering recently told the reliably national-
istic Global Times, High-speed rail is to China
what watches are to Switzerland, electric
appliances to Japan, and machinery to
Germany.
Beijings geopolitical ambitions are in play as
well. In 2013, the government of Laos agreed to
let a Chinese company blast a railway through its
hills to connect Chinas Yunnan province to
Singapore by 2019. There is serious consider-
ation of connecting Germany to a New Silk
Road of Asia, in which all rapid-transit lines
lead to Beijing. Chinas leaders now use the
phrase high-speed rail diplomacy. With tracks
that will reach inside other Asian countries,
China is creating a whole new economic
paradigmone that it will control because
high-speed rail isnt usually built to ship cargo. It
moves something even more important: people.
With high-speed rail, China will be able to
supplant small businesses in neighboring
countries, ooding the zone with its own class
of mobile merchants. This will build grassroots
nancial and cultural inuence that will quickly translate into
political clout. The reshaping of Southeast Asia on a rmament
of railroad tracks would give China an enormous advantage in
dictating regional trade policy. Militarily, the bullet trains will
serve a function understood by every ghting general since
Nathan Bedford Forrest: Git thar fustest with the mostest.
High-speed rail would provide China with almost unbeatable
regional power projection in Asia.
Of course, all this assumes the empire of rail can nd its way to
rmer structural and nancial footing. China displayed boldness
and grandeur in deciding to wire up its major cities with such a
futuristic tool. Now it just has to nd a way to make it work.
Tom Zoellner is an associate professor of English at Chapman
University and the author, most recently, of Train: Riding the
Rails That Created the Modern WorldFrom the Trans-
Siberian to the Southwest Chief, from which parts of this article
were adapted.
A new pi ece
of sl ang has
cropped up
i n Bei j i ng:
bei gaosu,
whi ch means
you have been
compel l ed
to take hi gh-
speed rai l .
Thi s i s roughl y
equi val ent to
You re
screwed!
Thousands of children,
including this young
girl, have been accused
of sorcery in the
Democratic Republic
of the Congo.
[WE WILL KILL THE DEMONS]
ON VA
TUER
LES DEMONS
FEAR, FAITH, AND
THE HUNT FOR
CHILD SORCERERS
IN CONGO.
TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHS
BY DENI BCHARD
MARCH/APRI L 2014
54
It was after midnight in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic
Republic of the Congo, but the service was just getting under way.
The pastor, Pierre Pinda Buana, wore a simple, blue button-down
shirt. Its acrylic shimmered as he moved around the center of the
roomsmooth, practiced, condent. For almost an hour, Pinda
led his congregation through songs and chants, the fervor in the
church mounting. Then he preached about the main event they
had all come to witness: exorcism.
Charles, a Congolese friend of mine, who asked that I not use
his real name, translated Pindas words from Lingala, a local
language, to French. But the cries, clapping, and ululations of the
crowd often drowned out his voice.
Pinda began describing a demon that was living in the body
of a woman who stood before him, almost entirely blocked from
my sight by the crowd: Its attacking the heart. Its attacking
the stomach. It strikes faster than an arrow. He called out to the
demon, asking why it wanted to kill the woman.
Electrical contacts crackledI glimpsed a church assistant
crouched over a fuse box in the rear doorwayand the bulb
dangling above Pinda went dark. Light fell inward from the
corners of the room, yellow and angular. Suddenly, the woman
collapsed onto the ground and began shouting. The crowd
pressed in around her as she writhed and arched her back.
Elle ditCharles told meshe is saying the spirit wanted to
kill her in her sleep because she had a good future. The spirit
wanted to destroy the hope in her.
Pinda spoke in a commanding voice, and the woman replied,
every word staccato, like a glottal stop. The demon was speaking
through the woman, Charles said, and resisting the exorcism. Pin-
da repeated deliverance again and again, his voice echoing in
the churchs speakers. The center bulb ared back on as he
pointed down at the woman and cried out for the demon to leave.
The people in the crowd pressed in even more tightly, lifting their
arms. Each time the demon told Pinda it would not go, the pastor
raised his voice and the crowd clamored, calling out to Jesus.
Suddenly, the people fell silent. The woman had closed her
eyes. Those nearest to her hunched
down, touching her as they prayed. In
the background, a keyboardist in the
churchs band played a few soothing
chords on a synthesizer.
The exorcism was surreal to an
outsider standing in the clutch of
believersa startling glimpse into
what, for most people in the room,
was a typical church service. Yet the
most striking thing about the scene
was that, despite the alleged cries of a
demon, the professed presence of evil,
the crowd never appeared scared of
the exorcismonly impassioned.
They were wary, however, of a
cluster of children huddled in one
corner of the room. Occasionally, a
congregant would look over at these
children in the shadows, most of them
asleep. No one but Pindas assistants
went near them.
Charles, a university-educated,
deeply religious man in his 30s whom
I had met while working on a book
project and who had agreed to serve as my guide to Kinshasas
churches, had hesitated to come that night because he knew
the children would be there. They would be central to the
services nale, he explained: Pinda would exorcise them of
malevolent spirits that are particularly dangerous when they
possess the young.
Before the service, as the congregation waited on the dirt road
outside the church, Charles had appeared nervous, arms crossed
and shoulders drawn in. At one point, a church assistant walked
outside and pushed his foot into a rut between the road and a
sewers concrete edge, prodding at what looked like a pile of
rags. A child sat up; he had been sleeping next to the gutter and
was covered in dirt. People in the crowd pulled back or stared,
their eyes wide. The assistant nudged the boy, at most 5 or 6
years old, toward the church. He walked like any half-asleep
child, slouched and staggering. He lost a disintegrating shoe
and stopped to kick at it repeatedly until his foot went in. People
parted to let him pass.
Charles backed away and took my arm. Leaning close, he
whispered, Cest un enfant sorcierIts a child sorcerer.
OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS, during several visits to
Kinshasa, I heard terrifying rumorsof children who strangle
parents in their sleep or eat the hearts of their siblings. Of swarms
of children ying through the skies at night, stealing money or
deliberately causing illnesses like HIV and polio.
These children, people said, are sorcerers. They are possessed
by dark powers that cause them to commit nefarious, even
murderous deeds. To prevent child sorcerers from mischief or
worse, people told me, their families should reject them and
society should shun them. Or they should be taken to church80
percent of Congolese are Christianwhere a pastor can perform
exorcisms in the name of God. Congos wildly popular glises de
rveil (revival churches)an umbrella term for sects rooted in a
mix of Pentecostal, charismatic, and prophetic beliefs, as well as
local superstitions about dark magicare more than willing to
INSIDE A SMALL CONCRETE
CHURCH, LIT BY A FEW
TUNGSTEN BULBS HANGING
FROM EXPOSED WIRES,
HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE STOOD
PACKED TOGETHER IN STIFLING
HEAT, REPEATING THE WORDS
THEIR PASTOR BELLOWED INTO
A MICROPHONE.
ON VA TUER LES DEMONS
WE WILL KILL THE DEMONS.
FOREI GN POLI CY
55
oblige.
Indeed, the hysteria over child sorcery has spurred a frighten-
ing witch hunt, with devastating results. According to UNICEF
in 2013, Congolese children accused of sorcery number in the
thousands. People experiencing hardship (a sudden illness,
the loss of a job, the death of a relative) often search for a child
to blame and nd one in their own families. Some of these
children are killed, but far more are abandoned, left to join
Kinshasas tens of thousands of street children. Or they are
dragged to churches, where they may well nd further misery.
According to Human Rights Watch, alleged child sorcerers taken
to churches may be denied food and water, whipped until they
confess, or sexually abused. [M]ore than 2,000 churches
practice deliverance in Kinshasa alone, the organization has
reported. Similarly, in a 2013 report about Congo, the U.S. State
Department described exorcisms of children accused of
witchcraft involving isolation, beating and whipping, starva-
tion, and forced ingestion of purgatives.
This is not an isolated phenomenon. Although the situation
is dicult to quantify precisely, UNICEF has found that
accusations of witchcraft against children are on the rise
across sub-Saharan Africa. Yet the problem is so pervasive in
Congoin Kinshasa and elsewherethat the country passed
a law in 2009 banning allegations against children. To date,
it appears to have had little eect.
Many writers and anthropologists, such as Mike Davis in his
book Planet of Slums, have explained whats happening in Congo
as a product of poverty: Families unable to feed or otherwise sup-
port their children accuse them of sorcery to get them o their
hands. Some Congolese activists describe the problem in similar
terms. I think its a trick so they [families] can get rid of them,
said Marie Marguerite Djokaba, of the Network of Educators for
Street Children and Youth (REEJER), in an interview. The child
sorcerer problem is related to the economic situation. Its an
excuse to kick children out.
But this explanation of poverty and convenience feels
incomplete; it doesnt account for how utter societal break-
down in Congoa country with a life expectancy of about 50
years and a GDP per capita of around $300intertwines with
religion. Revival churches, their leaders, and the extreme
beliefs they promote oer a way for people to cope with a place
like Kinshasa. Coined Kin la Belle (Kin the Beautiful) during
the colonial era, the Congolese capitalwith its sprawling
slums, its widespread sickness, its refugees of the countrys
wars, and its scarce opportunitynow sports the nickname
Kin la Poubelle (The Trash Can).
The Kinois, as the citys residents are known, seem to be
searching for some semblance of power over their lives: a way to
understand it, control it, eliminate the terrible from it. Tragically,
religious faith that promises protection from eviland that
locates the source of that evil in beings as vulnerable and ever
present as childrenhas become an answer.
THE HISTORY OF RELIGION IN CONGO is one of
worldviews colliding and then merging. A belief in spirits and
magic long held a place in the traditions of the Bantu, the people
who began spreading out from what is now southwestern Nigeria
into central Africa thousands of years ago. After the Portuguese
introduced Catholicism to coastal Congo at the end of the 15th
century, traditional beliefs coexisted with Christianity. Many
Congolese attended church while still seeking out witch doctors
for guidance and healing. This transformation occurred along-
side a series of massive social and economic disruptions: the slave
trade and, eventually, the rule of Belgiums King Leopold II,
whose administrators enslaved Congos population to harvest
rubber and ivory.
Though the rst Western Pentecostal evangelists visited Congo
in the early 20th century, a larger wave came after the end of
colonialism, preaching the promise of a more direct connection
between God and believers, as well as the power of divine healing.
Pentecostals see the role of healing as good news for the poor
and aicted, Allan Anderson, an expert on religion at the
University of Birmingham, has written. The promotion of signs
and wonders, he also notes, is what led to the rapid growth of
Pentecostal churches in many parts of the world.
Yet, like other Christian traditions in Congo, Pentecostal-
isms inuence was repressed during the dictatorship of
Mobutu Sese Seko, who ruled from 1965 to 1997. With U.S.
support during the Cold War, Mobutu pillaged his countrys
vast mineral wealth and hoarded state earnings in Swiss bank
accounts, but he also eschewed Western inuences on
Congolese culture. He forbade the use of Christian names and
emphasized traditional African beliefs. His payments to witch
doctors took up 3 percent of the governments budget (more
than the entire Health Ministry). During the 1974 World Cup,
he even sent a plane full of witch doctors to cast spells on his
countrys opponents. (His team lost, badly.)
When Mobutu nally lifted restrictions on the activities of
churches in 1990, Pentecostalism began expanding as Congos
social fabric was torn apart. Economic despair and political
unrest already reigned by the time Mobutu fell from power, and
the country soon descended into a war involving seven
neighboring states, among them Rwanda, Uganda, and Angola.
Funded by the global demand for Congolese resources, such as
gold, diamonds, and coltana mineral required for hand-held
electronicsthe war killed more than 5 million people, the
majority through disease and starvation.
Since then, conict and poverty have continued to wrack
Congo. Today in Kinshasa, a megaslum of between 8 million and
10 million (estimates vary and censuses are outdated), people are
subject to all manner of predation. Soldiers and police routinely
demand bribes from the poor, who can barely aord to eat;
dilapidated taxi-vans dubbed les esprits des morts (the spirits of
the dead) veer wildly through trac, indierent to pedestrians;
and organized gangs of young men called kulunas, after the
Portuguese word for an army column, raid poor neighborhoods
at night. Diseases like HIV/AIDS, cholera, typhoid, yellow fever,
hepatitis, tuberculosis, and dysentery are rampant.
According to Jos Mvuezolo Bazonzi, a political scientist at the
University of Kinshasa, the brutality of life in Congo has created
the ideal conditions for revival churches to ourish, from a
limited presence in the early 1990s to a thriving, inescapable one
today. (An evening drive through Kinshasa reveals many
half-built glises de rveil, the congregations often visible where
the walls are unnished. Eight of the 13 faith-based radio stations
in the capital belong to revival churches, as do nine of the 11
Christian TV stations.) Rejecting forms of authority that seem
only to be failing, and oering both solidarity and agency
through faith, the glises de rveil owe their popularity, Bazonzi
writes, to the Congolese peoples search for identity, to the
survival of thousands of despairing souls before adversity and
precarious socioeconomic and political circumstances.
MARCH/APRI L 2014
56
The churches popularity also owes to the hybrid faith that they
preach. Revival pastors have grabbed at threads of belief that
arent consistent, but nevertheless appeal to believers seeking
both change and tradition in their lives. Churches have blended
the Bantu conviction that spirits can directly inuence earthly
aairs with the Pentecostal doctrine of spiritual warfare: The
devil tries to destroy souls, and Christians must battle the devil
with faith. Critically, what has been lost from Bantu tradition is
the idea, described by British anthropologist Victor Turner, that
suerers can reconcile their problems with the spirits aicting
them. Instead, because spirits are to blame for suering,
according to contemporary beliefs, the faithful must hunt down
their human intermediaries and drive the evil out.
So people shop for preachers who reportedly have lonction
(unction), the transformative power of God to overcome any
ill or problem. When word gets out that a preacher has cured
blindness, made a cripple walk, or helped someone nd a
joblonction operates in the economic sphere toopeople
ock to his church. The good news in Africa, Pentecostal
preachers declare, is that God meets all the needs of people,
including their spiritual salvation, physical healing, and other
material necessities, Anderson has written.
Pinda, called le prophte by his ock, is known to have great
healing powers. When I visited, a ier on his churchs exterior
wall promised a 14-day marathon of Prophecy and Deliver-
ance and showed pictures of Pinda curing people of ailments.
Many in the crowd at his midnight service were gaunt or sickly;
some leaned on crutches, and one womans face was covered
in a rash. Pinda promised them all liberation from sickness and
pain, if only they believed strongly enough in God.
You must make war in your life, he shouted. God does not
put his trust in doctors. He doesnt trust doctors because they
have their limits. Have faith in the eternal. Doctors cant heal
you. Only the eternal can.
Yet his alleged ability to heal is not what has earned Pinda his
greatest veneration.
The pastors with the most onction, Charles explained to me,
are the ones who can cast the demons out of child sorcerers.
CHILD SORCERERS HAVE BECOME a national
xation in large part because revival churches condemn them as
the most virulent of all evils. While theories about sorcery abound
in Kinshasa, many churches see children as the perfect vectors
for bad spirits to wreak havoc on the world. They cannot be
avoided because there are so many of them all around. And when
spirits invade children, rather than only causing bodily or other
pain, they turn their vessels into sorcerers, hiding behind the
innocent look of youth and inicting harm on others. Child
sorcerers scare people more because we dont know when they
might act or what weapons they might use. Everyone, everyone is
afraid of them, Charles said.
It is true that children are everywhere, requiring care from
families, the state, and churches that cannot always be
provided. Congo has a very high fertility ratesix children
per womanand the countrys median age was just 17 in
2010, according to U.N. statistics. And in Kinshasa specifical-
ly, there is a booming population of homeless children.
Djokaba of REEJER said a 2010 survey suggested some 20,000
children were living on Kinshasas streetsup from 13,000 in
2007. In 2011, UNICEF estimated the numbers at 30,000. These
children are called shegue, an abbreviation of Che Guevara,
People regularly come to
Pastor Pierre Pinda Buanas
church because he is said
to have power over the spirits
that possess children.
FOREI GN POLI CY
57
MARCH/APRI L 2014
58
because of the toughness they require to survive.
Their ubiquity and susceptibility, however, also make children
easy scapegoats. As in the religiously fueled witch hunts of
Europe and America centuries ago, which pursued widows or
solitary women, perhaps children in Congo are accused of sorcery
because they are societys most vulnerable members. Perhaps
some are accused, too, becausein suering or even in fending
for themselvesthey are symbols of the disintegration of family
and communal bonds brought on by Congos decades of struggle.
Belgian anthropologist Filip De Boeck has described Kinshasas
children as the human intersections where the ruptures and
fault lines of an African world in transition
are manifested.
According to UNICEF, anthropologists, and
international and local NGOs, almost
anything can trigger an accusation of sorcery:
not only sickness, death, or other loss within
the family, but also a childs own hunger or
illnesseven precociousness or adolescent
anger. Save the Children has reported that
signs include dirtiness, red lips or eyes,
deafness, ugliness, young body but old face,
epilepsy; being untidy, disobedient, sad,
mentally retarded, impolite, full of hatred,
mysterious, disrespectful, quick-tempered,
unruly; and behaviors like do not sleep
at night or sleep badly, eat a lot wet the bed,
defecate in their clothes, talk to themselves,
sleepwalk, collect rubbish, wander, dont
study, go out even when they are ill.
Children are generally powerless to protest
the accusations and have few places from
which to seek help. The government is more
often an enemy than a friend. In 2013, it
launched an operation called Liko (Punch
in Lingala) to round up delinquents living on
the streets; reportedly, at least 20 people, 12
of them children, were killed. UNICEF, which
has said that 70 percent of street children
receiving assistance from its programs have
been accused of sorcery, provides aid to local
shelters, orphanages, vocational training
programs, and centers that reintegrate
children into their families. But there are
more needy children than resources
available to help them.
Many children accused of sorcery nd
refuge in churches because they have no
other option or because they believe what
is said about them and want helpironically
searching for it in the very institutions
complicit in their misery. I spoke to dozens of
children in Kinshasa accused of sorcery, and
most appeared confused when asked whether they believed they
were possessed. Some simply said no, but others said they must
be since a pastor had told them so. Most looked to the nearest
