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“ this point, of course, it’s
the number of people that died in
water under the bridge.” officially recorded coal mine acci-
— Sarah Palin, referring to her criticism of the
McCain campaign advisors in her new memoir, dents across China during the first
Going Rogue. half of this year.

the decrease in coal mining deaths
“I enjoyed the book and she and I in China between last year and this
are dear friends.” year.
— Senator McCain on Palin’s book Going Rogue,
which exposes tensions between Palin and Mc-
Cain during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Best Sellers
“And I think most people would Going Rogue by Sarah Palin, which
be much more comfortable documents her experiences as the
with us biting off what we vice presidential candidate during
could chew,” the 2008 presidential election.
— Senator Lamar Alexander, (R-TN), criticizing

the scope of the proposed health care plan in
the Senate.

A Simple Christmas by Mike Hucka-

bee, which is a series of short sto-
ries for the holiday season.

“Carroll County is 10.5%. Maybe

that would cut it down in half,”
— Jerry Hebeler, discussing the positive eco-
nomic consequences of a plan to move Guan-
tamano detainees to his town.
the amount paid at an auction for
the white glove Michael Jackson
“If the enemy wants to test its wore during the 1983 premiere of
bad luck and fire a missile into the moonwalk dance.
Iran, before the dust settles,
Iran’s ballistic missiles will tar-
get the heart of Tel Aviv”
— Mojtaba Zolnour, the Iranian Supreme Leader
Ayatollah Khamenei’s representative, in a the total amount paid for Michael
statement to the Islamic Republic News Jackson’s memorabilia at an auction
in New York.
Politically Correct WUPR’S ONLY HUMOR

With the blockbuster movie “2012” out in theaters,

how do YOU think the world is going to end in 2012?

Take the quiz and find out!


1) In a time of need, you pray to D) SETI analyst (4 Points)

A) God (1 Point) E) Comic book store clerk (5 Points)
B) Copijcha, the god of rain (2 Points)
C) Rush Limbaugh (3 Points) 5) You named your son
D) Will Smith (4 Points) A) Jonathon (1 Point)
E) Vampires and werewolves (5 Points) B) Tezcatlipoca (2 Points)
C) Ronald Reagan (3 Points)
2) The last time you killed an animal was D) An unpronounceable string of bizarre sounds
A) When you drove over a squirrel (1 Point) (4 Points)
B) A baby sacrifice to the gods (2 Points) E) When I have a son I’m going to name him Edward
C) To protest the House passing healthcare. Commies! (5 points)
(3 Points)
D) A platypus, because you thought it was an alien. 6) You’re afraid of
(4 Points) A) Spiders (1 Point)
E) I don’t kill animals, because they could be magical B) The god of rain causing a drought because the
creatures (5 Points) sacrifice to him was not sufficient (2 Points)
C) Obamunism (3 Points)
3) You were excited by the invention of D) The White House being blown up by aliens
A) The iPhone (1 Point) (4 Points)
B) The wheel (2 Points) E) There not being a sequel to “New Moon”
C) Supply side economics. That’ll show them socialists
(3 Points) 7) Your favorite snack is
D) The tinfoil helmet to shield you from the ALIENS! A) Oreos (1 point)
(4 Points) B) Maize (2 points)
E) The movie poster (5 Points) C) Apple pie with a 72oz steak (3 points)
D) Saltines--aliens hate salt (4 points)
4) You work as a(n) E) Tomato juice, the thicker the better (5 points)
A) Accountant (1 Point)
B) Hunter/Gatherer (2 Points) Answers on Page 44
C) Truck Driver (3 Points)

December Edition Washington University Political Review 1

The Washington University

Political Review December Edition

C o n t e n t s
Making Marriage Free to All 4
Laura Lane-Steele
The Adventures of Bill Clinton 6
Mike Friend

America’s Health Care Disparities 8

Peter Birke

America’s Second-Class Colonials 10

Lennox Mark
Siddharth Krishnan imagines the future
Supersizing America’s Taxes 11
issues of the world’s energy. Page 18. Alex Hoogland

Obama’s War 12
Corey Donahue

Feeding Frenzy Vol. 2 14

Andrew Luskin

Islam in France 16
Michael Brodsky

The Future of Power in China and India 18

Siddharth Krishnan

Mosque Controversy in Copenhagen 20

Anna Applebaum

Puerto Rican Voting Rights 22

Agnes Trenche
The Problems with a “Free Tibet” 23
Andrew Luskin rips through the stories of Derek Sun
the day with venom and wit in the latest
edition of feeding frenzy. Page 14. Shooting at Ford Hood 24
Dan Rebnord


Anna Applebaum considers the MICHAEL BRODSKY

cultural significance of new mosques JOSH TRUPPMAN

in Copenhagen. Page 20. NICK WILBAR
Health Care Reform Done Right 26 AGNES SANDS

Gavin Frisch MICHAL HYRC

Lingering Discrimination on Campus 28 BRYAN BAIRD
Marcus Walton DEREK SUN
A Duel of Economic Views 30 WILLY CHOTZEN-FREUND

Johan Oloffson and Spencer Berry TREASURER

Conflict in the Middle East 32 EDITORIAL ILLUSTRATORS

Passage of the Lisbon Treaty 34 CARTER MALOUF

Preventing Gendercide 35 SNOW POWERS

The Taliban-Drug Nexus 36 LAYOUT STAFF BETEL EZAZ
The Million Dollar Man 38
The Green Deception 40
Alex Kaufman

Chasing the Crazy out of the GOP 42

Jake Laperruque
Making Equality
Laura L an e - S t e ele

iscrimination and hate against marginal-
ized populations is still widespread (e.g.
the Mother’s Bar incident). However,
LGBT people are the only remaining minority
group that does not have legal protection against
discrimination. Although the LGBT movement
has made tremendous strides in the last few de-
cades, there is still vast amount of ground to be
When it comes to political activism, Pride Al-
liance’s approach is twofold. We understand the
importance of “activism” in the traditional sense:
we protested on the State House steps when
Proposition 8 was passed in California, we call
and write to our local and national politicians
urging them to support equality, and we have an
active partnership with PROMO (Missouri’s pri-
mary LGBT lobbying group). However, we also
recognize that changes in legislation and policy
will not happen (or will not be effective even if
they do happen) until the hearts and minds of
Americans are changed as well. Every state that
has marriage equality has done so through the
courts, and when marriage equality has been put
up for the popular vote, it has lost. Badly. Every
single time. And even if ENDA (the employment
non-discrimination act) is signed into law, em-
ployers will have no trouble coming up with an
excuse to fire or not hire an LGBT person. Laws
that grant equality to LGBT people will not be
effective until people actually believe that LGBT
people should be equal. Achieving this goal is
Pride Alliance’s second form of political activ-

4 Washington University Political Review December Edition

Free To All
ism. So how exactly do you change someone’s al identities are essential not only because they Two best friends who live together? Widowers?
mind about these issues? Coming out, if done in constantly intersect but because as Martin Lu- Divorcees? Why aren’t these groups of people
a safe environment, can be a very effective first ther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat entitled to the same rights as heterosexual mar-
step. It has been shown that when people know to justice everywhere”. ried couples? Many people in the LGBT move-
an out LGBT person, they are significantly more It also frustrates me that gay marriage is the ment do not recognize that marriage itself can
likely to vote for pro-gay legislation. But coming main issue in the LGBT movement. It is the is- be a form of discrimination. While I believe that
out can’t be the end of the conversation. LGBT sue that has drawn the most media attention and the right to get married is important, I do not
people and straight allies must continue to have the most money. First of all, our community has think that it should be what is driving the move-
dialogues with their friends, family members, much bigger problems than marriage equality. ment-politically, socially, or financially.
and coworkers who still oppose equality. We For instance, every three days, a transgender So where do we go from here? We are told to
have to convince people that the real gay agenda person is killed. LGBT youth have unacceptable be patient. That our time will come. That this
is actually quite con- civil rights movement has
servative: get married, “LGBT activism must be rooted in made huge strides in a short
get a job, and join the
military. Pride Alliance the larger social justice movement.” number of years unprec-
edented. That Obama is on
believes that working on our side but there are just
the legislative level as well as the interpersonal suicide, mental illness, and homelessness rates. too many other things on his plate right now.
level is the best approach to LGBT activism in A person can be fired from his or her job simply But we are tired of being patient and we are tired
this country. because an employer thinks they could be gay or of paying taxes to a government and contrib-
Speaking as an individual, not as the presi- transgender. So why is gay marriage the head- uting to a society that does not yet consider us
dent of Pride Alliance, I believe LGBT activ- liner issue for our movement? I think that it is completely equal. And our hearts continue to be
ism must be rooted in the larger social justice at least partially because of the systems of hier- broken every time our fellow American citizens
movement. As a community we have to realize archy and privilege that exist in our own LGBT overwhelmingly vote hate into law. Given this
that other types of discrimination (classism, rac- community. The LGBT movement has histori- frustration and fatigue, LGBT people and our al-
ism, sexism etc.) affect our members as much cally been led by its most privileged members: lies must continue to be active in this movement
or more than homophobia and heterosexism. Middle to upper class gay white men. They do and the larger social justice movement. Get an-
It frustrates me when we assume that other op- not have to worry about poverty, job security, gry. Protest. Write senators. Talk to your friends
pressed minorities have an obligation to stand transgender stigma, and racism- pretty much about why they should too.
up and fight for LGBT rights when we do not the only privilege they lack is marriage equality.
reach out and stand up for their rights as well. Second of all, gay and lesbian families are not the Laura
Instead of waiting for a hand, let’s offer up ours only families who deserve the same 1049 rights, nior

first. Collaboration and combining efforts across privileges, and benefits of married heterosexual Sciences.
marginalized race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexu- couples. What about single parent households? com.

December Edition Washington University Political Review 5

Politically Correct

The Adventures of
Bill Clinton
The control room filled with a warm buzzing it? “Zoo must go into the conservaverse and re- Several hours later Clinton and Dein finished
noise as Clinton stepped in. On the walls of the trieve Dick Cheney. Here, take this communica- loading the cows. As they got into the cab of
control room were the words “C.E.R.N testing tion device so I can talk with you while you are the truck and started to drive down the narrow
facility.” Clinton looked around for some button there.” With that Bill took the device, placed it road Clinton asked, “Why is this road only wide
or dial he could use to make the buzzing noise into his ear and jumped into the portal. enough for one car?” “Well, when I built it I only
stop as it got louder and louder. The noise became Bill awoke to find himself staring down the owned one car.” “You built this road by yourself?”
so deafening that Clinton’s fillings began to rattle barrel of a fully automatic .50 caliber machine “Roads don’t build themselves.” “Bill, zhere is no
in his head and his two titanium knees began to gun. He was sitting on a strip of asphalt wide infrastructure in the conservaverse. Everyone
quake. “Warning: dimensional breach initiated,” enough for exactly one car. “Sir, you are tres- does everything for themselves, including build-
said a calm French female voice. Suddenly the passing on my property,” said the man. Clinton ing roads. If you keep asking stupid questions
room went dark and there was an explosion. peered over the end of the weapon to see the face Dein will become suspicious of you. Clinton’s
Clinton went unconscious. When he woke up of Howard Dean. “Howard, what are you doing horror was interrupted as the engine of the truck
the control room was no more, the wall where with that gun?” “Zhat is not Howard Dean” said exploded in flame. “Goddamit that’s the 5th one
the panel of dials and knobs have stood had the scientist over the communication device today” said Dein. “Well I guess we’ll have to walk
been destroyed to reveal a huge tube. Suspended “He is Howard Dein, the mirror of your Howard to the nearest vending machine.” “You’re just go-
above this tube was a black circle floating in the Dean in the conservaverse.” Dein asked again, ing to leave your burning truck here?” “Sure,
air. Staring into this hole frightened Clinton as he “What are you doing here?” Before Clinton had I can always buy a new one.” “What about the
knew that the darkness was a façade and some- time to answer Dein yelled “get down” he fired cows?” “I’m sure we will run into another herd
thing hideous and evil was on the other side of his machine gun into the woods for 5 minutes on the way there, don’t worry you’ll get your
the interdimensional gate that had been created. until he ran out of ammo, cutting down 10 red- cow.” After walking for half an hour Clinton and
Clinton’s eyes were drawn from the interdimen- woods in the process. “Byaaaaah! Did you see Dein came upon a vending machine. The ma-
sional rift by a tapping on his shoulder. It was a that! That herd of cows didn’t have a chance!” chine had a giant logo on it which said Mega-
little man in a lab coat who spoke with a strong In the smoldering wreckage of the forest Clinton Corp. When Clinton and Dein walked up to the
German accent. “I was forced by Dick Cheney saw 50 bullet riddled cows laying on the ground. machine it began talking to them “Welcome,
to make a portal to the conservaverse which is “Why did you do that?” “Well a man has got to valued customer to the MegaCorp vending ma-
what you see ahead of me. It is a universe where feed his family.” “With 50 cows?” “Bill, in zhe chine. Pick one of the six options of what you
liberal ideas never existed.” “So you mean it is a conservaverse because no one believes in work- want. Clinton looked at the options: “Energy
portal to hell?” “No, hell is located in the center ing together zhere are no supermarkets or infra- Drink, Lead Paint, Gasoline, Twinkie, American
of New Jersey, but we do znot zave time to talk. structure so people have to hunt for their own Flag, Lightsaber”. Clinton clicked the option that
You must listen. Now that a portal to the conser- food. Also because people follow the Bible to zhe said lightsaber, the machine said in its light voice
vaverse has been opened, our universe and the letter and think birth control is evil the average “processing”. Suddenly a hole opened up in the
conservaverse are slowly moving toward each family is roughly 30-50 people,” chimed in the machine revealing a narrow aperture. The ma-
other. When they collide they will destroy each scientist. chine said, “please pay $20 in the next 10 seconds
other.” “I still don’t understand.” “Imagine our Howard Dein looked at Clinton and said, “If or MegaCorp vending machine will kill you with
universe is James Carville and the conservaverse you help me move the cows into the truck I’ll a laser.” “Bill, remember in the conservaverse it
is Mary Matalin, when they come together the give you one to eat.” “Sounds good,” said Clin- is okay to kill someone if they don’t pay you.
results will be catastrophic; zhave you seen how ton. Clinton turned around to see a Mack truck Quickly, pay zem!” Bill took out a bunch of bills
ugly zher children are?” “My god, how can I stop equipped with a full trailer parked behind him. and stuffed them into the machine. The vending

