It's been nearly twenty-five years since the shah of Iran was overthrown in a popular revolution. The ensuing American hostage crisis marked the beginning of an era of mutual hostility between Iran and the United States—Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini often called the United States "the Great Satan"; more recently President Bush placed Iran on the so-called axis of evil. But an increasingly visible democratic reform movement supported by young Iranians born after the revolution suggests that Iran may be entering a new era of change. Just how powerful is the reform movement in Iran? And what should the United States do, if anything, to help bring about a new Iran?
In his new book, The Decadent Society, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat presents a theory: “Western society stopped advancing in the second half of the 20th century."
For forty-five years, the threat of conflict with the Soviet Union brought the United States and Western Europe into a tight partnership, most notably represented by the NATO military alliance. But with the Soviet Union gone and the European Union on the road to possible superpower status in its own right, does the transatlantic alliance have a future? Peter Robinson speaks with Niall Ferguson, Josef Joffe, and Coit Blacker.
Most people would agree that families and the institution of marriage are not what they were fifty years ago. Many couples are cohabiting without marriage, and many children are being raised in single-parent homes or other nontraditional family arrangements. Is the traditional model of marriage and family superior to these other arrangements, as some would argue? If so, why have marriage and family relationships changed so much over the past half-century? And what should the government do, if anything, to strengthen families and the institution of marriage? Peter Robinson speaks with Jennifer Roback Morse and Stephanie Coontz.
In 1998, at an United Nations conference in Rome, 120 nations voted in favor of creating the International Criminal Court. Following the model of the Nuremburg and Tokyo war crimes tribunals after WWII, the ICC would hold individuals responsible for their roles in grave human rights violations, war crimes and genocide. Why was the United States one of only seven nations to vote against the ICC? Does the ICC go against American principles of international law or is the United States trying to hold itself above the law? What is the risk that American leaders will be tried before the Court?
In 1996, California began the process of deregulating its electric utilities, a process closely watched nationwide, as twenty-five other states also move toward deregulation. The results thus far in California: A power crisis—electricity shortages, rolling blackouts, utilities on the verge of bankruptcy, and rising rates for customers. Was utility deregulation just poorly managed in California or are the electric utilities fundamentally different than industries that have benefitted from deregulation, such as airlines and telephone? Will the California power crisis bring the national movement toward energy deregulation to a halt or not?
For decades the United States, the former Soviet Union, China, Britain and France were the world's only nuclear powers. But that is changing. When India and Pakistan conducted nuclear weapons tests in 1998, they demonstrated that they had both the ability and the will to build nuclear weapons. Is the United States doing enough to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons? Are we prepared for the very real possibility that nations such as North Korea and Iran may soon be able to build nuclear weapons?
In 2000, the amount of money spent in political campaigns in the United States may reach three billion dollars. Is that too much? Have our politicians been corrupted by special interests and their money? What can be done to reform our system of campaign finance? Should contribution limits be raised or eliminated? Is immediate public disclosure of contributions the answer? What are the prospects for campaign finance reform in the near future?
More than fifty years after the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. the Board of Education, there is still an unacceptable gap between the academic achievements of white and black students in America. In fact, by some standards, black students today perform more poorly than they did fifteen years ago. Why? What role does culture play? Does culture explain the disparate performance of Hispanic and Asian students? And just how should we go about trying to close this gap? Peter Robinson speaks with Bernard Gifford, Abigail Thernststrom, and Stephan Thernstrom.
Is Saudi Arabia an ally or an adversary? Saudi Arabia remains an autocratic monarchy, where the rights of women and the press are severely restricted. Saudi money is a principal source of funding for the Wahhabi sect, which promotes a militant form of Islam throughout the Muslim world. Osama bin Laden and fifteen of the nineteen participants in the attacks of September 11 came from Saudi Arabia. And yet, for more than 50 years, the United States has treated Saudi Arabia as an ally. Why? What role have Saudi oil and Saudi oil money played in shaping our relationship? Is it time to recognize that Saudi Arabia may threaten American national interests? If so, what should U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia be?
What should be done with the federal budget surplus? Does it make sense to spend the surplus on new government programs? What benefits the economy more, cutting taxes or paying down the national debt? Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman offers his advice.
During the past decade, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have been able to capture a majority of the vote in national elections. In fact, the country hasn't been so evenly divided since the 1870s. Some say this is evidence of a culture war and a political divide that has split the country into two Americas. Others disagree, arguing that in fact most Americans are in the moderate middle and are divided on relatively few issues. Who's right?
More than eighty years ago, President Woodrow Wilson presided over the U.S. entry into the First World War, promising that it would be "the war to end all war." Wilson promoted "peace without victory" and the creation of a League of Nations with the power to enforce the peace thereafter. At that time, Wilson's vision was dismissed by European and American leaders alike as naive idealism. Today, however, Robert S. McNamara, former U.S. secretary of defense, believes that Wilson's vision is essential to reducing the risk of conflict and war in the twenty-first century.
The traditional notion of marriage, that of a union between one man and one woman, goes back thousands of years in cultures from around the world. But at the beginning of the 21st century, a debate is building in this country over the definition of marriage, specifically over the issue of same sex marriage. Are two men, or two women, in a committed relationship entitled to the sanctions and legal benefits of marriage? What roles will popular sentiment and judicial activism have in the struggle to redefine marriage?
The decades of the 1980s and 1990s seem to offer two different fiscal models for promoting economic growth. The 1980s under President Reagan suggest that cutting taxes is more important than balancing the budget. The 1990s under President Clinton suggest the importance of balancing the budget with moderate tax increases. Yet the results in each decade were similar: sustained economic growth. President George W. Bush has clearly been following the Reagan model in his first term: enacting large tax cuts even as the federal budget approaches record deficits. But has the Bush team taken the correct lessons from our recent economic past? Do the Bush policies promote long-term growth or jeopardize it?
Art and images from the latest edition of the Hoover Digest
Hoover fellows are famous as generators of ideas, but they’re just as active in getting their insights into the hands of leaders in policy, business, and public opinion. Among Hoover’s range of programs for making those connections is the Leadership Forum, which brings influential members of the policy, business, and international community to Hoover for a 360-degree primer on the policy challenges and solutions at the top of Hoover fellows’ minds.
A class essay condemning rape was ‘unnecessarily provocative,’ the Title IX coordinator allegedly said.
Just two years ago, in the 2000 fiscal year, the annual federal budget had a surplus of $236 billion. Now the federal government is facing a budget deficit of more than $150 billion, possibly much more. And whereas during the presidential campaign of 2000, the candidates were debating how to spend trillions in expected future surpluses, the Congressional Budget Office is now projecting a cumulative $1 trillion deficit by 2011. What happened to the surplus, and what is to blame for the return of the deficit? Is it President Bush's tax cut? Or was it the recession of 2001 and the war on terrorism? In light of the deficit, what should we make of the president's budget plans?