adult for guidance on how to answer.
In seeking help from churches, children are taking their
chances. Revival churches are not only complicit in ratcheting up
fears of child sorcery, but they also prot from themwhen
parents pay to have their child exorcised and when parishioners
come to see the show. And the churches perpetrate abuse that
only boosts their popularity. Congolese told me of pastors rooting
out spirits by spitting into childrens mouths or pouring the wax
of church candles on their bodies until they confessed. One
pastor reportedly forced a child to stand in a dark room for days,
never letting him sit, and then made him drink olive oil until he
vomited. The pastor inspected the vomit to see whether it
contained human esh or moneyboth alleged signs of sorcery.
Other pastors, however, oer shelter in addition to supersti-
tion. At the church and orphanage Coeur et Mains du Christ
(Heart and Hands of Christ), I met with pastors Jerme Anto
Kashala and Shium Bukassa Shidisha. They
told me about the children they protect,
including one boy whose parents blamed him
for an illness that killed his brother and
accused him of eating the brothers heart. The
parents beat him, tied him up, and cut his
skin repeatedly with a knife, trying to make
him confess. Eventually, they took a discard-
ed tire from trash in the street, put it over
him, and set it on re. He was seriously
burned by the time he was able to ee. Today,
he is working toward a mechanics certicate.
Yet the pastors willingness to care for
children accused of sorcery, it seemed, was
complicated by their religious convictions.
When I asked Kashala and Shidisha whether
they had ever encountered any real child
sorcerers, they glanced nervously at each
other. Well, there was one, Kashala said.
She posed very dicult problems for us, to
the point that she killed another child. She
started giving rotten food to the others until
nally one died.
Charles was with me, and he nodded
gravely, agreeing.
Ultimately, the pastors determined that
the girl could not be saved, and they had no
choice but to send her away from the
orphanage, back to the family that had
chased her away in the rst place.
AFTER SEVERAL HOURS of the
frenzied late-night service, when Pinda
nally called up ve children who had been
quietly sitting in the corner, the room
hushed. The congregants didnt press close
as they had during the earlier exorcisms,
instead stepping back. I was apprehensive,
thinking of the stories of cruel exorcisms.
But the prophet was gentle, encouraging
the children to speak. Their eyes were
cautious, avoiding the crowd. One by one,
they spoke softly, their voices barely audible in Pindas micro-
phone; he lled in where their words trailed o. A 10-year-old girl
explained that, after her mothers death, her father had blamed
her. A boy in a Curious George shirt murmured that his parents
had died and others in his family had accused him of eating their
hearts. A thin 12-year-old boy in a white-striped shirt with his
arms crossed, hands under his armpits, said his parents had told
him he was a sorcerer and left him alone in Kinshasa; he now
YOU MUST
MAKE WAR IN
YOUR LIFE,
HE SHOUTED.
GOD DOES
NOT PUT HIS
TRUST IN
DOCTORS. HE
DOESNT TRUST
DOCTORS
BECAUSE THEY
HAVE THEIR
LIMITS. HAVE
FAITH IN THE
ETERNAL.
DOCTORS
CANT HEAL
YOU. ONLY THE
ETERNAL CAN.
FOREI GN POLI CY
59
made a living selling plastic bags of drinking water in the street.
The drummer in the church band gently tapped a cymbal to
punctuate the childrens testimonies.
Pinda talked about the failures of parents: If your child is a
sorcerer, you cannot throw him out. He also spoke of children
overcoming the demons within them and becoming great men.
The audience remained hushed and pensive, Pinda seeming to
berate them for their fear of child sorcerers while simultaneously
acknowledging that the fear was very real.
Everyone prayed quietly to deliver the children. As the service
drew to a close, well after 3 a.m., Pindas assistants sold small
bottles of olive oil around the room and people brought them
up for the pastor to bless. They rubbed the oil on their faces, on
their arms and chests, in their hair, as protection from evil
spirits. Pinda then asked for money to support the continued
building of the church.
This wasnt the dramatic scene I had feared I would witness.
Was Pinda acting so kindly toward the children because an
outsider was there? (He had invited me to his service.) Was he
deftly avoiding breaking the law against accusing children of
sorcery? Or was something else going on?
I asked Charles. He said sometimes exorcisms of child
sorcerers take place in private because they are dicult. Maybe
these children had already been saved.
A few days after the service, seeking to understand
his strange relationship with the children, I met the
prophet in his ocea small room containing three
dilapidated oce chairs, a desk, and an electric bass
guitar leaning in the corner. Outside, dozens of
people waited for private meetings with Pinda. All
such meetings, one of his congregants told me,
required a payment, however small.
Pinda explained that more than 60 children
accused of sorcery lived in his churchchildren like
the boy who had been sleeping next to the gutter
before the night service I attended. They had come
to him on their own or had been brought by their
parents because of his reputation for casting out
spirits. He introduced me to some of them, between
the ages of 4 and 12. They had been accused of
costing their parents jobs or killing relatives. Some
had been told their diseases, like crippling polio,
were signs of possession by spirits and had been
kicked out of their homes.
As the children left, Pinda picked up the electric
bass. He sat back in his chair, plucking the thick
strings. In a gravelly voice, he told me it was tiring to
have so many children around and that he kept
encouraging people not to leave them. Hed even
gone to social services for help, only to be turned
away.
But did he believe the children were sorcerers?
He replied that, for most children, its just
accusations. Prayer, he explained, generally shows
him they arent possessed. Sometimes, though,
parents testimonies tell him otherwise. So long
as parents report that a family member is ill, for
instance, a bad spirit must remain in a child,
requiring his attention. Some parents bring
children back multiple times, until they are able to
report to Pinda that there is peacethey sleep
calmly and there is no more sickness in the family.
Complicating his explanation was the fact that Pinda makes
money o these visits and that dealing with children accused of
sorcery has enhanced his stature. Perhaps Pinda doesnt want to
condemn these children as other pastors do, or perhaps his belief
in sorcery isnt as strong or as sure as in others. Yet driving spirits
out of children has earned him the title of prophethas
convinced his congregation that the power of God ows through
him and can save them from all the suering, all the pain and
hardship, in their lives. It brings hundreds to his church late at
night, to stand for hours in the heat, connected to one another
and, they feel, to a power beyond their reach.
I asked him whether he thought he had improved the lives of
the accused child sorcerers for whom he prayed. For some he
said yesone boy, for instance, had been saved and returned to
his parents. Then he described a 13-year-old girl whose parents
accused her of killing two people. She still lived in the church.
Pinda hesitated.
She isnt doing well at all. Because this is church, he said.
After prayer, the people leave. Even I go home.
Deni Bchard, a freelance writer, is the author of Empty Hands,
Open Arms: The Race to Save Bonobos in the Congo and Make
Conservation Go Viral.
Some 60 children accused of
sorcery, including this young girl,
live at Pastor Pindas church.
Does the academy matter?
Should you get a Ph.D.? And
*A conversation about foreign policy
and higher education.
Photographs by Christopher Leaman
Do policymakers listen?
where are all the women? *
MARCH/APRI L 2014
62
n mid-February, New York Times colum-
nist Nicholas Kristof kicked over an
ivy-covered hornets nest when he com-
plained that too many professors seques-
ter themselves in the ivory tower amid a
culture that glorifies arcane unintelligi-
bility while disdaining impact and audi-
ence. The public, he wrote, would bene-
fit from greater access to the
wisdom of academics. So, profes-
sors, dont cloister yourselves like medieval
monkswe need you!
Judging by the number of submissions that
FOREIGN POLICY gets from doctors of philosophy, we
suspect that more than a few are trying to break out
of the abbey. But the question of academias isolation
from the real world is one that FPs editors debate
as well. In fact, three weeks before Kristofs article
ran, we convened nine current and former deans
from top public policy schools to discuss when and
how scholarship inuences policymakersand
whether academics even care if their work reaches a
wider audience.
The deans quickly distinguished between policy
schools, which embrace public discourse, and disci-
plinary departments like political science, which
focus on pure research. Nevertheless, the dilemma
remains: Academics may produce incisive foreign
policy analysis, but if a research paper falls in the
forest well, Washington couldnt care less. And our
participants remain concerned, as one bluntly put it,
that too many talented professors and students are
doing work that has nothing to do with improving
the human condition.
Here youll nd an edited transcript of our lively
conversation, along with research conducted by
scholars Paul C. Avey and Michael C. Desch into how
policymakers and academics see each other. Weve
also included data on another vexing issue: the limited
inuence of women who research and write about foreign
policy, relative to their male counterpartsa problem that
our panelists agged and that was pointedly illustrated by
the fact that eight of the nine were men.
We hope this discussion shows how academics do and
do not impact foreign policyand what needs to change.
J. PETER SCOBLIC: Were here today to talk
about the role of academia in the
study and the making of foreign
policyhow relevant the academy is,
how it sees its own role, and how
policymakers in turn see it. Bruce
Jentleson and Jim Goldgeier, since
you have been running a project
called Bridging the Gap, which works
on linking academia with policymak-
ing, why dont you start?
JAMES GOLDGEIER: Well, I think
you have to distinguish
between disciplinary depart-
mentslike political science,
history, and economics, which
have gone o in directions that
arent necessarily conducive to
connecting with the policy
communityand the
international aairs schools,
which typically have both
faculty and students who are
eager to be engaged in the poli-
cy community. I also do
believe that younger faculty
todayand I think weve seen
this really since September 11
want to be more engaged and
are looking for ways to do that.
BRUCE JENTLESON: A lot of people
get into this business of
studying international
relations because they care
about the world, yet the
socialization and the incentive
structure in academia really
pushes you to care more about
the discipline. And so we are
very realistic about that
incentive structure, but we
really try to capitalize on the
rst and sort of say were not
trying to revolutionize the
discipline, but a little insur-
gency wouldnt be a bad thing.
We think, frankly, it takes
away from the education we
offer, including at the
undergraduate level, to have gotten
into this world where we only commu-
nicate with others in the discipline
where its all about methods and
models. So part of the motivation is to
better fulfill the mission universities
have qua universities.
And we see benets on the other side
of the gap too. Its not that academics
necessarily have the answers, but they do
The Panel
(from left to right on
previous spread)
Peter Cowhey
Dean, School of
International Relations
and Pacic Studies at the
University of California
San Diego
Stephen Walt
Robert and Rene Belfer
professor of international
afairs at Harvard University
James Goldgeier
Dean, School of
International Service at
American University
Bruce Jentleson
Professor of public policy
and political science at
Duke University
James Reardon-
Anderson
Acting dean, School
of Foreign Service at
Georgetown University
Robert Gallucci
President, John D. and
Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation
Ian Johnstone
Academic dean,
The Fletcher School at
Tufts University
Cecilia Rouse
(joined by phone)
Dean, Woodrow Wilson
School of Public and
International Afairs at
Princeton University
James Levinsohn
(joined by phone)
Director, Jackson Institute
for Global Afairs at
Yale University
J. Peter Scoblic
(Moderator)
Executive Editor, Print
Foreign Policy
FOREI GN POLI CY
63
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Intl.
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History Area
Studies
Very useful Somewhat useful Not very useful
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Theoretical
Analysis
Quantitative
Analysis
Policy
Analysis
Area
Studies
Historical
Case Studies
Contemp.
Case Studies
Formal
Models
Operations
Research
Very useful Somewhat useful Not very useful Not useful at all
Which Disciplines Are Useful?
Which Methodologies Are Useful?
In crafting strategy for Afghanistan, did General David Petraeus consult the American Political Science Review? Whats the ideal rsum
for a State Department staer? These are the types of questions that scholars Paul C. Avey and Michael C. Desch set out to answer in a
survey of 234 current and former senior government ocials. Their ndings, which will appear in a forthcoming issue of International
Studies Quarterly and are previewed below and in the pages ahead, provide a window into the role of academics in foreign policy.
Survey respondents included:
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense
Joint Chiefs of Sta Secretary and Deputy Secretary of State Ambassador to the U.N.
bring into the mix of knowledge a certain
perspective that can be useful to
policymakers.
SCOBLIC: Steve, the Kennedy School is
an international aairs school, but I
get the sense that there are still
pressures on junior faculty to write
for their academic discipline as
opposed to a general policy audience.
STEPHEN WALT: The rst point I would make
is that academic disciplines are self-polic-
ing. They decide what the norms and
incentives are that are going to be
rewarded. So if international aairs or
political science or public policy schools
wanted to have a dierent set of metrics
and a dierent set of criteria for evaluat-
ing faculty, they could decide to do that.
Second, one of our criteria for promotion
is in fact contributions to public policy or
public management. We explicitly in a
tenure review have to say, Has this
persons work had any impact, either
things theyve done in their scholarly
work or things that they have actually
done by participating directly in
government? So by essentially creating a
certain set of criteria, we are telling junior
faculty at a school of public policy, Wed
like you to be engaged.
Now, in practice, does that mean every
junior faculty has had a big impact? No. I
think that we still tend to weight
academic contributions for junior faculty
more highly than other forms, but you
could imagine that set of criteria
becoming more widely followed
throughout the discipline.
Id just add a couple of other things.
When you are evaluating someone for
tenure, look at how often they are cited,
but also look at how often they are
mentioned in LexisNexis. If they work,
say, on terrorism, dont just go to a dozen
terrorism scholars and ask what their
work is like. Talk to a few people in
Washington who work in that area and
ask if they ever heard of this persons
work, has it ever made any particular
contribution. Sometimes the answer will
be no, and you might still think the work
is very good. But sometimes the answer
would be yes, and you would want that
information if you were judging someone
for promotion.
SCOBLIC: So what is the sense of the
Kennedy Schools impact on policy-
making?
WALT: I think the Kennedy School has had a
lot of impact, as much by its faculty who
then participated in government, people
Panelists at the FP roundtable discuss how scholarship inuences policymaking.
What Washington Wants
64
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like Joe Nye and others, and by people
getting involved directly as advisors and
consultants. In some areas, I think our
scholarly work has had a big impact.
I think many academics have a
mistaken view of how policy impact is
achieved. They think they will write one
book, they will write one article, people
will read it, decide its brilliant, and
immediately change. And whats really
required, even if youve got terric
research and a great set of insights, is an
enormous amount of persistence. Once
you have the idea, you cant just put it out
there. You have to be willing to shop it.
You have to be an entrepreneur of your
own ideas. And thats something it seems
to me most academics arent really
trained to do and arent inclined to do.
IAN JOHNSTONE: The distinction between a
school of international aairs and
traditional graduate departments is
important, because at schools of
international aairs theres a spectrum of
things that faculty do. Some are closest to
traditional academic work, and some are
much further away. Theres got to be a
mix. And so some are pure academics;
others are much more on the public
intellectual side. But I think the incen-
tives have to be in place to cultivate that
whole range of functions.
SCOBLIC: Bob, when you were in
government, what, if anything, did
you draw from your own Ph.D. and
from academics who were trying to
feed material to you?
ROBERT GALLUCCI: Peter, I desperately want
to answer your question.
SCOBLIC: But youre not going to.
GALLUCCI: Not exactly.
[Laughter.]
GALLUCCI: I dont know if my body
language gave it up, but I was a little
uncomfortable with your prior conversa-
tion. There are at least two bodies of
conversation we could have. One is the
discipline-policy school conversation.
For me, the tragedy of that mismatch to
me hasnt yet been put on the table, and
I want to put that on the table. And then
the second part, which I know we all
want to talk about, is whether the policy
schools are doing what the people in
government would have them do to
prepare their students for government
service, which is more your question.
First part: The way I would capture it
is that there is a mismatch between all
the talent that goes into the disci-
pline-based departmentsthe political
science departments, the government
departmentsand the policy schools,
like Kennedy and Georgetown. It is the
dierence between the APSIA schools
the Association of Professional Schools
of International Aairson the one
hand. And on the other hand, the really
talented people who are working on
things that I would say are really remote
from things that matter in the real world.
Some of the very best undergraduates
and graduate students in the country are
doing work that has nothing to do with
improving the human condition. Zero.
Its an incentive situation, so people
can have a career and teach. Is it good
for policy people? No. They dont come
anyplace near any of those disciplinary
journalsnever will. It has zero impact,
I would say, in any kind of direct way.
So whats it for? Is it for education in
some way? Advancing the science of the
discipline in some way? Maybe. But I
cant believe, given where we are in
education in the country, thats a good
use of educational money, on the one
hand, and, two, all that talent, because
as Bruce said, a lot of these young people
in these programs want to actually have
an impact on the human condition.
As for government, the rst thing that
government people want in internation-
al aairs is regional expertise. Im sorry
to tell you all this, but the rst thing they
want is somebody who knows something
about the country where the problem is,
MARCH/APRI L 2014
Alexander Wendt 45% 45% Joseph Nye
39% Samuel Huntington
34% Henry Kissinger
15% Francis Fukuyama
12% Zbigniew Brzezinski
8% Robert Jervis
8% Thomas Schelling
7% Fareed Zakaria
6% Kenneth Waltz
4% George Kennan
4% Albert Wohlstetter
4% Graham Allison
4% Hans Morgenthau
4% Anne-Marie Slaughter
4% Bernard Lewis
Robert Keohane 41%
Kenneth Waltz 26%
John Mearsheimer 24%
James Fearon 20%
Joseph Nye 19%
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita 12%
Robert Jervis 11%
Peter Katzenstein 10%
Samuel Huntington 10%
According to Scholars According to Policymakers
NYE
JERVIS
Mid-Range Theory
Since policymakers think that the most important contributions
scholars can make is in the area of research, it is worth thinking
further about exactly what that should look like. Policymakers
appear to want mid-range theory. Policymakers do not reject
methodologically sophisticated scholarship across the board but
do seem to nd much of it not useful. They prefer that scholars
generate simple and straightforward frameworks that help them
make sense of a complex world.