6 Washington University Political Review December Edition

machine said “thank you” and a lightsaber came
out. “How is this possible?” Clinton asked. “You
zhee, Bill, in the conservaverse there was never
a labor rights movement, nor the creation of the
concept of work place safety, although this has
resulted in the needless deaths of thousands of
people, it also allowed people to perform the ex-
periments necessary to create a lightsaber.”
Suddenly Clinton heard helicopters off in the
distance. He turned around to see men dressed
in camo coming out of the woods holding mas-
sive machine guns as well as several tanks com-
ing up the narrow road. One tank rolled up to
Clinton, its massive gun barrel pointed at his
face. The hatch on the tank opened up and Dick
Cheney popped out. “Bill Clinton, you bastard,
you couldn’t leave me alone could you?” “Aha,”
said the scientist “this is how you can close the Art by Louise Smythe. Her email is
portal. You must bring Cheney back to our uni-
verse“ “How can I do that? “ “Cheney has zee with a shotgun and as long as I bury the body no Everyone here is so homophobic that they can’t
device that made the portal. You must convince one bothers me.” Since Clinton and Cheney had function in the presence of a naked man.” “Curse
him to come back.“ “Cheney, when you opened a been talking more and more soldiers had been you, Bill. I’ll never go back to our universe!”
portal to the conservaverse you condemned both coming out of the woods. The helicopters were “Yes you will, Cheney, because we are lovers!” At
of our universes to be destroyed,” said Clinton “I now circling above them the machine gunners this the soldiers shuddered and began to walk
don’t care Bill here I can buy my own personal in them aiming at Clinton. “Bill, I’m going to kill away. The helicopters flew off into the distance.
army, no one cares about the environment and you and then I am going to live the rest of my life “Wait! Come back! I’m not gay, we are not lov-
for Christ sakes there are lightsabers!” “Cheney, in the conservaverse.” “Bill, zoo must stop him.” ers!” Its too late, Cheney. You don’t have friends
both this world and our world will be destroyed “What can I do?” “Use your knowledge of zeh here anymore. Lets go back.” With that Cheney
if you stay here.” “Bill, I would rather die here conservaverse.” With that, Clinton knew what sighed and opened a portal back to C.E.R.N. By
than anywhere else, do you know how I got this he had to do. He turned on his lightsaber and the way, Clinton kept the lightsaber.
hair?” Cheney pointed to the full blond head of with one deft swipe cut off his clothes. Every-
hair on his head. “I stole it from a homeless man one averted their eyes fearful that if they looked
and no one cared because he is homeless and at Clinton they would be called gay. “What are Mike

no one cares about the homeless! In fact no one you doing, Bill?” said Cheney as he averted his sophomore

cares what I do. I can shoot a man in the face eyes. “I am using the conservaverse against you. His

NEXT time on the adventures of Bill Clinton: Bill has a f--king lightsaber!

December Edition Washington University Political Review 7

Minding the Gap
The United States’ Health Care
Disparities and
Health Care Reform
Peter Birke

hroughout United States’ ongoing health
care debate, proponents of reform have '(#'$

often cited affordability as the main im-
petus for action. While economic considerations !'$
are crucial aspects of health care reform, they cer- !%$

tainly aren’t the only considerations. Health care !*$

reform efforts should address the gaping racial !)$
disparities that exist in our current health care %&#"$
system. In doing so, health care reform becomes
not only an issue of affordability, but of equality
as well. %%$

Data shows that racial and ethnic minorities %*$

receive less health care and lower quality health %)$

care than do whites. Thirteen percent of non-el- +,-./0$ 123450$

derly whites are uninsured. This number jumps This chart indicates the average life expectancy for white and black males and females. Males
up to 21% for African Americans and 34% for are represented by the blue bar, females the red.
Hispanics. A Hispanic child is three times less 632/$ 7/832/$

likely to have a consistent source of health care discrepancies, they have persisted. In 2050, an many minorities experience, the problem of
than a white child. Minorities have less access estimated 50% of the U.S. population will be a disparate treatment would remain. Some steps
to primary care clinics, meaning they are more member of a minority group. As the nation’s mi- could be taken by Congress to address this. Cul-
likely to make expensive hospital visits. Further- nority population continues to grow, the pres- tural understanding and foreign language skills
more, minorities often live in areas with little or ence of health care disparities will become more among health care workers could be improved
no access to health care at all. Even when they apparent and more detrimental as they come to in order to serve minority populations more ef-
do have the same access to health care as whites, adversely affect ever-increasing swaths of the fectively. By increasing the number of minorities
they often receive a lower quality of care. A 2008 population. in health care professions, their current lack of
study performed by researchers at the Harvard The health care reform currently being representation in the field would be addressed.
Medical School revealed racial disparities among pushed through Congress might potentially Finally, Congress should standardize minority
diabetes patients receiving treatments from the alleviate some of the racial disparities just dis- health data collection so that disparities can be
very same physician. Also, African Americans cussed. Before he died, Senator Edward Ken- identified and dealt with. Congress should not
and Hispanics are less likely to be referred for nedy remarked that expanding health insurance waste this opportunity to address one the big-
lung cancer surgery and are less likely to be coverage “would dramatically reduce racial and gest inequalities of our time. Doing nothing
prescribed pain control medications for cancer ethnic disparities in health care and improve mi- would be a bitter pill to take for minorities all
than are whites. These statistics suggest that the nority health.” If legislation is passed, the coun- across the United States.
current set of health care treatment disparities try would begin the long trek towards universal
are not merely a result of socioeconomic factors, coverage. Under the House bill, the Congressio-
but are actually a result of a patient’s race. nal Budget Office estimates that 96% of Ameri- Peter
Why should we care about racial disparities in cans will be insured in 2019. While this measure lege
health care? Despite various efforts to close these would reduce the barriers to health care that

8 Washington University Political Review December Edition

Art by Kelsey Eng. Her email is

December Edition Washington University Political Review 9

Or Second-Class Colonials?
A look at how the U.S. territories don’t hold the standing they deserve
Lennox Mark

he delicate balance between the tyranny of act as the crusaders for our causes: members of residents of U.S. territories are also barred from
the majority and the rights of the minor- the House and the Senate advocate for legisla- this medium, not yet endowed with the power to
ity manifests itself daily in variant ways. tion, respond to our grievances, and allocate vote for the president or vice president. The 2008
Glass ceilings, while many have shattered against funds on our behalf. Nonetheless, citizens from presidential election witnessed an unprecedent-
progressive legislation, still exist in many contexts. U.S. territories find that those seated in Con- ed turnout of traditionally apolitical minorities
Whether that minority is the most populous de- gress on their behalf are neither representatives such as the youth, African Americans, and La-
mographic in the United States (women) or rep- nor senators, but merely delegates. Delegates tinos. It’s a shame that territorial residents could
resented in the Oval Office (African Americans), are non-voting members of Congress and are not also do so.
they can never gain the level of clout wielded by unable to actively participate in bringing about Despite these overt disadvantages, small vic-
the majority until they obtain that potent force national change. The power of the delegate is tories are slowly bringing the territories into
by which the United States is driven: mainstream America. All the territo-
political power. In reality, no population ries have established local governments
in the United States is more politically Unable to propose legislation of their identical to those of state governments,
disenfranchised than the residents of the fully equipped with a locally elected gov-
U.S. territories. own, delegates may only comment ernor and legislature. Now able to elect
Guam. The Northern Marianas. local senators for their district, U.S. ter-
American Samoa. The list of U.S. is- on and suggest edits to those bills ritories have come a long way from the
land possessions within the Pacific and military or naval rule under which most
Atlantic Oceans is lengthy, with more started. The Office of Insular Affairs, a
than 50 individual islands under the
that are already in circulation. part of the Department of the Interior,
dominion of the stars and stripes. Some allocates millions in federal funds each
of these are highly populated; Puerto Rico, for limited to oratory. They may serve on commit- year to the local governments of these island ter-
example, boasts a population of approximately tees, only to be overshadowed by their fellow ritories to support renovation, construction, and
4 million people—nearly thirteen times that of congresspersons, who trump them in voting even scholarship funds. According to the U.S.
Wyoming. Others are utterly uninhabited, like power and often in seniority as well. Unable to Department of the Treasury, six new quarters
Baker Island in the South Pacific, which is used propose legislation of their own, delegates may will be minted this year, five of which will honor
primarily as a fishery. Some, like the Northern only comment on and suggest edits to those bills Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Is-
Marianas, were acquired by invasive military that are already in circulation. Congresspersons lands, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin
force and others, like the Virgin Islands were are usually able to gain votes for legislation they Islands. Sadly though, unlike the previous ter-
purchased—$25 million in gold—as real estate. support by promising other congresspersons ritories that were able to make their way into the
What binds these distinct territories together is their vote in exchange, an act called logrolling. heart of the Union, the current insular posses-
neither culture, language, nor race, but a status Without a floor vote to their name, delegates sions may never become fully fledged states. The
less than statehood, and for their inhabitants, cannot participate in logrolling with other con- current territories may have to content them-
status as citizens in name only. gressman or influence issues that are salient to selves with a political existence not unlike their
Political power comes in many different their constituents. While territory residents are geographic positioning: on the outskirts.
forms, from the fame of celebrity status to the represented, it serves no lasting purpose, leaving
wealth of a Wall Street banker. Aside from these these people virtually isolated from the national Lennox
extremes, a very basic way to express political scene. Another way to connect to national poli- man

power is through Congress. Congresspersons tics is through the power of the ballot. However, email

10 Washington University Political Review December Edition

T!" c#n$r#%&r'( #%&) *+ *n$,--.e'i$( p-/i0(
A1&2 H3o4l*n5

he explosion of obesity in the United States over the past 30 years to encourage healthy body weights, and it is common practice to charge
is staggering. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 34% of higher premiums based on another unhealthy life choice (smoking). As-
Americans are “obese,” defined as having a Body Mass Index of over suming the government passes some sort of national health insurance
30, and an additional 32.7% of Americans are overweight, with a BMI over mandate, however, raising insurance premiums for obese people would
25. While the number of overweight Americans has remained stable since impose a significant, sudden, unforeseen, and unavoidable financial penal-
1980, the number of obese Americans has more than doubled. This trend has ty on at least a third of the population. This is particularly awkward because
proven extremely costly: obesity was estimated to be responsible for 9.1% obese people are statistically more likely to be poor and racial minorities,
of total U.S. health expenditures in 2006, a cost of up to $147 billion. As so charging higher insurance premiums based on obesity would be both
the government considers how to expand national health care coverage and inequitable and racially disparate. Subsidizing insurance for low-income
cut costs, its proceedings must include an honest discussion of the problems families could offset the inequity of their higher premiums, but this would
posed by obesity. also remove their financial incentive to lose weight.
Two methods to discourage obesity and counteract its costs are already Like obesity taxes, raising insurance premiums for obese people may
under consideration: taxing unhealthy food and imposing financial incen- not significantly impact obesity rates. But denying insurance companies
tives (such as reduced insurance premiums for people in good health) to the right to charge obese people higher premiums (proportional to their
encourage weight loss. Unfortunately, both approaches have significant increased risk of diabetes and other health complications) would restrict
downsides. Taxes on unhealthy foods, or “obesity taxes,” are themselves in- one of the fundamental objectives of insurance, to spread the risk of
sufficient. Even if the government were capable of prescribing a universally healthcare costs. Charging obese patients the same premiums as healthier
healthy diet, it would need to impose untenably high taxes to convince patients would create a free-rider problem and saddle healthy citizens with
consumers to follow its guidelines. In addition, even moderate obesity unfairly bloated bills.
taxes are ripe targets for political opposition, as evidenced by the scornful The way forward is uncertain. The government walks a fine line between
response to New York governor David Patterson’s proposal to tax “sugared promoting citizens’ health and welfare and restricting their autonomy, be-
beverages” last year. Although obesity taxes cannot solve the problem of tween allowing the free market to work and allowing insurance companies
obesity, they may be a useful part of a larger anti-obesity campaign. Taxes to exploit an already vulnerable segment of society. But walking this line
may not completely dissuade consumers from buying unhealthy foods, but is necessary: the obesity epidemic is itself a national health crisis that the
they could reduce the price disparity between unhealthy foods and their government must address, particularly in light of pending health care leg-
alternatives, such as between soda and fruit juice. In addition, even mod- islation. Even if the government is ultimately unable to significantly reduce
erate obesity taxes could raise significant revenue, which the government obesity rates, it has a civic and fiscal responsibility to try.
could use to subsidize healthier food options or fund health programs.
Obesity taxes will not solve the problem posed by obesity, but they may be
a useful part of the solution.
The proposal to charge higher insurance rates for obese people is more Alex

problematic. Some insurance plans already include financial incentives Sciences.