Paul C. Avey and Michael C. Desch
HUNTINGTON
Most Inuential Scholar
*Respondents were
asked to submit up to
four names.
FOREI GN POLI CY
65
and the problem never happens in the
international system. In government,
they dont know what the international
system is, but they sure know what
Brazil is, and they want somebody who
speaks Portuguese, because thats all
they know. So I would say the rst thing
is lets save regional studies, because it
clearly needs to be saved.
And then after that, there is a function-
al expertise, depending on what you do
for a living in government. If you are a
security person, it would be nice if
someone knew something about not only
the region, but also if its military, if its
nuclear, if its development, or whatever.
A deep third is someone who can
write the front piece of the memo. The
front piece of the memo is the one that
tells the decision-maker how this issue
ts within the context of Americas
foreign policy and Americas interest. Its
good if you have someone who has at
that point some grip on the history of
American foreign policy, on Americas
interest in the world, understands the
international system, understands that
there may be dierent drivers now than
there were 20 years ago.
SCOBLIC: Give me an example of the
kind of work that does not improve
the human condition, that is just
locked in the ivory tower.
GALLUCCI: I would say that if you are overly
concerned about models and structures
and you are insistent on operating at the
systemic level, youre less likely to be
writing stu that is going to be easily
understood as relating to a policy
problem. There are thoughtful people in
government whoyes, they read Foreign
Aairs and FOREIGN POLICYbut they
will also read International Security. In
other words, they can actually read an
academic journal if the journal is interest-
ed in real scholarship that impacts the
policy world they live in. I think if you
opened up the American Political Science
Review, you would see lots of pieces that
no one in the policy world would dream
of looking at. There is a whole lot of work
and a whole lot of schools where I think
there are a whole lot of very talented
people who are being incentivized to do
work that is not helping people, and
thats my gripe.
SCOBLIC: Cecilia, do you want to take a
crack at what Bob said? He may have
let Woodrow Wilson o the
hook there, it being a policy
school, but whats your
reaction?
CECILIA ROUSE: Youre right that the
Kennedy School and the Woodrow
Wilson School got o the hook,
but that doesnt mean that we
dont struggle with these issues.
My own view is that the six
years to get to tenure is really short
in the life of a scholar and that I
know I spent a lot of that time
learning new things, learning new
toolsthings that if I were trying
to play in the policy world at the
same time, I would not have had
the time to do. So I think the six
years of the junior faculty time is a
time of investment. Then, with the
security of tenure, one has time,
and one does have an obligation in
a policy school to then break out
of the academy and say, Well,
what does this have to do with the
real world? I mean in a more
public way. I personally think that theres
plenty of time for them to do that after
they have tenure.
PETER COWHEY: Im with Celia in the sense
that I think that junior scholars really are
in a position where, if you want the really
bright people who in the long term can
contribute to policy but have risen to a
disciplinary system, youve got to allow
them to invest in their disciplinary skills.
That said, I think there are some things
that we can do to take advantage of
changes that are going on. Onethis sort
of new empiricism, where the use of
massive new data sources and techniques
is creating possibilities for doing research
thats really quite breathtaking and tends
to break out of a lot of the conventional
boxes that weve been in. We invest, for
example, in something called a Policy
Design and Evaluation Laboratory [at
the University of California, San Diego] in
order to allow those scholars who do eld
research and evaluation and who design
public policy interventions to do their
work faster and cheaperbecause the
people in, say, USAID, want answers in
two years, and the valuation techniques
traditionally take four or ve. So there is a
big mismatch.
JAMES LEVINSOHN: I think it was Steve who
said that the academic disciplines are
self-policing. Thats right, and for better
or worse, I feel like that we have to take
that as a given. At least I dont believe
that I can have any real impact on how
the disciplines evaluate people.
Given that, it changes the time frame
in which I think about trying to have an
impact. If you are willing to take a slightly
longer time frame, one of the ways in
which I think all of us can have an impact
is by training the next generation and
equipping them with the tools that are
really neededwith language skills, with
regional expertise, with the sets of
quantitative tools that they need. But its
not an impact that shows up in the policy
debate right away.
JAMES REARDON-ANDERSON: Id like to pick up
particularly on Bobs comments on area
studies, because I dont think its too
strong to say that we consider area
studies in crisis at Georgetown. Partly its
a generational crisis, and its partly a
disciplinary crisis. We have ve area
studies masters programs, and we are
facing the possibility of an inability to
sta those as the generations move on.
I would say, crudely, economics, to my
experience, has almost entirely aban-
doned this as a focus of professional
rewards. There are some disciplines,
particularly history, that remain
essentially rooted in area studies. Anthro-
A lot of people get into
this business of
studying international
relations because they
care about the world,
yet the socialization
and the incentive
structure in academia
really pushes you to
care more about the
discipline.... A little
insurgency wouldnt
be a bad thing.
Bruce Jentleson
The Inuence Gap by Gender
In 2013, Daniel Maliniak, Ryan Powers, and Barbara F. Walter published a study
in International Organization on the relative inuence of international relations
articles written by women as compared with those written by men. The larger the
dot, the more inuential the article, as measured by the number of journal
citations and the prestige of those journals.

A recent report by the OpEd Projectan organization dedicated to increasing
the diversity of voices in the public domaindocumented the relative frequency
with which men and women are published on a range of subjects.
FAMILY
GENDER
STYLE
FOOD
SOCIAL ISSUES
RECREATION
TECHNOLOGY
SCIENCE
JUSTICE
HEALTH
EDUCATION
NATIONAL POLITICS
ENVIRONMENT
MEDIA
SECURITY
ACTION SOCIAL
GLOBAL POLITICS
ECONOMY
Who Writes What in Newspapers and Magazines
WOMEN
MEN
ARTICLES AUTHORED BY WOMEN
ARTICLES AUTHORED BY MEN
ARTICLES AUTHORED BY MEN AND WOMEN
pology, as well. But the change that
concerns me most is in political
science, and as we see the senior
ranks of the area-trained political
scientists begin to face retirement,
we are very concerned about
recruiting a next generation of people
who are really rooted in area studies.
Its less true of China. Id say the
places where were most concerned
are Russian and Eastern European
studies and Latin American studies.
We are still able to recruit people in
the Middle East, but elsewhere its
increasingly dicult.
JENTLESON: Two quick things. On area
studies, I totally agree. There is sort
of this talismanic view of the world
in Washingtoneverything revolves
around us, right? And I think we see
this pattern on both sides of the
gapnot enough sense of really
understanding the world.
The other thing is, the goal seems
to me to be how can one operate
with whats considered in the
disciplinei.e., for tenure and
promotionand do work that is
scholarly but is policy-relevant.
Some of it is methods. If you look
at a curriculum in undergraduate or
graduate, there are a nite number
of courses people take. And there is
a tension between how much goes to
methods and how much goes to
history, regional studies, language,
et cetera. My concernand I think
this aects a lot of the APSIA schools,
too, franklyis that methods are
taking up too much of that turf. So
we have people who say, Well, of
course, I dont really know that
much about these parts of the world.
My model still works.
We want people to write these
grand-theory articles. But a lot of us
worked with and were inspired by
Alexander George, and he always
used to talk about middle-range
theory, right? So, for example, if
youre looking at economic
sanctions against Iran, it is
probably useful to know from the
literature maybe the six or eight fac-
tors that are most likely to make
them eectivenot just two
factors, but not 50 factors either.
And I dont think middle-range
theory is rewarded in the discipline
as much as grand theory.
SOURCE TOP: THE GENDER CITATION GAP IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, DANIEL MALINIAK, RYAN POWERS AND BARBARA F. WALTER, INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION, VOLUME 67,
ISSUE 04 OCTOBER 2013, PP. 889922, SELECTION: P. 912, FIGURE 2, VISUALIZATION OF CITATION NETWORK; SOURCE BOTTOM: WWW.THEOPEDPROJECT.ORG.
FOREI GN POLI CY
67
GOLDGEIER: Jim Levinsohns point was
correct, in my view. The biggest impact we
have is not necessarily directly tying the
research to policymakers but in training
the next generation. The people who are
policymakers in this town, they went to
school somewhere. They learned about
the world somewhere. So what we do to
get them excited so that they want to
study countries and regions is important.
SCOBLIC: Bob, you got a doctorate at
Brandeis. Did you develop a worldview
that you brought into government?
GALLUCCI: I was a TA my rst year of
graduate school for Ken Waltz. What an
opportunity that wasto spend all your
time, your rst year, with arguably one of
the greatest international political
theorists. Did that have an impact on my
mind? Yes. Even my mind got impacted.
Remember I talked about the rst
paragraph you write in those memos?
The frame I took to the rst paragraphs
was a structural realist frame: The system
itself is the rst thing you look at. So
thats my take on it, and its quite
dierent from other theoretical ap-
proaches that assume dierent things
about what drives international aairs.
So the short answer is absolutely yes,
and theres a place for that. And its
extremely important, particularly, I would
say, at the undergraduate level. You better
give them that kind of theoretical way of
coping with this complex mass of informa-
tion, which is only growing, in the
international system.
WALT: I want to be a little bit more critical
of the public policy schools for a second,
because this conversation has tended to
valorize them and criticize the disci-
plines. Let me make two complaints
about the public policy schools or
international aairs schools.
One is, I think, many of our schools use
an obsolete model. The standard model
of a public policy school will teach people
some microeconomics, teach them some
statistics, teach them something we call
policy analysis, maybe give them a little
bit of leadership, and then they can
dabble in a bunch of other areas. This is a
model thats been around for 30, 35 years.
It shortchanges history. We dont
generally teach history in public policy
schools. We should. It shortchanges law.
Nobody gets out of a public policy school
understanding very much about law,
either international or domestic.
I think you couldand
particularly in the international
aairs areaactually do a sort of
root-and-branch rethinking of the
public policy, international aairs
curriculum that would put much
more emphasis on history, much
more emphasis on regional
expertise, much more emphasis
on law, and you would end up
getting people who werent the
perfect OMB budget analyst but
might be actually a much more
eective policy analyst.
Problem No. 2 is public policy
schools have one danger that
disciplinary departments dont
have, and thats the danger of
co-optation. The great virtue of
academic institutions is that they
are independent. They can be
creative, original, dissident voices.
Public policy schools, because
they like to live pretty close to power and
live pretty close to the policy world, are in
more danger of being co-opted. If youre
an academic who is thinking you would
like to work for the next administration,
you may pull a lot of punches in that next
article. You think youd like to write
something critical of Hillary Clinton, but
you know whatshe might be the next
president, and there goes your appoint-
ment as assistant secretary for whatever.
And because we like being close to power,
because wed like our students to be able
to get jobs, public policy schools have, I
think, a much greater danger of being
essentially co-opted by the world that, at
least part of the time, we ought to be
criticizing.
One nal point about this. We never
have a conversation in graduate school
about the ethics of the businessthe
question that Bob raised at the very
beginning. What is our ethical responsibil-
ity to the society at large that supports us
and subsidizes us in all sorts of ways?
Whats our responsibility as scholars to be
giving back, to be making some kind of
positive contribution?
JOHNSTONE: One of the problems with the
disciplines and a methodology-driven
approach to research is it narrows the
range of questions you can ask. If you are
trying to answer a question that ts a
certain methodology, that puts a lot of
questions o the table, and some of them
are big, important questions.
And this sort of gets to the risk of
co-option here. Your tendency is to want
to try to answer those questions in a way
that is going to be useful for policymak-
ers, but you may shortcut the research
because you think, Oh, I can probably
come up with a little evidence that is
going to anecdotally answer that
question, and thats going to resonate
somewhere in the policy world, but you
are not being true to your academic
credentials in doing that.
SCOBLIC: Dana, you are a staer here at
Foreign Policy and perhaps have
considered graduate school. Whats
your question from the perspective of
a potential student?
J. DANA STUSTER: I was wondering if youve
noticed from where you sit any change
in the merits of masters degrees and
Ph.D.s. When I came to D.C.and the
advice Ive persistently been given by an
older generationis, Oh, if you want to
do policy, you get a terminal masters,
and thats what you need. You dont
want a Ph.D. because then you will be
shoehorned into academia, even going
through the policy school route. But
that doesnt seem to be the case
anymore. I interned at a place where
now every single person that interns
there, trying to get entry-level positions,
has a masters degree already. What does
it take to break into policy, and is the
merit of these degrees shifting?
The biggest impact
we have is not
necessarily directly
tying the research
to policymakers
but in training the
next generation.
The people who are
policymakers in this
town, they went to
school somewhere.
James Goldgeier
MARCH/APRI L 2014
68
GOLDGEIER: Part of the issue in recent
years has been a job market thats so
challenging that folks who are going out
on the market with a B.A. are applying
for jobs that folks with an M.A. are also
applying for, and so employers are
saying, Well, Ive got somebody who
has got an advanced degree.
On the Ph.D., I think the reason things
are changing is, again, because the
academic job market has been so
challenging that most programs oering
a Ph.D.even the highest-ranked
departments that often judge them-
selves by their ability to place people in
tenure-track academic positionsrecog-
nize that the range of options for
doctoral students has to become much
broader, so that they are successful after
going through a Ph.D. program.
GALLUCCI: If you want to work in academia,
do not get a policy-based degree. Get a
discipline-based degree. That was true 10
years ago, and I think its true this
morning, because our own schools are
prejudiced against policy schools, against
policy-based Ph.D.s.
If you want to go into government and
you are a woman, I have been arguing
for a long time that it wouldnt be a bad
idea to get a Ph.D. Even after years of the
State Department responding to legal
action and doing certain things, I still
think that embedded somewhere in the
hearts and minds of those guys was a
prejudice, and a woman needed an extra
boost to be competitive in some
contexts. Now, my information is 20
years out of date in government service,
so I really dont know, but I worry that it
might still be good advice.
SCOBLIC: That segues into something
Ive been wanting to ask throughout
this conversation. This is a very
male-dominated group. Building on
Bobs point, is there a problem with
getting more women into foreign
policy, into IR [international rela-
tions], and then into positions of
responsibility and leadership within
the academy that you feel is not being
addressed?
REARDON-ANDERSON: In the last ve years,
weve hired 12 assistant professors, nine
of whom are women. Weve hired ve
associate professors, ve of whom are
men. So I see a big dierence between the
entry-level academics, who, based on
their own qualications and merits, are
disproportionately women, and the
advancement routes to tenure which tend
to weed them out and weed the men in.