December Edition Washington University Political Review 11


Corey Donahue

A look at both sides of Obama’s

difficult decision
n September Stanley McChrystal, the top commander of American and end option is to increase in 10,000 troops, most of which would go towards
NATO forces in Afghanistan, publicly requested an additional 40,000 training the Afghan security forces with a small group sent to hunt and
troops in order to help combat the Taliban and continue training Afghan kill terrorists within Afghanistan. On the high end, Obama is consider-
security forces. President Obama has deliberated for two months and his ing what General McChrystal has suggested: a 40,000 troop increase sent
decision is expected by the first week of December. It is important to note, to eliminate the Taliban and also to help train Afghan forces. This option
though, that no additional U.S. forces could begin deployment until early would attempt to rebuild the country into a stable, modern state. There are
next year, meaning Obama still has time. good reasons to support both extremes.
Obama’s national security advisers have given him four options. The low

The Case for a Modest Increase

The war in Afghanistan has been going on for eight years. It is soaking even harder for Obama and the Democrats to pass a healthcare bill, im-
up U.S. resources and costing hundreds of lives in the process. This year migration reform, and climate change legislation.
has shown the highest death toll since the beginning of the war, even after Many point to the surge in Iraq as proof that an increase of troops in
Obama increased the number of American troops by 21,000 shortly after Afghanistan will help finally push the war in the right direction. But one
entering office. Americans are growing tired of the lack of significant prog- cannot generalize Iraq to Afghanistan. Firstly, the government in Kabul is
ress and—with a midterm election coming up—Democrats are becoming significantly more corrupt and much less willing to engage in defeating its
much less willing to support a significant surge in Afghanistan. If he hopes insurgents. Also, there are far fewer Afghan security forces than there are
for increased funding, Obama will need to rely on the Republican vote Iraqi. And while most of the Iraqi people are literate, only one in four of
which won’t be easy. To increase the forces by 40,000 he’ll need to request the Afghan policemen are literate, meaning that police training is incred-
about $40 billion from Congress. This pricetag will surely anger those who ibly difficult.
are watching the federal deficit skyrocket under Obama’s watch. It will be The Afghan security forces are floundering; a recent report showed that

12 Washington University Political Review December Edition

the number of Afghan battalions able to fight independently has actually check.
decreased in the last six months. One out of every four or five men in With an incredibly corrupt government, incapable security forces, and
the Afghan security forces quit each year. Somehow, General McChrys- increasing costs for the United States, an increase in troops would surely
tal hopes to increase the Afghan Army from 90,000 to 134,000 in a year. result in loss of hundreds more lives and Obama’s domestic reforms.
This goal is impossible without billions of dollars of American money be-
ing spent, only for Afghan men to then quit the army after receiving their

The Case for a Significant Increase

Since Obama appointed General McChrystal, there has been a refocus them out of the country and into Pakistan, which is facing its own prob-
on the loss of civilian lives in planning military strategy. General McChrys- lems in fighting back militants. Because of this, Pakistan has been largely
tal is not only fighting a war against the Taliban for territory, but also for remiss in fighting back the Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda forces who are
the allegiances of the Afghan people. Killing the Taliban is not necessar- pouring through its western border. President Obama hopes to use what-
ily his priority: “You can kill Taliban forever because they are not a finite ever leverage he can, including increased intelligence sharing and military
number.” His focus is on making friends with local leaders, protecting the cooperation, in exchange for a harder stance against the Afghan Taliban
people, and building an Afghan state. McChrystal is centering his troops finding refuge in Pakistan.
in the cities, hoping to draw the Taliban out of the mountainous regions. The White House also hopes to gain some leverage within President
He hopes that this will depict them as the aggressors, thereby turning lo- Hamid Karzai’s government. One method being discussed is moving
cal people, whose loyalties are split, against the insurgents. The general money from the central government to provincial leaders. This and other
also intends to do his best, like with the Sunni Awakening in Iraq, to get threats that will weaken the government in Kabul are attempts to motivate
the Taliban to switch sides. This has failed in the past due to the inability President Karzai to stop the rampant corruption within his administra-
of American and Afghan forces to provide protection for those who have tion.
joined the counterinsurgency. Increasing the number of troops will allow Coupled with a plan to influence the governments of Afghanistan and
General McChrystal to protect those who have offered to help the Ameri- Pakistan into action while turning popular support against the Taliban, a
can and NATO armies. significant increase in troops will help turn the country around.
American forces are making progress in stopping Al Qaeda and driving

Decision Time
There’s a good reason Obama has taken so long to make this near-im- come without a high cost. But doing nothing is not a plan. Obama needs to
possible decision. If he wishes to support a full surge, he’ll receive attacks at put some faith in General McChrystal, who has a clear strategy to win back
home, possibly jeopardizing some of the programs he still wishes to enact. this war. Obama’s decision to send extra troops will not be popular, but it
But if he supports only a small increase with modest goals, he’ll risk the will not be forgotten if the war can turn around and the Taliban’s attacks
Afghan government being overrun by the Taliban, completely eliminating largely diminish. A sizable increase with a thorough review in one year’s
any progress made in the past eight years. It seems that neither option will time is the best choice Obama has in this lose-lose situation.

At it again. These U.S. soldiers are in line to recieve their medical eximations upon their return from Iraq and Afghanistan. Depending on
Obama’s decision, some of them may be headed right back.


December Edition Washington University Political Review 13

The system—or whatever semblance
of one there is—is broken. Big Media.
Big government. Big corporations.
Big everything. Were being spoon-fed
an understanding of the world based on
nothing but what the system wants us
to feel. It makes me more than angry.
It makes me mad as hell, and Im not
going to take it anymore! At a time like
by Andrew Luskin this, being mad is the only way to stay
e, we’ve sane. So cue the madness, and shove
F o r a long tim ence-
… stin .
that ab ’t work
known u c a t io n doesn less old the system through the shredder.
ed ire
only sex is, a band of t -
s p it e t h e fe n d ed vene y
De ly d c
s bra v e preg n dn a
coots ha e and teenage c t s ” a n
eas of “fa
real dis fo r c e s p u b-
the evil g to inv
against e n in i a nd is
” thr e a t
ississip p hat h
“reason r tin g in M
thes e l y said t m by get-
ols. Sta nation, ece n t
d hi
lic scho nd the me- ma r rasse , but
g a r o u
spreadin arriors are try overpower
in g s o …Oba er embar o n a test um-
ht 3 n
w ht to daug score of 7 rrent poll lain…
teacher their fig lling gir
g a s c u o m p
thing n e w in
f e v o lu tion: te in
e r i n gh i
i g h t to c
years o d r
ch them consi e has no
a billion w boys to tou ough this h
a ll o
re.” Alt
h bers,
not to no squa —
“ n o - is brilliant
u n d s t upid, it o c h a n ge
might s
o gt
lly tryin stead, they’re
h e y a r en’t rea s e x ; in
t ave about
ire to h nagers
the des s e t e e off,
o c o n fu s mec o
trying t Once the pant to d o …
y. w what You might
anatom n ’t k n o d Haggard
as the
s wo remember Te ary, homophobic
the boy tion
vicious, reac ace after
r w ho fell from gr
preache e— pardon
a m al e prostitut h.
he hi re d crystal met
and smoked
me, escort— pro m in en ce
itial rise to
Haggard’s in t on hi s advocacy of
…The Iraqi military is buying 1,500 bomb de- d in p ar
was ba se for Christian
tectors at $60,000 apiece. Slight problem: they m as culine ideal
a hy p er - imate Fight-
don’t work. The manufacturer claims that they lified by “Ult
men, exemp back and,
can detect bombs, guns, drugs, ivory, and “human s. ” N ow , Haggard is was
ing Je su a dick as he
research” at a range of up to five kilometers. The
su m ab ly , as much of at lo ok s like
pre ex p ression th
manufacturer’s website asserts that the device detects it h an s
before. W aggard insist
these things using “long-range electrostatic attraction ing burrs, H he
he’s swallow , but the way
of highly charged ions [of] difficult substances” and “ion
’s co m p le tely straight re n t st or y…
like-charged fluctuation” in the “Pico-gram range.” ” tells a diffe
says “amen
The device is “easy to aperate [sic],” uses no batteries,
and is apparently powered by bullshit. American advi-
sors have urged the Iraqis not to use these devices, but
Major General Jerad al-Jabiri, the man responsible for
this purchase, told the New York Times on November
3 that he doesn’t care “whether it’s magic or scien- B e c k was h er
n rli
tific.” Jabiri went on to say, “I know more about this n Glen itis ea ’t
…Whe or appendic id n
issue than the Americans do. In fact, I know more f dia d
talized th, the me ey want
about bombs than anyone in the world.” Clearly, on e it: th
this m to hid
the Iraqis are in good hands, which may not stay n t r y
attached much longer… ead…
him d

14 Washington University Political Review December Edition

The nt is
epar tme l
Justice D ing after medica
n g e r go w h ic h eized
no lo
a dispen
sarie s,
i n has s
marijuan direc- ah P a l
t e s a new …Sar tlight like book
y in d ic a he drug
hopefu ll
o n Drugs. T the s
po —a
tion in t
he W a r
es has would er;
n ited Stat e r i c k u d of h is like
t h e U
d on pse
u- mav . I’m pro k
policy of een base tour a boo tarin
for de c a d e s b
cial c o n se r va-
i n w riting oughboy s roller.
d o n so Pa l ry D ing steam g
ea n ounger illsbu
d fo r people y olicy the P approach sson duri s
tives’ ha t r e . If the p an le id
a r k e r t han they a lt h , the do w n
h e r a
now estions
v o
and d a bout he Pali n l e a
ign a n d
”q u
y b e e n id d the
e ampa otcha
had reall t would have ra the c onable “g ke “What
e n ins
governm ay factory… unr e a s
edia , l i
e rem a
Frito-L e m s a g
t h e s r e-
from ?” Her m i t ’s not
…The ea d u g h
you r me, altho that
dicte 2009 ele a
the s ear what
d c
lican , except tions wer l
ally c e is. Even l
Inqui for o e as g o
the p si ne
ar ty tion, in w thing: th ring as p
m e s s a Brist
is in are p h e ong r e- d a u ghter t h e
charg u ich t o her eted ill,
read e, as rged as h he mode ing Repu terpr r
t t e r b misin ing of “D
extra he charg heir seve retics. Th ate eleme - mean rill!”…
ct co es, th re an e r ad n ts of d
ers e n
nsure fessions,
e fat
, ket
d blo
odles ical right baby,
York that and c hup- s inqui
’s t th fa s
man 23rd co he masse e froth-c ced tor t itors
aged ngre s w ill h i n n u r ers
dling t ssi ed p
. Des o win on onal dist be compl reach
- …A
It’s li p ite th l y beca r ict, t i ant.
k h In Ne
get u e watchin is, they k use of the e Democ w new
p gap eep t radic rat
woul , climb b e r s h e a l
d a on
ined, say that ck to the fall down isition g ed-
inqu s’ m goin st mega
they top, oing. g to chur
but I t h e st build co ch
d n a
there on’t thin eed to g nd fall do airs, the . Loc st $130 is
… k tha et w n dow ated milli
t the their hea n again. nt
mon own Da n 1.5 m n
o o
y wo d s e I stro llas, illion
uld fi xa
nd a m- thou s it th
nyth sand y that w e build square f to
ing for a s i in ee
t lea in the m ll span g is a co t in
seve st 8 ain seve lor fu
ra 0 ra
a de l-story 0 SUVs hall and l street l glass
d . s
and icated C glass pa The cen have pa , seat
c a f e h r i vilio t e r r king
two teria stian n, a will
gard gymnas s, a six- rock au glass sky feature
pres en, pla iums, a floor ed ditorium bridge a
e hom umably sma tele fountai ucation , caf ,
arin el ,a v n c és
r i d a, M with a can, ess peop gold-p isions lin plaza, a enter,
Flo an bu le la in r
pa, am held iron t at lea . Say wh ted mid g the w ooftop
I n Tam e beat e as he s a ic th st th a t yo d l e fin a lls, a
w. uc lic a min at e
e-ha n Br e po an w an d-bo these p Vatican u want ger to p nd,
…Ye ist Jase alled th g the m t the m ey gglin eo h ab o
r v c i n h a th gly d ple clai as tast out the int at
rese on and , think imed t s what isson m to e. It Vati
e i r o w n c l a a t ’ s out ant… wor ’ sn -
tir an d ruce has and “t
t turn ara- ship ot just
m I Jesu
the rist. B ar,” ou up.” lexios M from s; it’
o Akb
terr Allahu y blow y Father A visiting - s
“ e t c
said efore th rist was d pries for dire as
b o e
say the terr and rob k Bruce e man w an
d s h m
that bearde ried to a iming t hat the ces—
i s , a h o t o c la e d t
d v a n s
e e c e, w dition t as claim exual a bomber
Gr a d h e s e -
s. In ruce mad s, suicid ight be
tion orist, B m and en r
r r i know eets
a te to rob h
r y b ody hit on m the str at
ve d n h
tried se, as e ings an ves up o Bruce t ...Whether you agree with him
e c a u a l t h m s e l t e ll a n
b e e ld m or not, it’s refreshing to hav
to st w th dy shou that hu it ea
like hey blo e b o a r d i n s , president who doesn’t conside
t m e a r
fore mpa. So o n ce h their br “smart” a four-letter word…
a e f t…
of T ecause h 10% o prove i
t b u s e t o
jus nly as
gs o he h
bein ’t mean
December Edition Washington University Political Review 15
French Politics
of Religion
A look at France’s policy on keeping church and
state separate and what that means for its people


slam and France. One of the world’s principal tives of former European colonies -- principally tention, this issue of assimilation most recently
religions, and one of Europe’s foremost na- Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia -- began to settle boiled to the surface in June 2009. During the
tions. in the French mainland. Even after the labor mi- first presidential address to parliament since
As a secular republic, France does not bar ad- gration ended in the mid-1970s, family reunifi- the 19th century, President Nicholas Sarkozy
mission on the basis of faith, nor does it impose cation provisions allowed for the continued mi- outlined his policy with regard to the wearing
upon its citizens a state-endorsed religion. In gration of thousands of individuals into France. of burqas, an outer garment worn by Muslim
fact, France takes the very opposite approach to Given the widespread homogeny of French women that covers their figures from head to
church-state relations. Some might even go so society, immigrants such as these experienced toe. Sarkozy announced that such customs un-
far as to argue that their policy of religious and substantial difficulty assimilating into French dermine self-worth and reduce women to servi-
political separation, called laïcité, is even more culture. Not only were these North African tude: “We cannot accept to have in our country
stringent than that of the United States. Muslims ethnically and racially different, but women who are prisoners behind netting, cut
This rigid severance of religion and state ac- their religious practices and traditional garb off from all social life, deprived of identity. That
tually makes the study of Islam in France con- were distinct from those of the Roman Catholic is not the idea that the French republic has of
siderably more difficult. On account of a 1958 majority. women’s dignity.” He continued, “The burqa is
law that forbids the government from inquiring In late 2003 then-president Jacques Chirac not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience.
about religion or ethnicity in their censuses, decided that the wearing of ostentatious reli- It will not be welcome on the territory of the
no accurate breakdown of religious affiliation gious symbols should be prohibited in public French republic.”
within the country exists. Nevertheless, while schools. According to Chirac, as well as the par- Nevertheless, the French leader emphasized
their estimates are admittedly rough around the liament that signed off on his law, conspicuous that the attack was not directed toward the Mus-
edges, the United States Department of State ap- display of such religious trademarks was at odds lim religion itself, and highlighted the need to
proximates that between five and ten percent of with laïcité guidelines. As a result, the wearing respect Islam as much as every other faith.
the French population is Muslim. of the hijab—a traditional Muslim head cover- Responding to Mr. Sarkozy’s communiqué,
In the years following World War II, Mus- ing—was prohibited on public school domain. the leader of the French Council for the Muslim
lim immigration to France began to surge. The This law, however, did not restrict students from Religion said, that “To raise the subject like this,
country’s workforce was inadequate for post- wearing discreet symbols of faith. As such, the via parliamentary committee, is a way of stigma-
war reconstruction efforts, and so the govern- possession of chamsas, Stars of David and other tizing Islam and the Muslims of France.” When
ment welcomed any and all able bodies that they similar amulets was sanctioned, and any student questioned about the matter, the president’s
could find. This demand for manual labor hap- who chose to do so could still freely don reli- commissioner for diversity and equal opportu-
pened to coincide with the emergence of North gious jewelry. nity expressed doubt that, even if passed, such a
African independence movements, and so na- Although it has long been a matter of con- law would be enforceable.

16 Washington University Political Review December Edition

While Sarkozy’s intent was neither to under-
mine nor vilify Islam, the issue serves to remind
us that when it comes to Muslim assimilation,
there is work yet to be done. French Muslims
are much more likely to feel ostracized than
are their religious counterparts, and many ex-
perts acknowledge the integration difficulties
that Muslims experience. They point out that
Muslims disproportionately inhabit suburban
housing projects and are hit particularly hard
by France’s unemployment problems. Indeed, Art by Hannah Shaffer. Her email is
many have linked the November 2005 riots with
these disparities. The BBC reported that French The burka is still incredibly controversial in France.
discrimination toward immigrants, as well as a
negative conception of Islam, had marginalized
groups of French Muslims and might have been In point of fact, however, the French Muslim egalitarianism, its Muslim community is strug-
a contributing factor to the riots. community has far from embraced radical calls gling to fully assimilate into national culture.
To a degree, this Muslim estrangement stems to violence. During the immediate aftermath This problem—as well as its solution—lies in the
from the same fear that grips every other West- of the 9/11 attack—which happened to occur anomalous nature of Islam and the socioeco-
ern nation—that of Islamic fundamentalism. during the religiously important month of Ra- nomic issues that torment France. In the words
According to one report from the Brookings madan—French Muslims wasted little time be- of Stéphanie Giry, a Senior Editor at Foreign
Institute, speculation that “the largely migrant- fore overwhelmingly condemning the massacre. Affairs, “Grasping what has sometimes gone
populated suburbs might harbor wasps’ nests of Indeed, in a poll cast by the French Institute of wrong—and what has mostly gone right—with
America-haters—if not sleeper cells—coincided Public Opinion, these acts of terrorism were de- the integration of Muslims in France can thus
with the lethal explosion of a chemical factory nounced by 92 percent of Muslims. By the same offer clues to the challenges faced by Europe as
in Toulouse.” Furthermore, reports of a derailed percentage, the Islamic community responded a whole.”
terrorist plot against the American embassy in that the hijackers were not genuinely Muslim,
Paris, as well as the FBI’s arrest of a French Mus- “because Islam is a religion of peace and mod- Michael
lim thought to be the last missing September 11 eration.” omore

hijacker, only fueled popular distrust. Although France has long prided itself on email

December Edition Washington University Political Review 17

T he Power Str ug gle
The Future of China, India, and Energy
Siddharth Krishnan

Supply, demand and the growing economic superpowers sustainably will cient with its energy use, using 20%-100% more
energy than OECD (Organization for Economic
environment: Why energy be this century’s biggest challenge. Co-operation and Development) countries for
is today’s hottest issue Planning for a global the same industrial processes.
economic boom: Why we India has a similar story. In recent years the

oday, more than two hundred years af- liberalization of markets and an influx of foreign
ter the Industrial Revolution, the world
need to build a power plant direct investment (FDI) have seen India grow
is witnessing the emergence of two new every day for the next 30 at around 7% annually, because of which India’s
economic powers, China and India. While this is energy use per capita has doubled over the last
fantastic news, such rapid growth has created an 30 years. Though it still uses only a third of the
explosion in demand for energy. Unfortunately, China’s economy has been steadily growing at energy that China does, and a fourteenth of the
the most viable way of meeting this demand re- 9% every year and is expected to continue. Its energy that the United States, India’s huge popu-
mains fossil fuels, which is hugely problematic. economy is now the second largest in the world lation and impressive growth rate pose a major
Burning fossil fuels releases carbon, which behind, behind only the United States. Cor- environmental concern.
has been proven beyond a doubt to contribute to respondingly, its energy per capita has tripled According to Dr Pratim Biswas, the depart-
global warming, a phenomenon previously con- since 1976, making it the second largest con- ment head at the school of environmental en-
sidered natural and cyclical. Scientists are only sumer of energy the world – again second only gineering at Washington University, it will take
just beginning to realize the disastrous effects to the United States. Over 70% of this energy re- four hundred new power plants every year to
that even subtle changes in global temperature quirement is met by coal, which is the most pol- meet this growing energy need - a little over
could have. Meeting the demand raised by these luting fossil fuel. China is also extremely ineffi- one every day. If all this energy comes from fos-

18 Washington University Political Review December Edition

sil fuels, the consequences for the environment duced on a small scale in many locations, with leaking barrels of radioactive waste must not be
arising from the increased carbon levels in the the surplus fed into a large, computer-controlled our legacy to future generations. Even more of a
atmosphere will be dire. grid system that would connect the entire coun- potential threat is the danger of a repeat of the
try. He notes that the decentralized smart grid Chernobyl disaster of 1986, the effects of which
Why even a subtle model is especially relevant in developing coun- are still being felt today in Europe and Russia.
increase will make all the tries, where centrally sourced grid systems alone Nuclear power also inherently requires a large
cannot power every nook of the country. Also, involvement on the part of the government. A
difference: The threat of when there are many small power plants instead nuclear program needs huge initial investments
global warming of a few large ones, generation and transmission for the construction of power plants, uranium
losses can be minimized, leading to huge energy and maintenance. This capital-intensive cen-
The International Panel on Climate Change savings. tralized approach is not viable in countries like
(IPCC) estimates that the mean global tempera- The next challenge is, of course, where this China and India, where the cost per head of run-
ture will increase by 1.1-6.4 degrees Celsius by energy is going to come from. The obvious an- ning the program would far outweigh the ben-
the end of the 21st century, relative to the tem- swer is the sun, which is the true source of al- efits. Also, with the majority of the population
perature between 1980 and 1999. Though this most all of our energy today. Solar energy from being rural, it will be difficult to connect every
does not sound like much, even subtle increases the sun causes pressure changes in the earth’s at- nook of the country through a centralized grid.
have the potential to cause large-scale changes mosphere that causes wind, lends itself to being This is already proving difficult for India and the
in the planet’s ecosystem. For instance, there stored in organic matter that we burn as fossil losses due to the inefficiency of the transmission
is an empirical correlation between tropical fuels and can be also trapped directly from the system are huge.
cyclone activity and climate change. Sea levels sun by silicon-based solar panels. These panels,
America and energy
could rise by up to 0.6 meters, spelling disas- called Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) cells are already
ter for island nations. Other anticipated conse- in use in many parts of the world, but an en inefficiency
quences include a reduced ozone layer, reduced masse conversion to these is hampered by high The United States is the most profligate coun-
agricultural yields and an increase in the cases of initial costs and the problem of energy storage try in the world with energy. Amory B. Lovins, an
diseases like malaria and dengue fever. Climate during nighttime. According to Dr Biswas, the energy expert at the Rocky Mountain Institute,
change could also result in increased rates of solution could lie in replicating nature’s photo- estimates that the average American uses twice
extinction of organisms, because of an expected synthetic process through cheap materials like the energy that the average Briton does, though
change in oceanic pH levels caused by the influx titanium oxide that would convert solar energy both countries offer their citizens comparable
of carbon. and carbon to a burnable sugar. It is an area of lifestyles. The reason for this is that energy in
In short, the consequences of global warm- research that he believes holds huge potential. the United States is cheap enough to be taken
ing are scary. A substantial increase in fossil fuel Directly harnessing solar energy is, of course, for granted, so most people do. The change, as-
consumption to meet the rise in global energy not the only way. Other sources of energy like suming there is a change, needs to be behavioral
demand must be avoided. The answer lies in de- wind and heat from the earth are also options. and will only happen through increased levels of
veloping alternative sources of energy that emit The challenges lie in implementing the mode of awareness.
little or no carbon and that can be deployed on a energy production that is most feasible in a par- Fortunately, this appears to be happening,
large scale in a decentralized way. ticular area. Iowa, for example is extremely con- with newer generations having increased aware-
ducive to wind energy, while Missouri is not. ness about global warming and the effects of ex-
Small is beautiful: How cessive energy use.
to avoid becoming a How high school physics
tells you nuclear energy is A brighter future
dystopian inferno It has become clear to scientists and policy-
In the words of Dr. Biswas, the solution to
not the answer makers that there is no real choice in the mat-
the problem is a “temporal attack” that would One of the ways many developing countries, ter if future generations are to have a home on
involve the development and use of alternative including India, hope to meet their energy needs Earth. It will take a combination of efficiency,
sources of energy as well as mechanisms that is by investing in nuclear energy. This is not a technology and effective implementation to deal
would make the burning of fossil fuels cleaner; viable option. with the energy needs raised by India and Chi-
the latter approach buys time for the former to On paper nuclear energy seems like an ideal na. Some fear that the effects of burning fossil
take full effect. Before considering the alterna- solution. Nuclear power can produce huge fuels for this long are already irreversible. Most
tives themselves, however, it is important to quantities of energy with virtually no carbon scientists, however, still believe that there is time
establish the approach to employing them. Be- emissions. Its proponents say it is the only way to fix the situation. If this century is going to be
cause energy is so important to the functioning we can hope to meet our energy needs. This is a peaceful and sustainable, then change needs to
of a country, its production is often centrally false hope. start now. With some luck, fossil fuels can be rel-
controlled and distributed. With today’s tech- High school physics tells us that radioactive egated to burning lamps again.
nology at our disposal, there are better ways to material asymptotically decays over time and
ensure that energy needs are met. emits gamma rays and beta particles, both of
The solution is what Dr. Biswas calls “Distrib- which are extremely harmful to living things. Siddharth

uted Power Generation through a smart grid.” In It will take up to 250,000 years of storage for the

essence, this is a model by which energy is pro- nuclear waste to be rendered benign. Potentially

December Edition Washington University Political Review 19

Anna Applebaum
Controversy in

Why Denmark is
strongly opposing
the construction
of a grand mosque
in CopenhageN

20 Washington University Political Review December Edition

magine the situation: You are a typical Danish newspapers around the world reprinted the car- struction of the grand mosques has been seized
citizen living in Copenhagen in the year 2009. toons, often as a supplement to articles describ- by people on all sides of the issue as a way of ex-
You take full advantage of being a member of ing the events in Denmark. This sparked protests pressing their views on this more fundamental
Danish society – a society that has made Den- in Muslim communities worldwide. Overall tension. As a result, what might have otherwise
mark the happiest country in the world according about one hundred people died, Danish embas- been a relatively neutral dialogue over construc-
to both the World Map of Happiness from the sies were burned in four countries and Danish tion plans has produced high levels of attention
University of Leicester and the World Database of flags were burned en masse, particularly in the and controversy.
Happiness from Erasmus University. Your coun- Middle East. This response created an opposing Besides these tensions, the largest source in-
try is considered the second most peaceful country reaction in many Western nations who directly citing controversy about the mosques is the pre-
in the world according to the Global Peace Index declared support of the newspaper. Several “Buy viously mentioned Danish People’s Party or the
of 2008, finishing only behind Iceland. (And real- Danish” campaigns were even started as a bla- DPP. This conservative party has taken notori-
ly, who could beat Iceland?) Finally, your country tant display of support for the nation. In effect, ously anti-immigrant stances since it was elected
is known for emphasizing civil rights and freedom the cartoons turned into a symbol for something as part of the Danish government’s coalition in
of speech; the organization Reporters without much more complicated and much uglier than a 2001. The DPP has been using incendiary rheto-
Borders honored Denmark with the number one conflict over an editorial decision. They showed ric against the organizations dedicated to build-
spot on its WorldWide Press Freedom Index in a dichotomy in understanding the values behind ing the mosques, accusing them of being backed
2005. Why, then, is the biggest current contro- both Islamic and Danish culture; they revealed by Iranian special interests and arguing that “the
versy in your city about as basic a right as freedom the existence of an equally entrenched prejudice Iranian regime is… a fascist identity that we don’t
of religion? against Western and Islamic societies; they ex- want to set foot in Denmark.” With upcoming
In Copenhagen there has recently been a large posed how quickly this intolerance on either side municipal elections, the party has latched on to
debate on the construction of two new “grand” could and, indeed, would turn into a destructive the issue in order to increase their percentage
mosques. A grand mosque is merely a house of hatred fueled by cultural and national egoism. of the vote. It is unclear how well their aggres-
worship built on a more massive scale to meet Danish society hasn’t recovered from the di- sive strategy is working in gaining popularity for
the needs of a large congregation and to be an visive shocks of the
aesthetic monument of some importance – the cartoon controver- As of late, Danish society has
same as any large church, synagogue or other sy. Each anniver-
religious temple. This past August city coun-
cil members approved the construction of the
sary of the publica-
tion of the cartoons
had a complicated history with
first two mosques of this stature, one each for has been marked
the Shiite and Sunni Muslim communities. Is- by protests and Islam. Relations with the religion
lam is the country’s second largest religion and death threats to the
Copenhagen in particular has a sizable Muslim
religious minority. Yet with the recognition that
cartoonists, to the
editors and often to
have been tense since the pub-
these mosques were to be approved for construc- Danes in general. A
tion, news outlets reported much turmoil and Taliban spokesman lication of twelve editorial car-
conflict about the decision among Copenhagen said last year that
residents. According to The New York Times,
Danish citizen Per Nielsen said in reference to
Danish troops in
Afghanistan were
toons in the Danish newspaper
the Shiite mosque, “There’s very strong pressure a “primary target”
— people living here don’t want it.” Martin Hen- because of the car- Jyllands-Posten in 2005.
riksen, a key leader of the conservative political toons. More than
party known as the Danish People’s Party, blunt- that, however, daily Danish life has been shaken. their party. However, it has certainly increased
ly stated, “We are against the mosque.” Why is Pursuing a policy of what they would deem bla- the tension and conflict in Danish society about
there such opposition to these new buildings? Is tant discrimination, Danish Muslims feel that this issue.
this opposition based on religious discrimina- the government is not committed to protect Imagine the situation: You are a typical Dan-
tion against Muslims? Or is there another factor freedom of religion for Islam, while simultane- ish citizen living in Copenhagen in the year
at play in Denmark? ously allowing it for Christianity, Judaism and 2009. Are you Muslim? Do you belong to the
As of late, Danish society has had a complicat- others. Others in Danish society are worried DPP? There is the question of whether you think
ed history with Islam. Relations with the religion about their freedom of speech: the violence and the mosques should be built. More importantly
have been tense since the publication of twelve intensity of the backlash against the cartoons’ though, how can you destroy an atmosphere of
editorial cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyl- publications feels unwarranted and like a threat suspicion, hate and intolerance? Is there any-
lands-Posten in 2005. Most of these cartoons de- to public discourse on controversial topics. The thing you can do? Would you do it?
picted the Islamic prophet Muhammad, some- tension between Danish Muslim communities
thing strictly forbidden in the Muslim faith. At and other sections of Danish society has been
first, the negative reaction was limited to a few building as a result of this mutual distrust. Those
imams who demanded an apology for the pub- who see both sides of the argument feel like they Anna

lication of material they deemed intrinsically of- must choose between a fundamentalist religious freshman

fensive to Islam. As word of the cartoons spread, view and a prejudiced reactionary view. The con- Her