SCOBLIC: Cecilia, can I ask you to speak
to this as a woman who is now
leading one of the top public policy
schools?
ROUSE: I think we struggle with it here.
We do have a professor who is very
strong who is doing IR, and we have
other tenured faculty that work in IR.
But here in the Woodrow Wilson School,
theres more focus on securitythats
our policy manifestation of many of
these issues. We are looking for ways to
increase the number of applicants
among women in our ranks. I hear about
more women being interested, but were
struggling with it a little bit here.
COWHEY: Two quick points. The rst is
that, in the last six or seven years, weve
clearly seen a maturing of the pool of
women coming out of the assistant level
that is really quite remarkable. The
second point is that this issue of
long-term advancementnot so much I
think to tenure, but towards leadership
positionsremains a central problem.
And we shouldnt be surprised because
its exactly the same problem weve seen
in major law rms, where the entry-level
classes into the associate positions are
predominantly women, but when you
get to the long-term shareholding
partners, the number drops sharply. So I
think we have a long-term structural
issue to be addressed.
GOLDGEIER: The vast majority of our Ph.D.
students are women. You are seeing a lot
of women going into the eld, and
schools want to be hiring more women.
So, I do think we are seeing a change.
I do think there is the need for really
strong mentorship for women moving
up the ranks. And I nd that at the
associate professor level, a big issue is
that women academics are much more
likely to be willing to do service in their
schools or departments. Its easy for
them to get trapped into contributing a
lot of service, taking away from their
research, and thats a problem I think
schools really need to be focused on in
order to ensure that these women move
up through the ranks to full professor.
SCOBLIC: Before we close, I want to do a
speed round of the top challenge that
the policy schools need to address
right now.
JOHNSTONE: The biggest challenge I think
is keeping up with the pace of global
change without sacricing analytical
rigor; in other words, staying ahead of
the curve in terms of the issues that need
to be addressed, but not doing it in a way
that just stops doing serious research.
A little more specic is putting some
From right to left: Stephen Walt, James Goldgeier, and James Reardon-Anderson.
FOREI GN POLI CY
69
M
A
N

I
C
O
N

B
Y

S
E
B
A
S
T
I
A
N

L
A
N
G
E
R
/
T
H
E

N
O
U
N

P
R
O
J
E
C
T
27.1%
Formal
Education
11.4%
Professional
Education
49.5%
Field or Work
Experience
5.7%
Independent
Research
3.3%
Mentoring
2.9%
Other
Where Policymakers Acquired
Their Most Important Skills
What
Policymakers
Studied
30
%
International aairs
15
%

Political science
12
%

Other
11
%

History
9
%

Law
6
%

Economics
4
%

Public policy
4
%

Business
3
%

Area studies
3
%

Nat., Phys., Bio.
1
%

Foreign language
<1
%

Psychology
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
90%
100%
Formal
participants
Informal
advisors Creators of
new info. and
knowledge
Trainers of
policymakers
Should not be
involved in
policymaking
What Is the Appropriate Role of
Academics in Policymaking?
meat on the bones of this notion of
interdisciplinary research, guring out
what that means. We all talk about how
important it is, and Im not sure weve
gured out exactly how to make that real.
JENTLESON: Two quick things. One is the
cost of graduate education. Second, I
think its the fundamental problem of
global cooperation. All the liberal
internationalists said, Oh, its all going
to come together. Its a collective-action
problem, and well just solve it. I dont
think we know much about how to get
nation-states to cooperate. I think thats
a fundamental problem that aects
pandemics, climate change, terrorism,
proliferation, et cetera.
GOLDGEIER: Two points. One, for the
international aairs schools, really being
able to make clear to prospective
students why they should go into those
schools versus getting a law degree, a
business degree, or even an MPP [master
of public policy], where the curricula for
those schools is much more clearly
dened. Theres a lot more heterogene-
ity among the international aairs
schools. Thinking about what a real
strong international aairs curriculum
should look like, as Steve was talking
about earlier, is important to do.
Second, in the 80s, we did a great job
bringing together scientists and social
scientists to study issues like nuclear
weapons. Climate, cyber issues, we have
to be bringing them together, the climate
scientists and the social scientists. We
have to be bringing together the
computer scientists and the social
scientists on these big issues, the way we
did at the end of the Cold War.
WALT: For the schools, its avoiding
irrelevance while maintaining a critical,
independent stance and, second,
convincing students that its still worth
the money to come here. In terms of
policy issues, Id say it is unwinding the
post-9/11 security hysteria in the United
States, without going too far, climate
change, and the rise of China.
ROUSE: I would say its interventional. I
would say that its helping to do research,
but helping it to break out of the
academy. In terms of issues, I completely
agree that there are so many big issues
where bringing together the social
science with the technical side is very
importantcyber, climate, health.
LEVINSOHN: In terms of curriculum, we have
been building links with law, been putting
history into the core curriculum, strength-
ening language requirements. I tend to
want to double down on all of those.
COWHEY: Weve made a couple of bets. The
rst is that the interaction of science,
technology, engineering, and medicine
with international policy is at the center
of the next vortex. On the other side, I
think that the long-term shift in the
world because of the dispersion of
economic growth and technological
know-how is so fundamental that our
ways of even knowing how to cooperate
arent properly framed. Theyre all still
based out of the 1945 institutions, and
that is not going to cut it.
GALLUCCI: For the policy schools, I think
getting that balance right between a very
high-quality core to the program and then
a very tailored approach to the individual
student that lls in the gap between what
theyre capable of and what they know
and what they want to do next.
SCOBLIC: Thank you all so much for
coming this morning. This has been a
great conversation.
Bridging the Divide
On both sides of the
theory/policy divide, the majority
of voices clamor for a bridge.
But they also call into question when
and how often the techniques of
the modern science of international
relations are directly
useful to policymakers.