December Edition Washington University Political Review 21

Unheard Of

uring the Olympics, this nation’s athletes do not represent the U.S. satisfying political stasis for more than 50 years? Economic dependence
team, even though each member of this nation is a U.S. citizen. can account for much of this acquiescence. According to the most recent
This nation’s inhabitants learn English and U.S. History in school statistics, 45% of Puerto Rico’s population lives below the poverty line. Its
alongside Spanish and local history, and they aren’t allowed to vote in U.S. main industries – pharmaceuticals, electronics and tourism – are respect-
presidential elections. What nation am I referring to? able, but not self-sustaining. The situation in Puerto Rico suggests that any
The answer is Puerto Rico, a tropical island and modern U.S. territory push toward the island’s independence would have to be framed according
located in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. Neither a U.S. state nor an to long-term economic reforms that would slowly move the island toward
autonomous country, Puerto Rico has remained, for more than 100 years, economic autonomy. Until then, U.S. funds remain essential to keeping
in a state of political ambiguity. Puerto Ricans are subject to U.S. laws, the island running.
but remain unable to participate in all U.S. Perhaps this dependence has brought
democratic processes, making them a po- about the fact that now, more than ever
litical minority in the most acute sense of before, Puerto Ricans desire full integra-
the term. tion into the United States’ political sys-
The administrative mess of Puerto tem. Approximately 50% of Puerto Ri-
Rico is deeply rooted in its long c a n s now welcome the prospect of full
imperial history. The is- U.S. statehood. The ques-
land was a Spanish colony tion remains, of course,
ceded to the United States as to whether the United
in the aftermath of the 1898 States would even consider
Spanish-American War. admitting the island into the
While the U.S. government Union. Hawaii’s transition
undemocratically appointed into statehood was passed
American governors to man- with 94.3% approval on the
age the territory well into the 1940s, in part of its inhabitants; Puerto Rico is
1917 it granted islanders U.S. citizenship—just in time for the World War far from that margin. Still, many islanders feel disengaged from the po-
I draft. Beginning in the 1950s, the United States allowed Puerto Rico to litical processes of the country that presides over them, just as people in
write its own constitution and, from then on, elect its governors and local the U.S. mainland feel detached from that tiny island somewhere in the
legislators in a manner similar to that of U.S. states. Caribbean Sea.
This constitutional government, now known as the Commonwealth of Furthermore, it would also be inaccurate to think that most Puerto
Puerto Rico, installed a fine and dandy facsimile of sovereignty. The con- Ricans are comfortable with the idea of losing all the adjuncts that are
stitutional clauses stipulate that, if the United States wished to dissolve the derived from sovereignty. There are several factors that would affect their
local government or disavow the islanders’ U.S. citizenship, nothing could willingness to transition into statehood: whether Puerto Rico would be al-
stop it from doing so. lowed to retain Spanish as an official language, whether its Latin American
Granted, the United States is no longer on the sort of unchecked imperi- culture could be plausibly sustained, and whether the people of Puerto
alist mission that would lead it to dissolve Puerto Rico’s government. Even Rico find it an acceptable tradeoff to exchange national identity for sus-
so, U.S.-Puerto Rico relations are structured so that Puerto Ricans decide tained political security.
local matters that can be federally revoked. Worse, Puerto Ricans cannot These tradeoffs seem downright unnatural. Colonial hand-me-down
participate in deciding the federal matters that can easily be imposed on politics has forced the political considerations of Puerto Ricans into a fun-
them. Congressional representation is not structured in the most assuag- nel of options that pit cultural and national identity against satisfactory
ing manner given these colonial circumstances. Despite having a popula- governmental representation. While both of these elements are equally
tion of more than 3,900,000 U.S. citizens—on a par with that of Oregon, important to a bona fide nation-state, it seems that Puerto Ricans might
which gets five representatives in the House and two in the Senate—Puerto only have the luxury of choosing one of them.
Rico has only one official Representative in Congress, but that meager del-
egation is denied the power to vote on legislation, even on matters pertain-
ing directly to Puerto Rico. Agnes

How is it, then, that the people of Puerto Rico have accepted this un- and

22 Washington University Political Review December Edition

Shangri-la many foreigners portrayed it as. Tibet

The Hidden History Of was a theocracy, where an elite monk class ruled
the populace as slaves, raping, torturing, and
exploiting Tibetans. It is worth noting that 90%

of the Tibetan guerilla army, which was trained
by the CIA during the 1950s to combat the Chi-
nese military, was composed of monks. From
the 19th century, Michael Prenti documented
the fact that Western visitors to Tibet noted “an
engine of oppression” and “intolerable tyranny
Derek Sun of monks” operating in the country.
The Chinese presence in Tibet has trans-

he movement for Tibetan independence is the infallible representative of Tibetan interests. formed Tibet from a backwater theocracy to
has inspired other campaigns for minor-Yet this is not the case. an increasingly modern and wealthy region.
ity rights throughout the world. It seems Many Tibetan independence advocates ig- Tibetans enjoy modern and secular education,
that every Hollywood celebrity worth his or her nore the region’s dark feudalistic past under learning both their language and Mandarin, as
theocratic rule and gloss over important details
salt seeks out the Dalai Lama and calls for the lib- well as relaxed rules on the one-child policy in
eration of Tibet from China. Blockbuster movies, regarding the history between Tibet and China. order to sustain their population, opportunities
songs, and books by the Dalai Lama and other To fully understand the conflict between Tibet to earn money, own land and businesses and
devotees of the Tibetan independence movement and China, we should examine the period that live in a country with significantly better infra-
directly precedes the Tibetan uprising of 1959.
sell like hotcakes. “Free Tibet” slogans appear ev- structure than it once had. Contrary to popular
erywhere, from bumper stickers to protest plac- One of the most common arguments posed by belief, China actively promotes Tibetan culture
independence advocates maintains that Tibet is
ards at the G20 summits. It seems as if the entire by including Tibet in artistic exhibits and per-
fundamentally not a part of China and, by ex-
world is united on this issue, that there is no room formances abroad, which never occurred during
for compromise. It appears that the Tibetan peo- tension, should be an autonomous nation. They the reign of the Dalai Lamas. None of the Dalai
ple are harmless innocents completely wronged by point to evidence suggesting that Tibet was sepa- Lamas and monks chose to implement these re-
the Chinese government, and that the Dalai Lama rate from China until the formation of the mod- forms, but instead kept Tibet rooted in a dark
ern day People’s Republic of and medieval past. Although many Tibetans
Art by Vidhya Nagarajan. Her email is China in 1949. These claims are still devoted to the Dalai Lama, investiga-
are not completely true, tions by the Washington Times in 1999 revealed
since archaeologists and that “few Tibetans would welcome a return of
historians have extensive the corrupt aristocratic monks”, and sociologist
evidence that a number of Kim Lewis conducted interviews with Tibetan
Chinese and Tibetan mon- asylum refugees who unanimously refused to
archs intermarried during return to Tibet and recounted “rampant sex and
the Tang Dynasty, which oc- exploitation” between monks and subjects.
curred between the 8th and Unfortunately the Communist Party has its
11 centuries. Trade was also own issues, such as non-democratic rule and
frequent between China religious repression. Time after time, protests
and Tibet during that era. for Tibetan independence have been stifled by
In this way, China remained government violence, imprisonment, and other
intimately connected with similarly totalitarian acts. This does not mean
Tibet up until the 19th cen- that Tibetan advocates are entirely without their
tury, when Great Britain be- own repressive history. One might be interested
gan expanding its influence to learn that the Dalai Lama describes himself as
in the region. “half-Marxist, half-Buddhist”, stating “Marxism
After Mao Zedong and is founded on moral principles, while capitalism
the Chinese Communist is concerned only with gain and profitability.”
Party founded the People’s Thus, China needs to soften its hard-line ap-
Republic in 1949, they be- proach if it wants to maintain cooperation and
gan the process of restoring power in Tibet. If China can tone down its re-
China’s international stat- pression, it may finally be able to turn interna-
ure, in part by reintegrat- tional opinion in its favor.
ing Tibet into China. It may
appear that China had im-
perialistically and unjustly Derek

conquered Tibet, but for in

centuries Tibet was not the

December Edition Washington University Political Review 23

Tr a g e dy
at For t Hood
Dan Rebnord

nown to members of the United States Hasan’s name. actions were in no way representative of the
military as “The Great Place,” the army As soon as Ibrahim Hooper, the national ideologies of Muslim-Americans, or of Islam as
post at Fort Hood, Texas, is the largest ac- communications director for the Council on a religious faith. In a public statement Hooper
tive duty base in the United States. Approximately American-Islamic Relations, heard that the Fort noted, “That’s unfortunately the world we live in
41,000 soldiers work on the base, and it is home Hood shooter’s name even sounded Muslim, he nowadays. So often, Muslims are accused of not
to two full divisions and twelve ad- condemning these kinds of acts.”
ditional units. The individuals that Recent investigations suggest
make up the Fort Hood commu- At approximately 1 p.m., Army Major that since September 11, 2001,
nity are like family to one another, Hasan had been taunted by fel-
but on November 5, tragedy struck
from within. At approximately 1
Nidal Malik Hasan entered the Fort low soldiers because of his reli-
gious beliefs. On August 16, 2009,
p.m., Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan filed a police report stat-
Hasan entered the Fort Hood medi- Hood medical processing center and ing that a bumper sticker on his
cal processing center and opened car that read “Allah is Love” had
fire on his fellow soldiers. After fir- been torn off and that his car was
ing more than a hundred rounds, opened fire on his fellow soldiers. keyed. As further details regard-
Hasan had killed 13 and injured ing Hasan’s background and mo-
dozens more. issued a statement condemning the attack. Even tives surfaced, it became clear that Hasan’s self-
In the days after the shooting, details about without direct confirmation that Hasan identi- identification as a devout Muslim was of critical
the killer and his motives were slow to emerge. fied with the Islamic faith, Hooper felt it was importance to the internal emotional conflict he
Officials were unsure of final casualty statistics, necessary for the largest Muslim civil rights and experienced that might have culminated in the
and it was originally unclear if the shooter had advocacy group in the United States to distance shooting. According to Dr. Val Finnell, Hasan’s
acted alone. However, there was one piece of in- itself from the Fort Hood shooting. The state- former classmate, Hasan viewed “the war on ter-
formation that was released relatively quickly— ment issued by CAIR reinforced that Hasan’s ror as a war against Islam.” Furthermore, Hasan

24 Washington University Political Review December Edition

himself argued at a presentation given at the al-Awlaki was also the “spiritual advisor” to two that has been revealed so far, this scenario seems
Walter Reed Army Medical Center, “It’s getting of the September 11 hijackers, but has not con- unlikely, yet a possibility nonetheless. While the
harder and harder for Muslims in the service to firmed whether al-Awlaki was actually aware of truth may never be known, what we are left with
morally justify being in a military that seems is a critical conceptual
constantly engaged against fellow Muslims.” Re- problem surrounding
ports have been released suggesting that Hasan Shortly after the attack, eyewitnesses the Fort Hood shoot-
was a strong advocate for allowing Muslims in ing.
the U.S. Army to be allowed to conscientiously If Hasan’s action
object to their military duties because of their reported that Hasan had shouted, ought to be consid-
religious beliefs. ered an act of ter-
Although Hasan may have felt that the United
States is engaged in military action that conflicts
“Allahu Akbar” before opening fire rorism, the ques-
tion of whether the
with his religion, this logic is faulty at best. The Fort Hood shooting
United States has toppled the regimes of two against his fellow soldiers. should be considered
countries: Afghanistan and Iraq. Despite the an act of “Islamic” ter-
fact that both are Muslim-majority countries, ror then arises. Some
the regime of Saddam Hussein was a notably the September 11 plot. Amongst his colleagues, have argued that Hasan’s religious affiliation has
secular government. Additionally, throughout Hasan was known for his openness regarding his absolutely nothing to do with the attack itself;
the War on Terror, the United States has relied Islamic beliefs, and in the aforementioned pre- if a radical, evangelical Christian were to open
on key Middle Eastern allies of both secular and sentation that he gave at the Walter Reed Army fire in an abortion clinic, the attack would not
Islamic varieties. Furthermore, Hasan clearly Medical center, Hasan used Qur’anic passages to be considered a “Christian” terrorist attack. In a
misunderstood what it means to be considered justify suicide bombings. world that has become increasingly concerned
a “conscientious objector.” Conscientious objec- However, criminologists have noted that with political correctness, it is easy to under-
tors are allowed to either leave the military or be Hasan’s day-to-day tendencies were quite differ- stand why many are afraid to associate a terrorist
assigned to different positions if their religion or ent from those of the September 11 hijackers or attack with a religion—and they are right not to
moral convictions prohibit killing of any sort— the London subway bombers. If Hasan had been do so. However, if Hasan was indeed motivated
it is not enough to simply believe that a war is working in close conjunction with Al-Qaeda or by his radical religious beliefs, then it is not in-
unjust. another terrorist organization, Hasan would not correct to associate his attack with radical Islam
have been so specifically. In other words, it is not inaccurate
public about to consider Hasan’s actions as being motivated
Although “Allahu Akbar” is used as a his religious by radical jihadist ideologies, yet this is not to
beliefs; he say that Islam as a religious faith caused him to
would have do what he did. What we, as a society and a na-
proclamation of faith during the Islamic done more to tion, cannot do when analyzing and assessing
blend into so- these kinds of attacks is over-generalize and as-

prayer service, it has become a common ciety to mask

his identity.
sociate a terrorist attack with a religion en bloc,
because while there will always be a radical few,
According to the vast majority of a religion’s followers are any-
battle cry for Muslim extremists. the Al-Qaeda thing but extremist.
terrorist hand- Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan was a lonely
book, secrecy individual with few friends. He had recently
Undoubtedly, Hasan was an emotionally con- should be used “even with the closest people, witnessed the passing of his mother, and he was
flicted individual—but the relevance of his reli- for deceiving the enemies is not easy.” Criminal convinced that his religious convictions were at
gious beliefs to what occurred at Fort Hood has profiler Pat Brown suggested in a recent inter- odds with his ability to go to war. For Hasan,
raised an important question: was the attack at view that Hasan’s characteristics and actions radical Islam filled this emotional void in his
Fort Hood a terrorist attack similar to those of were more like that of a serial killer. Hasan had life, and while it is not incorrect to associate his
September 11, 2001, and the London subway few, if any friends, and for the past few years he violent actions with radical Islam, we must not
bombings? had been searching, unsuccessfully, for a wife. associate his actions with Islam as a whole.
Shortly after the attack, eyewitnesses reported The one woman that he did have in his life, his
that Hasan had shouted “Allahu Akbar” before mother, died in 2001.
opening fire against his fellow soldiers. Although If Hasan was acting in accordance with his rad-
“Allahu Akbar” is used as a proclamation of faith ical jihadist beliefs and felt that killing American
during the Islamic prayer service, it has become a soldiers was what his religion required of him,
common battle cry for Muslim extremists. Addi- then the Fort Hood shooting can be accurately
tionally, further investigations have revealed that defined as a terrorist attack. It is possible, how-
Hasan had communicated in the past with An- ever, that Hasan may have simply experienced Dan

war al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric who now a mental breakdown and decided to lash out sophomore

resides in Yemen. The F.B.I. has confirmed that against his fellow soldiers. Given the evidence email