Paul C. Avey and Michael C. Desch
LAST NOVEMBER, A ROCKET BUILT FROM A DECOMMISSIONED U.S.
intercontinental ballistic missile lifted o from Wallops Island,
Virginia, carrying not nuclear warheads headed for the Soviet
Union, but rather 29 small satellites bound for orbit. Among
them was the TJ
3
Sat, built by students at Thomas Jeerson High
School for Science and Technology in nearby Fairfax County.
The satellite is relatively rudimentary, as such things go. It is
not much bigger than a can of soup and weighs only a couple of
pounds. Its main purpose is to convert students text messages
into speech and broadcast them over amateur-radio bandsa
demonstration project, much like the Soviet Sputnik, the
worlds rst orbital satellite, which broadcast beeps.
Thomas Jeerson is a selective, science-oriented school in a
highly educated county, and the satellite project was largely
funded by established space companies, which also provided
some technical know-how. In other words, if any kids were going
to launch a satellite, the students at TJ were precisely the ones
you would expect to do itand they had help. Still, they
accomplished what 30 years ago would have required the
resources of a major nation-state or a Fortune 500 company.
A microsat much like
the one designed by
students at Thomas
Jeferson High School.
(Actual size.)
THE
COMING
REVOLUTION
IN ORBIT
THE
COMING
REVOLUTION
IN ORBIT
How space went from a great powersonly
club to a DIY playground.
By Zach Rosenberg
Until recently, orbital space was an exclusive club. The Soviet
Union and Russia, the United States, certain European nations,
Japan, and China were the only builders of large satellites, and
they controlled the only rockets capable of actually putting a
heavy payload into orbit. Everyone else who wanted to send a
package (or a person) whizzing around the planet had to deal
with them.
But the clubs membership is expanding. In the past three
years, Bolivia, Hungary, Belarus, and Lithuaniacountries not
known for their technological prowess, let alone their space-far-
ing experiencehave placed their rst satellites in orbit, as have
dozens of obscure universities, scientic research institutions,
and start-up companies. TJ
3
Sat was the rst high school built
satellite, but it will certainly not be the last.
Spaceight is enormously expensive, and the single most
costly component of operating a satellite is getting it into orbit
in the rst place. The upfront nancial costs of designing,
building, and testing a rocket run well into the billions or even
tens of billions of dollars. International Launch Services, a U.S.
subsidiary of the Russian company that builds Proton rockets,
A Falcon 9 rocket,
built by SpaceX,
blasts of from Cape
Canaveral, Florida, on
December 8, 2010.
charges around $100 million to launch a single large satellite,
according to industry clearinghouse Seradata. The highly
reliable Ariane 5, sold by French company Arianespace and
launched from French Guiana, will run you about $210 million
per launch. All told, the cheapest launch options cost around
$5,000 per pound of payload.
It is a commonly held view in the space industry that once
prices break $1,000 per pound, the market will grow exponen-
tially, ushering in an orbital revolution. Twenty years ago that
threshold was a fever dream, but one company is set to run up
against it as soon as this year. The result could be nothing less
than the democratization of access to spaceand a boon for
the students, scientists, companies, and governments that have
grand plans for the nal frontier.
THE ORBITAL REVOLUTION IS BEING DRIVEN FIRST AND FOREMOST BY THE
fact that satellites are getting smaller, cheaper, and ever more
capable. The miniaturization of electronics has led to new
markets of small satellites with better capabilitiesvariously
called microsats, nanosats, picosats, and the like. A lot of the
growth were seeing in small satellites is in the 10-kilogram
range, says Je Foust, a senior analyst with Futron, a prominent
space analysis rm. A lot of developments out of universities
can weigh as little as 1 kilogram, as opposed to the 100-kilogram
microsatellites that constituted most of the small-satellite
market a few years ago.
This shift is partly the result of space technology nally catch-
ing up with the electronics revolution. Because of the enormous
costs of building and launching satellites, the space industry
puts payloads through stringent testing to ensure they can
withstand the forces of launch, the vacuum and radiation of
space, and limited Earth-based troubleshooting options.
Nobody wants to explain why their multi-million dollar satellite
keeps rebooting. So, advances on Earth can take years to
percolate into the heavens. But now that more tech has been
proved spaceworthyseveral successful test satellites, in fact,
have been built from the guts of smartphonesinstitutions
are free to use ever-smaller o-the-shelf components. That
makes satellites cheaper to build, and their smaller size makes
them cheaper to launch.
So inexpensive is the latest generation of small satsstarting
around $30,000 in materials, by Fousts estimatethat new
funding options have become possible. A handful of crowd-
funded satellites have been launched to monitor atmospheric
conditions, and a satellite to spot asteroids is on the way. And
though these cheaper satellites are less robust and have shorter
life spans than their larger predecessors, they are also easier
to replace: The small satellites are more technically capable
and less expensive, says Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice
president of satellite and spacecraft builder Sierra Nevada Corp.,
and as launch costs come down, it may be better to continually
upgrade them than to build a large satellite that lasts 20 years
but which cant be upgraded and whose technology becomes
increasingly obsolete soon after they launch.
Launch costs do remain a major stumbling block, but here,
too, changes in the industry favor the proliferation of satellite
capabilities.
Competition is emerging in the launch market, both in the
United States and abroad. After decades of having rockets built
to government standards for government roles, in 2006 NASA
announced a new public-private partnership, called Commercial
Orbital Transportation Services. The government needed to
replace the Space Shuttle eet, which would be retired in 2011
and was the only set of vehicles the United States had to y
cargo and astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
Rather than dening precise specications for each part and
contracting to build them, NASA allowed companies to come up
with their own designsand paid them as they passed various
milestones. We wanted to do an experiment, explains Scott
Pace, a George Washington University professor who was then
an associate administrator at NASA. It was somewhat unique
for the space business, but not terribly unique in other areas like
aviation or railroads. The government goes in and says, were
going to help support development of a capability and then be a
customer of that capability.
The result was two brand-new launch vehicles produced by
private sector rms and backed by a mixture of government and
corporate funds: SpaceXs Falcon 9 and Orbital Sciences
Antares, both of which have successfully launched custom-built
capsules to deliver cargo to the ISS. New rockets are rare enough,
but the funding mechanism was a spaceight rst. The two
companies have already contracted with the U.S. government
for 20 resupply ights to the ISS, and more are likely. The
same public-private approach is being used to develop reusable
spacecraft to ferry American astronauts to the station, with
SpaceX, Boeing, and Sierra Nevada all competing for the job.
(Currently, the astronauts ride up in Soyuz rocket capsules at a
cost of $50 million per seat, payable to the Russian government.)
What separates these new launch vehicles from earlier
P
R
E
V
I
O
U
S

P
A
G
E
:

I
L
L
U
S
T
R
A
T
I
O
N

B
Y

5
W

I
N
F
O
G
R
A
P
H
I
C
S

F
O
R

F
P
;

B
A
C
K
G
R
O
U
N
D

P
H
O
T
O
S
:

E
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A
;