December Edition Washington University Political Review 25

Fixing A Broken
Health Care
Reform Bill
The Problem

egardless of political ideology, everyone should agree that health The Democrats want to completely overhaul our health care system
care reform is necessary. Health care costs are rising faster than despite that the fact that the fundamentals of health care in our coun-
inflation, but we haven’t come to an agreement on the best way to try are strong. According to the World Health Organization, the United
lower costs. In reforming health care, we must not tear up the foundations States health care system ranks first in responsiveness—the area that
of our current system, because it is evident that the United States has cer- counts for the least but should matter most. At risk infants have the best
tain strengths. The United States has higher breast cancer (84% vs. 73%) chance of survival due to the availability of inutero neurosurgery and
and prostate cancer (92% vs. 57%) survival rates than those in Europe. neonatal intensive-care units. Approximately 47 million Americans are
Also, the United States has four times more MRI scanners per capita and uninsured, but this number fails to take into consideration that approxi-
two times more CT scanners per capita than Canada. Challengers to our mately 10 million are illegal immigrants, 18.3 million are under 34 years
system cite our lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality rates than old, and 9 million are making more than $75,000 per year and chose not
those in other developed countries. However, these facts are misleading: to be insured. Although that leaves a large number who need coverage,
our homicide rate is one of the highest of any country and we also lead the the prospect is not as daunting as it may seem. Drastic change is not
developed world in teenage pregnancies. Although homicide and teenage needed. The Democrats’ plan to fix health care has more flaws than the

pregnancies are problems, we would be remiss in using this information to number of Botox injections given to Nancy Pelosi. Some flaws stand out
crush the foundations of our health care system. more than others.

The Solutions
The Democrats fail to account for the economic challenges health care companies face:
Democrats have fed the American people the perception that health care companies are evil, profit-craving corporations. What the Demo-
crats fail to acknowledge is that health care companies aren’t making the profits we think. Fortune 500 ranks health care as America’s 40th most
profitable industry, making only a 3.3% profit margin. To put it in perspective, the strapped-for-cash airline industry has a 3.6% profit margin. Low
profit margins are due to a variety of factors. First, the health care industry is a victim of adverse selection. Healthy, young people forgo buying health
insurance because they deem it unnecessary, while older, sicker people are the ones who have a higher demand for health care, thus causing insurers
to charge more. Thus, healthy people are put off by the high prices and the cycle continues. Furthermore, the industry is a victim of moral hazard;
people who have health insurance will act differently because of it. An individual is more likely to request a more expensive procedure if he or she
has insurance as opposed to paying out of pocket. Finally, physicians are expensive. Because Medicare pays hospitals at 71% and physicians at 81% of
market value, doctors avoid taking losses by price discriminating; to recover lost profits, doctors charge people who can afford health care at a higher
Democratic Rebuttal: Wouldn’t providing a public option force health care companies to charge a
lower price?
In theory, yes. However, the public option is only looked upon favorably by those who do not understand the economic situation of the health
care corporations. Democrats believe that a public option would force private insurers to charge less because of increased competition. The only way
for health care companies to lower prices is by reducing costs. It makes sense for any corporation to attempt to lower costs to increase their profit.
However, health care companies would have tried to lower costs even before the possibility of increased competition to increase their profit margins.
In the free market, it doesn’t make sense for a corporation to not attempt to maximize surplus. With the Democrats’ public option plan, it doesn’t
make sense for private insurers to even compete in a losing battle.

26 Washington University Political Review December Edition

The public option will lead to a government takeover of health care:
The implementation of a public option will lead to a single payer health care system for many reasons. First, private insurers will not be able to
compete with the government option. The government option, which will cost considerably less than a private plan, will force private insurers to
cut prices to such an unrealistic level that they will go out of business, making the public option a monopoly. Also, the public option will instigate
a vicious cycle. Employers have the option of providing health care to their employees that the government deems acceptable or paying an 8%
payroll tax and placing their employees on the public option. For many businesses, employers will deem the 8% payroll tax less costly than provid-
ing government-approved health care. This will take away consumers from private insurance and force the government to seek additional revenue,
because more than 47 million uninsured people will be forced on the public option. The vicious cycle will continue because the government will
be forced to increase taxes on those who aren’t on the public option. This increase in taxes will force more people onto the public option. The cycle
will be perpetuated as the government raises taxes until it becomes the sole health care provider. The health care bill is a disguise; it’s a way for the
government to increase taxes and create a single payer system that will constitute 1/6 of our nation’s economy.

Democratic Rebuttal: Why are Republicans so opposed to a single-payer system even though it has
had success in other countries, such as the United Kingdom and Canada?
The universal health care systems in the United Kingdom and Canada are actually worse in many ways than our current system. Foreigners
frequently come to the United States to see specialists and get complex surgeries. In the U.K., health care is rationed, evidenced by the reality that
seniors older than 70 are not eligible for dialysis. In our current health care system, hundreds of thousands of senior citizens are receiving dialysis.
The average wait to see a specialist in the United States is under 2 weeks, while overseas one can expect to wait up to 6 months. Long waiting times

lead to increased deaths for patients with potentially fatal illnesses. The health care system in the United States has its flaws, but a single-payer system
cannot handle individuals’ specific needs.

We cannot afford a $1.3 trillion overhaul to our health care system when our national debt is
increasing beyond $12 trillion:
The last thing we can afford to do right now is spend more money. First the bailouts, then the $787 billion stimulus, and now $1.3 trillion over the
next 10 years decreasing the quality of health care? Gas prices, among many other goods, are currently rising in price due to the decreasing value
of the dollar, so why weaken the dollar further by increasing our $12 trillion national debt? Now is the time for fiscal conservatism: we need less
government spending and lower taxes to foster businesses and job creation. The economy is the problem that the government should be attempting
to fix. If we can fix the economy, more people will have steady jobs and therefore more people will be able to afford health insurance. Pelosi’s plan
imposes more than $150 billion in new taxes on small businesses, which will dig us further into an economic recession. Regardless of the economy,
Pelosi’s plan is the wrong choice.

Democratic Rebuttal: Why can’t we pay $1.3 trillion for health care when we have spent more than
$1 trillion dollars on two wars this decade?
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have had a negative effect on our economy. However, the difference between the $1 trillion spent in Afghani-
stan and Iraq and the $1.3 trillion to be spent on health care is that the money spent on our two wars is a sunk cost. In economics, a sunk cost is an
expense that cannot be recovered and should not be considered in future decisions. Thus, the $1 trillion spent on Iraq and Afghanistan should have
no impact on whether we decide to further cripple our economy by spending money on a severely flawed health care plan.

The Democrats are feeding us a perception that we are in a health care crisis. Although we are not in crisis mode yet, Pelosi and her liberal
minions are trying to pass legislation to make our problem worse. We can fix our health care system without rationing care, increasing the deficit,
and increasing taxes. A government option is foolish and unnecessary; a few changes to our fundamentally strong system can lower costs and
insure more people.


December Edition Washington University Political Review 27

Marcus Walton A Purpose
Defining The Association of Black
Students’ identity and our role in
racial politics on campus

s is declared in the ABS Constitution, “It make large strides towards bringing racism to themselves rarely encounter such treatment and
is our mission to give voice and power to, the forefront of our agendas, we have difficulty are even less frequently clairvoyant enough to
address the needs of, and supplement the confronting students who perpetuate racist ide- recognize its existence around them. But unlike
experience of Black Students at Washington Uni- ologies on this campus. As much as we can con- the progression of protests after the incident at
versity.” This statement seems to clearly outline gratulate the attraction of 400 students to Lab- Mother’s Bar, we as Black students cannot—
the primary purpose and goal of our organization. Sci, the question is, how many of the students nor do we have the time to—protest the infinite
However, I believe that through the process of in attendance were the ones who needed to hear amount of actions perpetrated by individual stu-
achieving this goal, the Association of Black Stu- such a discussion in the first place? dents. Should we conduct sit-ins at social events
dents has also widened the parameters that define The existence of racist behavior and doctrines and parties which stigmatize black students?
our constituency and overall objectives. are unfortunately far more prevalent on Wash- Monitor unjust calls made to WUPD that spe-
Over the past month, Washington Univer- ington University’s campus than most non-Black cifically target black males? Personally, I would
sity Class Councils, Student Groups, Senate, and students probably realize. (I purposely reference have to invest in a portable picket sign which
Student Executive Officers have collaborated to Black people as a prototype here due to our na- I would then have to carry around literally ev-
engender what has become the largest platform ture as the most popularly marginalized racial eryday if I was serious about protesting each in-
for dialogue on race relations of the past four demographic in U.S. society.) The main reason stance of racism on Wash U’s campus. And what
years. We as a community must now look back why students might be surprised to hear such a goals might these efforts accomplish? At worst,
at the results brought forth from such an effort. statement is simply because they are unaware of embarrassment, which would merely encour-
While the dedication and passion evoked as a the modern nature of racism. Labeling someone age students on Wash U’s campus to hide their
result of the recent events in Chicago are com- a racist generally seems synonymous with expos- racist beliefs. Can one really expect to alter the
mendable, they may have also overshadowed a ing his or her membership in the Ku Klux Klan. perceptions internalized by our student body for
larger issue at hand. First off, the most popular Contrary to popular belief, one does not need to the past 20 years of their lives?
form of action which has taken place over the be an active member of the Aryan Brotherhood Let’s be serious. The battle against racism is
past month is the town hall forum, which is to proliferate racist beliefs. The vast majority of not hopeless, but, in many ways, misguided.
more or less a dysphemism for informal discus- today’s youth actually fear the word racism and The root cause of the issue for our generation
sion, since the term “town hall forum” elicits would likely avoid a blatant agreement with any- is not a relic from the days of slavery. Nor is it
connotations of an outright confrontation of thing they interpret as such. Most people would even a remnant of the Civil Rights movement.
beliefs, a platform for the expression of the town like to believe that the fact that they “have Black Racism in today’s youth stems from perception
or community. However, such events often turn friends” negates their subtle racist treatment of and misunderstanding. To be clear, this is not a
into a general collection of agreements with a Black students on this campus. misunderstanding of black people, but more so
rare expression of dissent shown by members While I would challenge anyone to deny the a misunderstanding of the conditions and envi-
of the audience. The truth is, as much as Wash- existence of such an environment at Washing- ronment which have created our image and gen-
ington University wants to take a stand against ton University, I can also understand the lack erally negative portrayal. Yes, statisticians have
racist institutions 300 miles away, it should first of perception on the part of non-Black students claimed, “Black men born in the United States
look closer home. Although we as a campus can (more specifically white students), since they in 2001 will have a one in three chance of go-

28 Washington University Political Review December Edition

for Progress
Minority- A racial, religious, politi-
cal, national, or other group thought
to be different from the larger group
of which it is part.

er to outline the long process by which the As-

sociation of Black Students has decided exactly
where to take a stand. As the Black minority on
campus, we are committed to standing up for is-
sues that affect our members. However, we are
also minorities amongst Black people. As re-
cipients of an opportunity to attend college and
ascend to highest echelons of our society, Black
students at Washington University are members
of an elite demographic. The exception to the
rule, per say. Part of our mission as an organiza-
tion is to eradicate our existence as an exception
and to address issues in the larger Black com-
munity, outside the Wash U bubble. This is re-
flecting in our work on education, our volunteer
work in the community, and our efforts to high-
light healthcare disparities.
In short, the Association of Black Students
has made strides to not only fight for the mi-
ing to prison during their lifetime.” However it is Black people are largely reinforced by contem- nority rights of our immediate members, but to
equally as important to look at many of the pre- porary elements, such as the media and the ac- acknowledge our inclusion into a larger minor-
dominately Black neighborhoods in the United tual state of the Black community in the United ity: Black people across the country. One that is
States. The façade of linkage between race and States. This in itself is a far more pressing and in dire need of attention. And it is through this
crime has blocked the more apparent issue of so- purposeful issue to address than the revelation struggle that we wish to define our organization’s
cial class and poverty in our nation. To even as- of racism in our midst at the university. When ambition and purpose.
sert that a Black person is inherently more likely ABS helps coordinate a town hall forum based
to commit a crime is (wait for it…) racist. These on overt racism at in Chicago, we can pack Lab-
issues are clearly influenced by lurking variables Sci to its capacity. However when we coordinate
such as income and educational inequalities in with Teach For America on a panel to discuss
our nation. education inequality in St. Louis—our own
Obviously, there is a strong history of racism backyard—we have difficulty filling the first few
in the world as a whole. So to state that only rows. Marcus

contemporary factors are at play would be false. The purpose of this article is not to rant about in

But the point is that negative perceptions about the ongoing racist elements at Wash U, but rath-