C
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E
X
MARCH/APRI L 2014
72
iterations is that they may prove commercially viable, irrespec-
tive of government contracts. For the advertised price of $56
million, far less than its nearest competitor, the Falcon 9 has
garnered robust demand from the commercial sector, with eight
launches to date and a backlog of around 35, many from
telecommunications companies. And this year or next, SpaceX is
supposed to conduct its rst launch of the Falcon Heavy, which,
if successful, would be capable of launching 53 metric tons, by
far the most powerful rocket available on the market. SpaceX
plans to charge $135 million for a launch, meaning it will nearly
break the $1,000-per-pound threshold that experts believe may
radically shift the industry. Even more exciting is that the
company is on a quest for the holy grail of spaceight: a fully
reusable launch system that could reduce costs further because
its propulsion system would not be destroyed in the process of
reaching orbit.
Costs may also drop as launch rms make better use of
existing capabilities. Building a new rocket or satellite is dicult,
but then economies of scale kick in and drive down marginal
costs. The most capable rocket ying today, United Launch
Alliances Delta IV Heavy, is essentially three regular Delta IVs
bolted together. And the U.S. government has agreed to buy the
cores in bulk rather than individually. SpaceXs Falcon 9 is so
inexpensive partly because it uses nine smaller rocket engines
on the rst stage instead of one big one. The Falcon Heavy will
use three cores for a total of 27 such engines.
Competition is heating up outside the United States as well.
Notably, new medium-sized launch vehicles are available from
Europe and Japan (Vega and Epsilon, respectively), and India
has declared it will make its new heavy rocket, the GSLV,
available for purchase, building on the commercial success of
the smaller PSLV, which has launched several European
government and commercial-imaging satellites. China, with an
ambitiously large space program, continues to oer its Long
March rockets commercially, with new variants in the works.
Soon, the French will introduce an improved version of the
Ariane 5 and its eventual replacement, the Ariane 6. Russias
Proton will be replaced by the more capable Angara. Brazil and
Indonesia, among others, have expressed serious interest in
new launch sites and rockets, which would introduce yet more
players to the market.
THE USE OF SATELLITES IS UBIQUITOUS IN MODERN LIFE, FROM GPS TO
radio (yes, radio: If you listened to NPR this morning, chances
are the signal from the recording station was bounced to the
local aliate o a satellite). The result is a $300 billion industry,
of which three-quarters is commercial, though often the line
between government and commercial is blurry, given the
strategic import of capabilities like global positioning. According
to a database curated by the Union of Concerned Scientists,
nearly 1,100 active satellites are in orbit. That number is set to
double by 2022, based on programs that have already been
announced, according to Euroconsult, a major satellite-market
consultancy, and the number will doubtless grow further as new
programs take shape.
The boom in small-sat capabilities is already democratizing
access to space, allowing increasing numbers of educators and
scientists to take advantage of orbit. Small satellites that were
launched in 2013 alone included a Canadian telescope to detect
near-Earth objects like asteroids, a Peruvian sensor to gather
data on Earths atmosphere for radio astronomers, a Russian sen-
sor to take geomagnetic readingsthe list goes on. These
experiments simply wouldnt have been possible just a few years
ago because of the prohibitive cost.
Government interest in new satellites is intense as well:
Russia, China, India, and Europe are all building and maintain-
ing their own navigation constellations so that they wont have
to rely on GPS, which is run by the U.S. military. Several coun-
tries have launched Automatic Identication System satellites to
track ships, for both national security and safety reasons. The
Indian navy launched its own dedicated satellite in 2013 that
allows high-bandwidth, secure communications exceeding the
range and data limits of its previous system. Even the U.S.
National Reconnaissance Oce and the Department of Defense,
which have long had enormous, multibillion-dollar satellites, are
taking advantage of the revolution in space access. Their need to
gather and transmit data so outweighs even their signicant
capabilities that they have launched dozens of small sats to test
and improve communications, early warning, and imaging.
Cheaper space data will also generate entirely new catego-
ries of consumers. Local agribusinesses (and even individual
farmers) deciding what to plant could order up bespoke
soil-moisture measurements. Small shippers could receive
regular trac updates and road-closure information, which
are currently dicult to obtain reliably outside major metro
areas. Inexpensive small sats could dramatically expand
real-time monitoring capabilitiesenormously useful for
emergency responders ghting a forest re or gauging
the impact of an earthquake. Human rights
organizations, through initiatives like
the Satellite Sentinel Project, could
chart violence in Sudan on a
daily basis. News organiza-
tions could track a distant oil
spill as it happened,
obviating reliance on
government and corpo-
rate sources.
And there are possibili-
ties that have yet to be
imagined. After all,
personal computers and
inexpensive cell phones not
only opened new markets for
old capabilities, but they also
generated demand for entirely
new products. It might just be a
hobby or something that doesnt turn
out to work very well, but it might turn out to
be a precursor to something people havent thought of yet, says
Foust. If you give that technology out and make it more
accessible, people start doing all sorts of things, many of which
never take o, but which may end up being the next Google or
Instagram.
However remarkable some of its accomplishments, space
ight has been dominated by risk aversion for much of the last
half-century. Space is a radically demanding and unforgiving
environment, and the costs of venturing into it were so high and
the consequences of failure were so great that few had the means
or the interest. That is all about to change.
Zach Rosenberg is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist.
FOREI GN POLI CY
73
THE RESULT
COULD BE NOTHING
LESS THAN THE
DEMOCRATIZATION
OF ACCESS TO
SPACE.
MARCH/APRI L 2014
74
IN OTHER WORDS
LIN SUN OO DOESNT TAKE HIS
eyes o the eld and forest
before himthe rich green
grass and the leaves on the
lush trees stand, almost
obediently, as still as statues. It is quiet. It
is motionless. It is going to be the perfect
shot, he thinks. To the right of him, his
cameraman patiently peers into a
viewnder and, with a few careful
adjustments, locks the image into focus.
Before long, a thin pole of a manan
The Reckoning
After decades of censorship, Burmas
lmmakers probe their countrys dark past.
By Francis Wade
Photographs by Lauren DeCicca
L
elderly farmer named U Thaung Khaing,
whose tanned, wrinkled hands are
weathered from decades of working the
land in central Burmainches into view.
Barefoot and dressed in a brown longyi,
white button-down shirt, and straw hat,
he glides along a winding dirt path that
slices through the dominant green in the
shot. The producer exhales. The scene is
exactly what he had envisionedand
will be the perfect opener for his
upcoming documentary.
In Lin Sun Oos lm, U Thaung
Khaings soft voice narrates a moving
portrayal of Than Bo Lay, a village in
Magway district, where, in 2010, the
regime conscated land from the areas
farmers. During the militarys rule, the
regime regularly appropriated property
for its development projects, while
oering little or no compensation to
those who relied on the elds for their
livelihoods.
When the 27-year-old documentarian
Burmese crews and actors set up before lming at the Myanmar Motion Picture Museum in Yangon on December 25, 2013.
FOREI GN POLI CY
75
IN OTHER WORDS
rst met the farmer, it seemed the two
were equally relieved to have found one
another. Wed found someone who was
very articulate and with whom we could
have an intimate conversation, Lin Sun
Oo says. I think it was the rst time he
had got the chance to explain the impact
of their loss of forest to outsiders.
But this moment represents more than
a documentarian telling the story of a
farmer who lost his land. It is a snapshot
of two Burmese citizensan artist and a
villagerenjoying the freedom to speak,
criticize, and document openly, without
fear of retribution from the military that
ruled the country from 1962 until just a
few years ago. For ve decades, govern-
ment censors gagged not only the news
media, but also the lm, art, and
literature communities. For lmmakers
in particular, the use of camcorders
without a license and the unauthorized
publishing or screening of recorded
material was a criminal act. And, then, in
November 2010, Burma held elections,
the new government instituted reforms,
and things began to change.
Today, Lin Sun Oo is among a handful
of gutsy Burmese who are using motion
pictures to push for greater political and
historical transparency. Some are new to
the lm scene while others are climbing
up from the underground. The shift
heralds a signicant revolution for the
countrys lm industryand for Burmas
understanding of the abuses that its
leaders had long concealed.
ALTHOUGH THE MAJORITY OF BURMESE HAD
never seen one until recently, provoca-
tive and artistic lms are in Burmas very
nature. As early as 1906, 21 years after
Britain took control of the entire country,
crowds gathered under the stars in
Yangons narrow back streets to watch
grainy images projected onto cotton
sheets. But what started as pure theater
evolved into a lm scene far more
substantialand political.
By 1920, Britains hold on the country
was tight. Not only did a small number of
British companies dominate the
countrys economy, but Indian laborers
were brought in to work the countrys
jobs, fueling widespread indigenous
unemployment. Film became an outlet
for nationalist sentiment. In 1931, Parrot
Film Co.led by U Sunny, a hardened
patriot unafraid of beaming his anti-Brit-
ish sentiment onto the big screende-
buted 36 Animals, a lm exposing the
complicity of the colonial police force in
illegal gambling. Other lmmakers soon
began casting a critical eye on British
rule in Burma. These exposs helped fuel
a movement for independence that
gathered pace with protests in Yangon
and Mandalay by the late 1930s. In 1948,
as they shed their colonial possessions in
a postwar retrenchment, the British
withdrew and Burma became an
independent democracy.
But Burmas brief irtation with
representative government was cut short
by a 1962 coup that left the military in
charge. It wasnt until the 1968 rollout of
the Film Council, an outt tasked with
using cinema to promote the regimes
ultranationalism, that the dictatorship
actively constricted artistic freedom,
according to Grace Swe Zin Htaik,
secretary general of the Myanmar Motion
Picture Organization. The big screen was
soon dominated by lms like 1979s Ah
Mi Myay Hma Thar Kaung Myar (Good
Sons of the Motherland)produced by
the Oce of the Director of Combat
Trainingin which Burmese patriots
fended o foreign meddlers.
Burmese directors, however, didnt
flinch just yet, and they continued
creating films. In the early 1970s, A1
Film, the countrys most prominent
production company, shot Journey to
Piya, a film about a road trip gone
wrongan old vehicle beset with
multiple engine breakdowns served as a
metaphor for the decade after the coup.
This didnt go over well. And it didnt
take long before the Film Council
banned the film and the government
put the companys founder on watch.
Authoritarian rule continued through-
out the 1970s and 80s. Gen. Ne Win, who
had led the coup, nationalized private
industries and put them in the hands of
military leaders. In 1987, on the advice of
an astrologer, he announced that only
bank notes divisible by ninean
auspicious number for himwould be
allowed, causing millions of Burmese to
lose their savings overnight.
Ne Win resigned the following year,
but with the military showing few signs
that it would relinquish its grip on the
country, hundreds of thousands of
people across Burma took to the streets
in 1988 to demand democratic elec-
tions. The military responded with
force, and within two months, up to
3,000 people were dead and thousands
Filmmakers began
casting a critical
eye on British rule
in Burma. These
exposs helped
fuel a movement for
independence.
The interior of the Waziyar Cinema, which rst opened in 1999 in downtown Yangon.
MARCH/APRI L 2014
76
IN OTHER WORDS
were behind bars.
Following Ne Wins resignation, a
clique of generals from his inner circle
formed a military junta. The State Law
and Order Restoration Council, as it was
known, continued to use lm as a
propaganda tool. Burmas all-time
highest-grossing lm, 1996s Thu Chun
Ma Kan Bi (Never Shall We Be Enslaved),
which was reportedly funded by the
regime, focused on the British Armys
seizure of Mandalay in 1885. Its heroes
were a group of army generals who
ignored the demands of King Mindon
Min to cease resistance against Britains
conquest of the country. The lm was
almost euphoric in its depiction of the
renegade ghtersan unsubtle lesson in
the importance of patriotism.
Decades of economic mismanagement
during the Ne Win years followed by
enormous military expenditures under
the junta further degraded Burmas
economy. By 2007, the Burmese people
were furious: Sky-high fuel prices
sparked the monk-led uprising that year
in which more than 100 protesters were
killed. Three years later, the regime,
realizing citizen ire was not about to
dissipate, held elections and introduced a
quasi-civilian government led by
President Thein Seina general
nicknamed Mr. Clean for his rare ability
to avoid corruption scandalswho
instituted political and economic reforms
in a bid to end sanctions and spur
Western investment, all to much
applause from the United States and
Europe.
For filmmakers, the pivotal moment
came in March 2011, when the presi-
dent, in a speech, emphasized the role
of the media in a free society. Almost
overnight, independent media became
a tool for democracy, where it had long
only been viewed as nothing more than
seditious and criminal by the regime. In
January 2013, when the censorship
board was dissolved, journalists, artists,
and filmmakers were free to produce
material without their work being
vetted by the once-feared Information
Ministry.
Within six months of Thein Seins
seminal speech, a collective of lmmak-
ers organized the Wathann Film Festival,
Burmas rst such event. The documen-
taries it features have grown to become
bold, provocative, and critical of the
former regime. In 2013, its top documen-
tary prize went to Shin Daewe, who
TOP TO BOTTOM: a demolished theater in Yangon; actress Grace Swe Zin Htaik looks at a painting of herself at the Motion
Picture Museum; an old 35mm lm camera and sound-recording machine at the museum.
FOREI GN POLI CY
77
IN OTHER WORDS
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tracked the plight of Burmese refugees
from Kachin state when they ed to
China in 2011 amid erce ghting
between the Burmese army and Kachin
rebels. Because the government
attempts to prevent journalists from
entering rebel-held territory, the lm
oers rare insight into the human costs
of this conict.
Just a few years ago, this work could
have landed Shin Daewe a 10-year prison
sentence. But now, shes working on a
documentary about a major industrial
development on Burmas southern
coastline that, upon completion, will
become Southeast Asias largest
industrial complexbut that could
ultimately displace up to 30,000 people
from the bucolic shing villages that
line the Dawei coast.
The budding documentary scene got
another boost in January 2012, when
Aung San Suu Kyichair of the National
League for Democracy and a Nobel
Peace Prize laureatehosted the rst
Art of Freedom Film Festival. Her
inaugural speech, along with its coveted
endorsement of the festival, signaled the
importance of the industry to the
democratization process she has long
demanded.
Similar to Wathann, Art of Freedoms
top works have been largely political. One
of the most highly acclaimed documenta-
ries featured has been director Sai Kyaw
Khaings Click in Fear, which followed
journalist Law Eh Soe as he covertly
covered the 2007 uprising. Like the
journalists he followed, Sai Kyaw Khaing
had been underground, working as a
cameraman and producer for the news
organization Democratic Voice of Burma
(DVB), a group of activists, political
prisoners, and rebels turned journalists.
Formed in exile in 1992, the collective
established a network of journalists
inside Burma to surreptitiously shoot
footage of the abusive military regime.
The network would then send the news to
DVBs oces in Thailand and Norway,
where the footage would be edited into
news segments and transmitted back into
Burma via radio and, in 2005, satellite TV.
The head organizer of the Wathann
Film Fest, known only as Thaiddhi, is
also no stranger to illicit journalism. After
a cyclone ripped through southern
Burma and killed up to 140,000 people in
2008, the regime locked down the region,
blocking aid to victims, expelling the
media, and ramping up surveillance of
journalists. Videographers lmed in the
delta and went about their work with
meticulous care, often splitting o and
For lmmakers,
the pivotal moment
came in March 2011,
when the president
emphasized the
role of the media
in a free society.
Almost overnight,
independent media
became a tool for
democracy.
MARCH/APRI L 2014
78
IN OTHER WORDS
entering the region with their cameras
disassembled and the component parts
divided up among them to avoid
detection. Thaiddhi and his team
wrapped up NargisWhen Time Stopped
Breathing in 2010, but his documentary,
shot in the delta, was illegal, so he
couldnt share it with anyone aside from
a close network of friends and journalists
inside Burma. The lmmaker nally
showed his lm in Burma in 2012.
Thaiddhi says that today Yangon has
only a few production houses dedicated
to documentary lmnot a huge
number, but its a laudable start, given
that only three years ago there was none.
Most of todays documentaries are
screened only at the independent lm
festivals like Wathann, which is now an
annual xture in Yangon. In the festivals
rst year, 23 Burmese lms were
screened. Two years later, in 2013, some
2,500 people attended the four-day event,
which featured 33 Burmese-made lms.
The expansion of nonction lm
stands in sharp contrast to the countrys
declining commercial movie industry
saturated with the Burmese version of
screwball comedies and love stories
where, in 2012, only 30 percent of the
movies in theaters were Burmese
productions. In the 1970s, when
Burmese lm was at its peak, an average
of 70 indigenous lms were released
every year, according to Grace Swe Zin
Htaik. Unlike the laborious and
time-consuming documentaries being
produced today, the big-screen main-
stream movies are sometimes cheaply
and hastily created in seven days,
including postproduction. In 2013, the
Myanmar Motion Picture Academy
Awards featured 12 award categories, but
only 17 lms were even considered.
Zay Par, a mainstream lm director,
sees opportunity in the marriage of fact
and ction. He is creating a fea-
ture-length movie based on the events
surrounding the 1988 uprising. If it makes
it to the countrys theaters, it will be the
rst dramatization ever produced in
Burma that deals with politically
sensitive subject matter since the dawn of
Ne Wins rule 52 years ago. It will also be
the rst time the momentous events of
1988 are rendered on the big screen. His
intent is deliberate: to meld entertain-
ment and education. We aim to promote
knowledge among oppressed rural
villagerseducate them about their
rights, encourage them to read more.
The publics pent-up appetite for truth
is certainly voracious. In the past year,
the government has granted dozens of
licenses for new daily newspapers.
These newspapers, as well as foreign
papers like the International New York
Times and the Bangkok Post, are all sold
at newsstands. In the past, newsstands
were only permitted to sell newspapers
and periodicals approved by the
government. Papers were printed and
then sent to the censors; because it was
costly to reprint papers after the censors
had redacted information, it was not
uncommon to buy a newspaper with
large holes actually cut out of some of
the pages.
Although the climate of fear for
lmmakers has eased, there is still a
hangover eectand of course the ruling
party, while elected, is backed by the
military. Lin Sun Oo says that on several
occasions in 2013, while shooting his
documentary, he was followed by
plainclothes police ocers. They want
you to know youre being watched, and
sometimes theyll ask where were going
next, he says, adding that no action has
yet been taken against him. Rather than
succumbing to intimidation, he embraces
their presence as inspiration. Sometimes
they help nd subjects for your story. Its
a matter of getting them to understand
why we believe its important.
The uncertainty over how this
transitional period will play out pervades
all rungs of Burmese society, from the
military hawks anxious that democracy
will dilute the Burmese elites power to
the general population, which knows all
too well its rulers mercurial nature.
Burmese lmmakers, however, seem
hopeful that they will be able to cast a
light where shadows have long stood. Lin
Sun Oo is both optimistic and cautious:
I believe that we live in exciting times.
We are at the cusp of change, but I am
not able to determine what these changes
will lead to.
Francis Wade is a freelance journalist
based in Bangkok.
TOP: Actors prepare to sell tickets for
the 2013 Myanmar
Academy Awards in downtown
Yangon in December 2013.
LEFT: Producer Lin Sun Oo.
FOREI GN POLI CY
79
COLUMN
created, helping to
produce the jobless recovery with which
the United States and other economies
are struggling. As Andrew McAfee and
Erik Brynjolfsson of the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology have discussed in
their important books, Race Against the
Machine and The Second Machine Age, we
are likely to soon enter a period in which
considerably less traditional work will be
done by human beings. Just as previous
technological revolutions nearly eliminat-
ed entire classes of eld workers, laborers,
and craftsmen, the next wave of change
will target white-collar jobs.
Economies are changing in other ways
too. Data ows are becoming as important
to competitive success as capital ows.
Supply chains are changing dramatically
not only because of shifting sources of
resources and demand, but also because
of manufacturing tools that, among other
things, are creating new capacities for
localized production. Technologies like
3-D printing, for example, may soon move
some work from factories to local shops,
even to homes.
Giant global companies are able to
adapt better to these changes than are
political entities, tied down to the land
beneath their feet like Gulliver in Lilliput.
My friend, the author Tom Friedman,
talks about these companies oating
above the countries that were once their
domiciles. New technologies are starting
to make it possible for entire communi-
ties of people to do the same.
This all suggests that traditional systems
of social organization are increasingly
ill-suited for our brave new world. Consider
the law: Even exible constitutions like
that of the United States werent built to
deal with the issues that would almost
certainly be occupying the framers minds,
were they alive todaylike who owns the
data we produce, what privacy rights we
should have, and whether we are born with
an inalienable right to access the Internet.
Existing economic models, global
alliances, and international institutions
are just as poorly equipped for handling
the tasks at hand.
Who works inside these systems is also
problematic. Lets take the U.S. Congress
as an example, given that it is the top
legislative body in the worlds most
powerful country. Only 12 percent of
Congresss members have a background
in science or technology, according to a
2011 study by the Employment Policies
Institute. And based on my conversations
with tech executives who regularly
interact with Congress, just a handful of
people on Capitol Hill truly understand
the implications of the big data, cyber,
and other technological revolutions.
Turn the subject to how next-generation
neuroscience and biotech developments
will raise critical questions about how we
deal with mental health, crime, extended
life expectancy, bioethics, and health-
care costs, and the number falls even
further. In many cases to zero, a
professor at one of Americas leading
schools of public health recently told me.
The challenge we face is thus two-
pronged: The structures organizing the
world are rapidly approaching their
sell-by datesthe time at which they
need to be refreshed, reconsidered, and
reinventedand the people who should
be leading that process are among the
least qualied to do so.
This can only be addressed by bridging
the worrying divide between policymak-
ing and technological development.
Although it is encouraging to see some
familiar faces from Silicon Valley and
other parts of the tech world more
frequently in Washington and world
capitals these days, unless more show up,
trouble looms. What we need is a wider,
deeper conversation between the two
sides and a major eort to nd a new
generation of leaders who truly under-
stand innovationboth its potential and
its pitfalls. If we can nd these leaders,
we can harness the promise of todays
multiple tech revolutions, and their
benets can extendmore than they
already havefrom top to bottom
in a more closely integrated and ever-
changing global community.
David Rothkopf is CEO and editor of the FP
Group.
FOREIGN POLICY (ISSN 0015-7228) March/April 2014,
issue number 205. Published six times each year, in Jan-
uary, March, May, July, September, and November, by The
FP Group, a division of The Graham Holdings Company, at
11 Dupont Circle NW, Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20036.
Subscriptions: U.S., $59.99 per year; Canada and other
countries, $59.99. Periodicals Postage Paid in Washing-
ton, D.C., and at additional mailing ofces. POSTMASTER:
Send U.S. address changes to: FOREIGN POLICY, P.O. Box
283, Congers, NY 10920-0283. Return undeliverable
Canadian addresses to: P.O. Box 503, RPO West Beaver
Creek, Richmond Hill, ON L4B 4R6. Printed in the USA.
<< CONTINUED FROM PAGE 80
MARCH/APRI L 2014
80
The fabric of civilization is being rewoven around us. The very
nature of life, work, and society is changing so profoundly that
we are approaching a moment at which our old ways of thinking
about the structures that sustain us may be seen as obsolete.
This happens periodically throughout historythink of
the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the
Industrial Revolution. Such eras often produce turmoil or
upheaval, until leaders emerge who are able to help shape a new
order for a new age.
The question today is whether our leaders are up to the
challenge. Given their lack of grounding in the worlds most
pressing scientic and technological issues, I fear many, if not
most, are not.
Formerly disenfranchised populations are increasingly
connecting to telecom, Internet, and other services. For
instance, mobile-phone penetration was estimated to have
surpassed 80 percent in Africa in the rst quarter of 2013, accord-
ing to gures published in 2012 by ABI Research. Whats more, it
is growing faster in Africa than anywhere else in the world. And
though smartphone penetration in Africa is just 20 percent
pretty near global levelsit is expected to explode in the next
few years.
Such trends mean that huge populations are connecting to
one another and to communities worldwide. We are already
seeing the implications in countless waysfrom Januarys
ash-mob political protests in Brazilian malls, to the crowds
that have amassed in Egypts Tahrir Square, to the success
extremist groups have had in attracting recruits in Syria.
Connectivity, of course, does more than turbocharge and add
volatility to political processes. Next year, Facebook will surpass
China as the worlds largest organized community, and while
China has an army, history, and culture all its own, Facebook
users are not constrained by borders or societal fragmentation.
Sure, Facebook is not a country, but what of it? Geographically
constrained communities are so 500 years ago. There are
arguably stronger ties (or the potential for them) among people
who share political, artistic, religious, or other similarities across
national boundaries than there are among people who happen
to be born down the street from one other.
New technologies and widening access to them are linking and
empowering people in other ways as well. Education, for instance,
is becoming more ubiquitous and harder to limit to the few who
can aord it. Of course, we also saw more clearly than ever in
2013 that technological change is transforming the way powerful
actorsfrom governments to businesses to rogue groupscan
capture and use information to their advantage. In the years ahead,
we certainly will see that the most technologically enabled will
possess ever-greater means of building wealth, keeping down their
opponents, and exacerbating inequality.
The economy is another front where the rapid pace of
technological change is inuencing virtually everything. It is
making employment available outside traditional workplaces
and providing new opportunities for the disabled and elderly.
But it is also changing the way jobs are
Disconnected
By David Rothkopf
Illustration by Matt Chase
COLUMN
CONTINUED ON PAGE 79 >>
The Asia Foundation is using innovations in mobile technology
to increase access to security and justice for vulnerable groups,
like trafficked women and girls. And were working with leading
design and technology firms to put activists at the center to
drive that innovation.
In Cambodia, poverty and unsafe labor migration practices put many at risk of
exploitation and abuse, most commonly in labor and sex trafficking. Increasing
access to security and justice for those at risk is at the forefront of our work.
Read more at asiafoundation.org #Asia60
Addressing the critical issues
facing Asia in the 21
st
century

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