December Edition Washington University Political Review 29

Fiscal Stimulus and
A discussion between Johan Oloffson and Spencer Berry
passage” in Lake Jackson, Florida. In layman’s to five additional years of benefits. According to
Oloffson terms, the eco-passage is a tunnel for turtles the British newspaper The Times, Obama has

ne year after Obama’s optimistic cam- and other wildlife underneath a local road. I like potentially jeopardized “one of the true undis-
paign promises, there is still a lot of turtles as much as anyone else, but I don’t think puted triumphs of … the last 20 years” with a
doubt and uncertainty about the fu- the $3.4 million spent to create the turtle tunnel stimulus package that contains ample govern-
ture of the economy. Why have we seen a sud- has the same economic impact as money spent ment handouts and little incentive for the un-
den resurgence in the stock market? How come within the private sector. employed to get back to work.
this surge has not translated into gains in the job The real issue with the stimulus bill is that The shortsightedness of the stimulus bill is
market? Why is unemployment the highest it has only a small portion of the $787 billion is actu- quite disturbing. Although irrelevant and un-
been in 26 years? The answers to these questions ally allocated for infrastructural improvement. necessary, the construction of 37 bridges in rural
are complex and multifaceted, but they can be About 14% of the stimulus bill is allocated for Wisconsin will create infrastructural jobs in the
explored by if the stimulus bill actually decreased infrastructure and science. In contrast, welfare area among contractors, suppliers, and workers.
unemployment. and healthcare spending combine for approxi- However, once those bridges have been com-
Government spending is an inefficient way of mately 18% of the bill. Yet President Obama pleted and the federal money is depleted, those
creating jobs, because it takes money away from individuals will again be unemployed. These
the private sector, generates too many short- employees will then have to turn to the private
term solutions, and ultimately has a number of sector for employment. Why not give a boost to
unintended consequences that will only deter the private sector instead of providing tempo-
job growth. rary job security?
The most objective proof of Obama’s experi- The second long-term unintended conse-
ment with Keynesian economics is the $787 bil- quence of the stimulus bill will be a net increase
lion stimulus bill of 2009. The affixed graph can in taxes, which will cause even greater unemploy-
only have two implications: either the Obama ment. Obama has warned that this stimulus bill,
administration grossly miscalculated the state coupled with an expensive health care proposal,
of the economy at the time of the stimulus bill’s will have to be paid for by increasing taxes on
inception, in which case their incompetence the rich. However, a recent Wall Street Journal
should cause us to question their ability to fix an article explains that, as the Joint Tax Committee
economy that they do not properly understand. reports, a third of those affected by this $460.5
Or, as the graph illustrates, the Obama admin- billion tax hike would be small business owners
istration accurately analyzed the state of the who file under the individual income tax code.
economy, but chose to implement policies that To raise taxes on small business owners when
were incorrect and ultimately led to heightened unemployment is already at a staggering 10.2%
unemployment. will be extremely detrimental for our economy.
The stimulus package took too long to imple- ! It should surprise no one that our unem-
ment and many of the projects and initiatives contends that this bill was about job creation ployment rate is at a record high. We now see
funded have not resulted in overall job growth. and not about the expansion of government. the effects of a poorly crafted stimulus bill that
As of October 9, the Department of Energy has Obviously, some unemployment benefits are provides too much money to social welfare pro-
only spent approximately $1 billion of the $36.7 necessary in dire circumstances. However, cur- grams and is ineffective at implementing the
billion allocated. How can we to expect to create rent welfare policies incentivize the unemployed short-term jobs that it was intended to create.
new, green jobs if the government is ultimately to remain unemployed. One such policy was the When unemployment begins to decrease, we
ineffective at employing their resources? “workfare” program implemented by Clinton will be able to thank U.S. corporations for their
Meanwhile, $3.4 million will be spent by the in 1998, which demands that able beneficiaries help in upending this recession and not the U.S.
Department of Transportation to build an “eco- work for two years in order to be eligible for up government.

30 Washington University Political Review December Edition

the Economy

he American Recovery and Reinvest-
ment Act of 2009 has come under fire
from people on the right, who see it as
an encroachment by “Big Government” on the
private sector. They argue that it hurts the ability
of the private sector to allocate jobs, which is dou-
bly horrendous during a recession as large as the
current one. While the stimulus package wasn’t
perfect, neither is the private sector. Indeed, it was
the private sector that caused this recession in the
first place. The stimulus package, albeit riddled
with idiosyncratic inefficiencies, has done more
to prevent Great Depression-level unemployment
than the private sector could have done alone. extensively). Increasing the budget may lead to growth - especially when the tax revenue is put
Undoubtedly, our economic situation is dire. the crowding out of private investment, as inves- to good use. Furthermore, these tax hikes (if
We have an unemployment rate of 10.2%, which tors would rather put their money in a safe and they materialize at all) would not take effect
is the worst in the United States since the early high-yielding government security rather than until much later in the future, at a point when
1980s. Analysts predicted in early 2009 that un- a private one, which may not be the best policy our economy would have already experienced a
employment would reach 8.75% without a stim- decision. Private investment has fallen dramati- substantial amount of recovery. The bottom line
ulus package. The unemployment rate could be cally since the recession began, but the brunt of is that taxpayers won’t have to shoulder the gov-
reduced to 7.75%, they argued, by implement- the decline occurred before the stimulus: a 16% ernment’s spending while the economy is still
ing extensive Keynesian government spending, drop from Q4 2008 to Q1 2009, as opposed to floundering.
which would rack up a hefty, but necessary, 8% in the two quarters after it, thus indicating It is far too early to judge the effects of the
deficit. The acolytes of Glenn Beck point to the that “crowding out” has not been as harmful as stimulus package, let alone the Obama adminis-
current unemployment rate as indicative of the some may think. tration’s economic policy in its totality. Although
stimulus package’s failure, but this is overly sim- The stimulus bill’s allocation of resources has unemployment remains too high for comfort,
plistic. The predictions were made in January been heavily scrutinized. To be sure, some of when all is said and done, history will show the
2009 before the recession got as acute as it did this criticism is justified. More funding could American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to
and at a time when even Paul Krugman pre- have been directed toward building infrastruc- be, at the very least, a moderate success.
dicted, at worst, a moderate recession. It is hard ture and more productive endeavors. However,
to make an accurate assessment, but the unem- while this may have made the stimulus bill more
ployment rate might well be above 15% had it effective, wouldn’t it make conservatives even
not been for the stimulus. angrier about increased spending? Perhaps gov-
Conservatives argue that government spend- ernment’s allocation of stimulus money is actu-
ing will hurt the economy, because it takes funds ally better than that of the private sector. After
away from the private sector in order to fund all, in 2007 Americans spent more money on
government projects. However, this is not en- breast implants and Viagra than on Alzheimer’s

tirely accurate. Increasing government spending research.

must be funded either by an increase in taxes Furthermore, the bill would have to be paid

(which we haven’t really seen) or through an in- for in the form of increased taxes. Progres- Staff

crease in the budget deficit (which we have seen, sive taxes do not necessarily hamper economic Sciences.

December Edition Washington University Political Review 31

The Conflict
in the Middle-East

The American Role in Preventing a Nightmarish Scenario

Taka Yamaguchi

istrust between Iran and Israel has acceptably dangerous threat. clear weapon within five years, Ahmadinejad’s
always been high, but the recent on- argument has a high degree of credibility.
slaught of threats and hard-line rhetoric
from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Preemptive strike, Since the departure of the Bush administra-
tion, the United States has taken a less rigid
has led tensions to skyrocket. The countries are Israeli style stance in dealing with rogue states. Although
now at the point of open hostility, and Israel has President Obama’s current policy consists of im-
repeatedly threatened to bomb suspected Iranian Many Western countries were hopeful that the partial negotiations with Iran, Israel wants the
nuclear arms facilities. Unfortunately, the situa- most recent UN proposition to Iran, which pro- United States to pressure Iran with the threat of
tion seems unlikely to improve, especially since posed that the Islam- severe consequences
the United States has never proven effective at re- ic Republic ship its if it does not heed
ducing the tensions between these two rivals. uranium abroad to Western demands.
Nuclear weapons are central to the skepti-
cism that is prevalent between Iran and Israel.
The Federation of American Scientists estimates
be enriched, would
finally be acceptable
to both parties. Un-
Iran and Israel is worried that
the current U.S. gov-
ernment may not see
Israel possesses 60-80 nuclear weapons, and Is-
rael is notable for being the only nuclear power
in the Middle East. History has shown that Is-
fortunately, like the
many propositions
that have hitherto
Israel spiral the issue as immi-
nently threatening as
they do. In the past,
Israel has shown that
toward a bloody
rael is not afraid to resort to drastic measures been proposed, this
to maintain its nuclear hegemony. In 1981, Is- one was rejected by it is determined to
raeli F-16s bombed Saddam Hussein’s nascent Iran’s regime. Prime assure its own secu-
nuclear weapons facilities. More recently, Israel Minister Binyamin rity and has attacked
airpower destroyed a cache of fissile uranium
in Syria that was suspected to have originated
Netanyahu of Israel,
although furious at
confrontation. foreign nuclear sites
without regard for
North Korea. the obdurate Ah- diplomatic conse-
Ahmadinjead is equally eager to see Israel’s madinejad, also im- quences. The Israeli
domination of the region relegated to the histo- plicitly accused the government may
ry pages. To Israel, the unpredictability of Iran’s United Nations and the United States of being once again risk taking matters into their own
government, coupled with its leaders’ stubborn overly concessionary. Given that experts have hands if the UN and the United States continue
hostility and radical ideology, represent an un- estimated Iran could develop a functional nu- to be ineffective in snubbing Iranian nuclear

32 Washington University Political Review December Edition

ambitions. nuclear counterstrike. Moreover, the resultant although Iran was willing to cooperate with the
Several Israeli politicians have criticized Presi- diplomatic isolation would truly make Iran a pa- West, it would not back down “one iota.” Such
dent Obama’s more concessionary stance toward riah in the international community. Simultane- comments only serve to make Israel increas-
Iran, because it relieves pressure on the Islamic ously, the torrent of ingly willing to use
Republic. Opponents claim that this attitude
may simply allow Ahmadinejad and his cronies
to buy time to further develop their nuclear pro-
economic sanctions
would cause the
Iranian economy
An Israeli strike force against Iran.
An Israeli strike and
the subsequent Ira-
gram. In the near future, Israel is likely to feel suf-
ficiently threatened to attack Iran’s nuclear sites.
to collapse. Even
the most ideologi- and the subsequent nian retaliation seem
both imminent and
As recently as September 2008, Israel agreed to cally motivated and inevitable. The only
purchase 1,000 U.S. missiles of the type used to
destroy large, heavily reinforced, underground
bellicose members
of the Iranian gov-
Iranian retaliation option to preventing
war, then, is to reduce
buildings. It is no mere coincidence these are ex-
actly the type of munitions required to counter
the the unique construction method of Iranian
ernment would
categorically reject
a nuclear attack on
seem both Israel’s well-founded
fears to a level where
its leaders do not
nuclear facilities.
The Israelis are not the only ones stocking up
Israel because of
the plan’s suicidal imminent and feel compelled to act
against their sworn
on arms, however. The Iranians have expressed nature. enemy. The only na-
interest in new Russian surface-to-air missiles.
This could shorten the perceived Israeli time
Land attacks are
also out of the ques-
inevitable tion that could fea-
sibly fulfill that role
frame for an attack, since Israel may feel the tion, as Israel and is the United States.
need to strike before these air defenses can be Iran do not share a border. Iran’s antiquated and It has been placed in a curious scenario where
purchased and deployed. Feeling backed into a poorly maintained air force would be no match it must put pressure on Iran in order to lessen
corner, Israeli forces have never been so anxious for Israel’s advanced air defenses; it would be an the likelihood of an Israeli preemptive attack.
to remove the Iranian nuclear threat before it can understatement to call the probable result of an Although President Obama’s cooperative atti-
come to fruition. Its leaders are on the defensive Iranian air attack an embarrassment for Iran. tude is laudable, he is in a particularly difficult
and are more likely than ever to resort a decisive, The answer lies in Iran’s secret, though widely position. He must either assume an extremely
confrontational solution. If so, Israel may rashly suspected, funding of Hezbollah, Hamas, and uncompromising stance—and hazard being
decide that offensive unilateral action is the only other politically inclined “terrorists.” Iran is un- compared to former President Bush—or play
way to ensure its security. Unfortunately, doing derhandedly supplying these groups, united un- the moderate and risk Israel taking matters into
so risks plunging Israel into a situation where der the banner of anti-Israel sentiment. Iran could its own hands. In order to avert war, Obama
the detrimental consequences far outweigh any greatly increase its sale of a variety of weapons will most likely have to heed the Israeli gov-
benefits. or offer training to militants to, in essence, wage ernment’s demands for a much tougher stance
a proxy war with Israel. With the unprecedent- against Iran: supporting extremely severe sanc-
Opening up a whole new edly powerful militant groups attacking Israel in tions, terminating negotiations with Iran, and
strength from the north (Lebanon: Hezbollah) threatening the use of force Iran to stop Iranian
can of worms and within it (Palestine: Hamas), Israel would development of nuclear weapons. Otherwise,
be forced to divert its attentions away from Iran Israel is at risk of setting off a chain of events
There are several potential outcomes to an Is- and engage in significant internal operations to that will lead to an unprecedented number of
raeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, none of ensure its own security. There would be many horrifically costly terrorist and militant attacks.
which are in Israel’s favor. With Iran recently re- casualties on all sides, except for the orchestra- Israel will then become mired in an internal
vealing the existence of a hidden, underground tor (Iran). All of this would occur while Iran’s conflict without having eliminated the threat of
nuclear facility near the city of Qom, one must leaders, if manipulative enough, could showcase Iran. Hopefully, Netanyahu can foresee the likely
assume that there could be other unknown and Iran as the latest victim of Israeli aggression and catastrophic consequences for Israel and follow
highly protected sites. Since these unknown blatant disregard for international law. Mean- a less risky alternative to removing the Iranian
nuclear sites would escape any Israeli first strike while, Iran could lick its wounds and continue nuclear threat—such as the Obama administra-
unscathed, the Iranian nuclear timetable would to secretly develop nuclear arms. With this plan tion’s current approach. Nevertheless, unless the
simply be pushed back rather than halted. This of action, Iran could minimize the damage to its United States has the insight to intervene, Iran
ineffective attack would only succeed in harden- nuclear program and its public standing while and Israel spiral toward a bloody confrontation.
ing Iranian resolve, earning Israel a harsh rebuke Israel remains embroiled in internal conflict. It
from the international community and setting would be the ideal, two birds-one stone situation
the stage for a furious response from Iran. for Ahmadinejad and friends.
What would such a response entail? Even in
the unlikely case that Iran has developed nuclear
weapons capable of striking Israel, the Iranian
Only the United States
regime would almost certainly not deploy such can prevent war Taka

missiles against Israel, since the inevitable con- freshman

sequence would be a far more devastating Israeli In a recent speech Ahmadinejad stated that His

December Edition Washington University Political Review 33

The Passage of the
Lisbon Treaty
Michael Hyrc

n December 1, 2009, a new treaty will ond referendum this fall for voters to approve the most touted changes that the Lisbon Treaty
join Europe’s collection: the Lisbon the treaty, primarily out of their concern about brings is the establishment of the offices of Presi-
Treaty. It aims to streamline decision- the economic crisis. The Polish President, Lech dent and Foreign Policy Chief. In doing so, the
making in the European Union – an organiza- Kaczynski, refused to sign the treaty until it had European Union hopes to become more influ-
tion established and governed by an amalgam of been put to a vote by the Irish People. He signed ential in international politics. Instead of the in-
treaties. Specifically it is composed of: the Trea- the treaty the day after Irish ratification was terests of Europe being represented by dozens of
ties of Rome (concerned with free trade agree- complete, but the treaty was then held up by the heads of state, this would allow Europe to speak
ments), The Schengen Agreement (movement Czech Republic. While long ago ratified by Par- in one, unified voice and to wield power of the
between countries of the EU), The Maastricht liament, Czech President Vaclav Klaus refused same level as the United States, China or Rus-
Treaty (formally establishing the EU), The Trea- to sign the treaty, claiming that the treaty would sia. While this sounds great on paper, there is
ty of Amsterdam (cooperation of the justice sys- allow Germans expelled from Czechoslovakia little to suggest that the new positions will be
tems of the members of the EU) and the Treaty after World War II to file claims for Czech land. anything more than figureheads. It’s quite likely
of Nice (expanding the EU). It’s easy to get lost Last minute negotiations allowed the Czech Re- that the President of the European Union will
in this maze of treaties, and adding a new treaty public to opt out from the portions of the treaty occupy a role similar to the General Secretary
next month to the mix will do little to ease the they objected to and President Klaus signed the of the United Nations: commenting on interna-
confusion. treaty earlier this month. It is set to become le- tional matters but largely irrelevant in affecting
The dysfunctional path that the Lisbon Treaty gally binding on December 1. them.
has taken to full ratification is the first indica- One would hope that all the trouble of pass- The Lisbon treaty also aims to make voting
tor at its ineffectiveness. All 27 member coun- ing such a treaty is worth it. Unfortunately, the in the European Union more streamlined. The
tries must ratify the treaty for it to take effect, Lisbon Treaty falls far short of its principle goal, European Commission, the most important ex-
and while most European countries approved which is to streamline decision making in the ecutive power in the European Union, will be
the treaty quite quickly, Ireland, Poland and the European Union. Amidst 250 pages of nearly reduced in size. More decisions in all tiers of
Czech Republic held out against doing so. Irish unintelligible legal proscriptions, several ini- the European Union will be made by majority
voters voted against the treaty. It took a sec- tially promising changes can be found. One of decisions instead of requiring unanimity (but
anything to do with taxation, foreign policy or
defense still requires unanimity). The Lisbon
Treaty also makes the Charter of Fundamental
Rights, the European equivalent of the U.S. Bill
of Rights, legally binding. It’s largely irrelevant,
as many member states have opt-outs from the
parts of the Charter they object to.
The Lisbon Treaty is a product of a compro-
mise between 27 states with vastly different
interests. With no nations willing to sacrifice
enough sovereignty to the European Union
to make it meaningful, the Lisbon Treaty and
any future treaties will remain largely symbolic
legislation that does very little to strengthen the
European Union.



Art by Kaity Li. Her email is

34 Washington University Political Review December Edition

Gendercide Becca Craig

n the United States ultrasounds during pregnancy are used for construc- one county in central China and found that nearly half of reported preg-
tive purposes. Often times, mothers and fathers experience the joy of nancies were subjected to sex determination by ultrasound examination.
discovering their baby’s sex. (And then appropriately purchase every- Disgustingly, nine out of ten of the determined female fetuses in second
thing imaginable in shades of either blue or pink.) Abroad, the practice of pregnancies were aborted if the couple’s first child was a girl.
ultrasound use is a completely different story. Ultrasound technicians simply While the abortion debate is another issue in itself, the problem is not
smile or shake their head to inform the par- the practice of abortion abroad, nor is it the
ents of the child’s sex: the former being a boy expansion of ultrasound technology. It’s
and the latter, a girl. Social pressures often the deeply rooted gender norms in India
lead parents to abort females in the hopes of and China that serve to devalue women.
acquiring a boy the next time around. This If women were valued for more than just
warped practice needs to be brought to a marriage and birthing purposes in the eyes
halt. of society, this problem could be solved.
In October 2009 the United States might Junhong claimed, “This calls for a wide
have been granted an avenue by which to range of social, economic, political, and le-
take action against this injustice, instead of gal measures designed to promote gender
idly hoping for “a change we can believe in.” equality and adoption of developmental
Last month, the United States attended the strategies that favor gender equity.” Inno-
UN Human Rights Council as an official vative behavior-change campaigns from the
member for the first time ever, and not a government and NGOs are needed in order
moment too soon. As the recent trend of to transform a culture whose attitudes en-
gender-selected abortions is continuously force and endorse sex-selective abortions.
worsening in Asian countries, the time for International pressure is also needed in
the United States to reverse this abomina- order for change to happen. Now is prime-
tion is now. time for the United States to take an actual
In most countries, there are about 105 stance against an atrocity that has left al-
male births for every 100 females. In India, most 15 million women missing in Asia.
there are fewer than 93 women for every As new members of the council, the United
100 men; in China there are 120 men for States should advocate for an end to the one
every 100 women. This new phenomenon child policy in China, which only perpetu-
of “gendercide” is attributed to gender- ates the cycle of sex selection. In addition
determining ultrasound clinics that are to this, the U.N Human Rights Council and
being conveniently constructed next to United States should work with govern-
abortion clinics. As a new Human Rights Art by Kaity Li. Her email is ments to develop initiatives to alleviate the
Council member, the United States should problem, including cash incentives to raise
turn opinion into action and take the lead to ratify the Convention on the daughters, campaigns promoting the education of young girls, and prefer-
Rights of the Child in the name of equal rights. ential treatment in health care, housing and employment. While change
The abortion of female fetuses was aided by the spread of cheap and will not happen overnight, it is time for the United States to take action in
portable ultra-sound scanners in the 1980s. Underground mobile scanning times of desperate injustice.
and illegal backstreet hospitals provided unreliable sex determination for
as little as $50. Sex-selective abortions are, surprisingly, most common in
wealthier areas in India. Chu Junhong, an Associate Professor of the Insti- Becca

tute of Population Research, Peking University, Beijing conducted a study American

that yielded chilling results. In 2005, Junhong interviewed 820 women in can

December Edition Washington University Political Review 35

The Taliban-Dr ug Nexus
A roadblock to success in Afghanistan
An analysis by Hannah Shaffer

inety-two percent of the world’s opium, morphine, and heroin— money trumps ideology.
all derivates of a gummy substance extracted from the poppy While most recognize the need for CN initiatives, there are severe chal-
plant—comes from Afghanistan, a nation in which the United lenges to tackling this issue. Chief among them is the lack of political will,
States is currently engaged in chaotic counter insurgency (COIN) tactics. which is largely a result of narco-corruption among government officials.
While Americans have been bombarded with news stories about General Unsurprisingly, it has proved difficult to motivate these politicians to crack
McChrystal’s demand for increased troop deployment and insurgent attacks down on what makes them wealthy. The British found nine tons of poppy
in Afghanistan, the profound impact of Afghanistan’s narcotics trade is fre- in the cellar of Sher Mohammed Akhunzada, the Governor of Helmand,
quently overlooked. and President Karzai’s brother Wali
Afghanistan has not always been
the heart of the world’s poppy culti-
Under the Taliban, poppy Karzai is widely suspected of hav-
ing shady dealings with the narcotics
vation. Opium cultivation became
firmly woven into Afghanistan’s eco-
prices rose from $28 to $300 trade. Ninety-five percent of the pop-
py-rich south voted for Karzai, which
nomic fabric after the 1979 Soviet in-
vasion. This internecine warfare and
per kilogram, increasing the further increases the government’s
shaky commitment to CN. Therefore,
the anarchy left in its wake destroyed
the Afghan countryside, leading many
incentive to cultivate. if Karzai made a real commitment to
CN, he would lose political and mon-
to cultivate poppy, which promises a etary support. Afghanistan, ranked by
steady and substantial income. Under the Taliban, poppy prices rose from the Transparency International’s Corruption Percentage Index as the sec-
$28 to $300 per kilogram, increasing the incentive to cultivate. Adding fuel ond-most corrupt country in the world, needs to root out such corruption
to the fire, these developments occurred while surrounding countries were in order to crack down on drugs and reclaim legitimacy.
cracking down on their own narcotics industries, causing drug lords to
relocate to the country with a comparative advantage in illegality. Counter Narcotics Policies
Taliban Drug Money Strategies to dismantle the drug trade include eradication, interdiction,
reform of the judicial sector, and alternative livelihoods. The points of dis-
and Narco-Corruption agreement tend to focus on the correct balance of these policies—whether
to lean more toward incentives or disincentives, and in what order to im-
Counter narcotics (CN) initiatives are integral elements of COIN. Much plement the initiatives. Effective CN policies require both a “carrot” and
of the drug trade’s profit flows into the coffers of insurgent groups, and the “stick.” One cannot be used at the other’s expense.
nexus between the insurgency and the drug trade is growing. The U.S. CN The most important positive incentive is finding alternative livelihoods
strategy estimates that 10%-50% of insurgent funding is drug money. The for poppy farmers. Usually such support is in the form of subsidies, price
Taliban has always levied taxes on farmers and traffickers and so reaped supports, micro-loans, and contract farming from private firms. Carrot
profit at every level of the narcotics trade. Recently, however, the insur- policies may seem like a panacea, but in practice there are complicating
gency’s hand in the drug trade has become far more direct. For example, factors. First, no licit crop matches poppy in profits (a hectare of poppy
the biggest drug dealer in the south is an ally of Taliban leader, Mullah yields $4,600 a year, while a hectare of wheat yields only $390). Second,
Omar. Ironically, the Taliban professes ardent adherence to Islam, which insurgents pressure farmers to take out loans to cultivate more poppy,
preaches against the production and consumption of drugs. It seems that which creates a cycle of debt that cannot be broken by switching to licit

36 Washington University Political Review December Edition


(and less lucrative) crops. Finally, the threat of insurgent attacks makes pede interdiction efforts; on average only two percent of the total crop is
implementing development programs difficult. Despite these challenges, confiscated. The other hurdle to interdiction is a toothless and inconsistent
24 of 34 provinces are now low-poppy or poppy-free, as many farmers are judicial system. Though the Afghan Constitution makes drug trafficking
responding to U.S. agricultural subsidies. illegal, drug kingpins frequently use bribery to avoid sanctions. To im-
A corollary policy is a public information campaign to convince local prove law enforcement, justice salaries need to be raised, justice positions
communities that CN helps rather than hinders the long-term economy. expanded, and anti-corruption initiatives bolstered.
This campaign should also tap Afghanistan’s base of religious leaders (mul- Eradication—destroying poppy fields—is the other (and more contro-
lahs), who are opposed to drugs on religious grounds. versial) “stick.” It serves as a threat to farmers and pressures them to take
Although positive incentives to “win hearts and minds” are a piece of advantage of alternative livelihood programs. While this strategy is ap-
the CN puzzle, relying solely on them or employing “sequencing”—first pealing because of its “take-no-prisoners” approach, eradication should be
developing an area before employing eradication—is ill-advised. The se- pursued only when there are viable crop alternatives.
curity sought by development programs cannot be reached while drugs Looking for a quick-fix to Afghanistan’s narcotics plague is an exercise
are present, because the industry is itself a hugely destabilizing force. It in futility, and attempting “silver bullet” solutions could even prove to be
is no coincidence that cultivation has spread like a cancer in the south counter-productive. The only hope of dismantling the Taliban-drug nexus
where insurgent violence has also increased. As the first Vice-President of in this drug-ridden nation is first to engender political will for CN mea-
Afghanistan remarked, “This is a vicious circle: getting rid of poppy in the sures and then to implement a combination of “carrots” and “sticks” for
south has been difficult because of insecurity, but the insecurity is fueled Afghan poppy farmers and narco-traffickers.
by poppy.”
Interdiction—seizing drugs and arresting those involved in the drug
trade—is one of the key disincentive CN policies and the best way to com-
bine CN and COIN efforts. To cause the most disruption to the industry,
interdiction and law enforcement should start at the top with drug barons Hannah

tied to the insurgency. However, porous borders and mountain terrain im- of

December Edition Washington University Political Review 37

The Million Dollar Man
An anecdote and analysis of the reality of the health care issues the United States faces
Mike Friend

It was a cold day in the city when high above the skyline in a hospital analysis.
room my grandfather passed away. He died of liver failure stemming from His situation was dire; he could either have the heart operation or his
complications created by his operation four months earlier. He was 78. My heart could slowly bleed him to death over the course of the year. It would
grandfather was really like another parent to me, the love I felt and still feel be much like drowning—slowly sinking closer and closer to death with ev-
for him is as deep and strong as that which I have for both of my parents. ery heart beat. Any rational person would choose surgery and my grand-
When I heard 2,000 miles away in St. Louis that he had passed, I sat father was much more than a rational human being - he was a strong in-
down and wept. I hadn’t cried in seven years - even when I had been in dividual physically, mentally and morally. He worked pro-bono for people
severe physical pain - yet the words “grandpa is gone” crippled me. The who couldn’t afford his legal services. He served on the committee at his
funeral was beautiful and horrible all at the same time. I was together with synagogue and raised three successful daughters. He loved his wife, chil-
my family and surrounded by my grandfather’s friends. It was odd to be dren and all his grandchildren with blinding intensity. The reason that in
somewhere where everyone, all three hundred of those attending the fu- a small town in New England 300 people packed themselves into a funeral
neral, knew my grandfather. The procession to the graveyard involved 30 home designed to hold only fifty, was that they all knew, long before he had
cars and when we finally laid him in the ground and the last bit of dirt had ever even worried about his health, that my grandfather was worth much
been shoveled over the grave, I could not stop crying. I still could not stop more than one million dollars.
crying when I got back to St. Louis. I was forced to just hide it from the Although the health care debate may be over in the House and some bill
public for the next few weeks. When I returned to school, one of the first might be passed, it will not solve this conflict between the young and the
questions I remember asking my mother over the phone was: “Is grandma old and how our resources are spent. I cannot say anyone should deny my
going to be okay?” She responded “Yes”. Then I asked, “Is she going to be grandfather the right to an operation to continue his life no matter how
able to pay for this?” much it cost. On the other hand there are hundreds of thousands of people
Four months in an ICU and a five-hour heart surgery had to cost a lot. who are now drowning in debt because they can’t pay their medical bills.
The ten surgeon team, the countless nurses, the mountains of drugs; the So what is the solution? The one that seems more logical is to put more
numbers were running through my mind--how much was the medical bill money into the system to accommodate everyone’s needs. So that we don’t
going to be. $250,000? That wouldn’t even cover the operation. $800,000? have to choose between the beloved grandfather in New England and 100
That couldn’t cover the ICU care. The medical bill was more money than people with medical bills they can’t afford.
my grandparents had ever seen in their lives—$1 million. But money But the cold reality is that we have limited resources, and we have to
wasn’t a concern because Medicare covered it. It is hard to transcend the choose how to spend them. The reason that the health care debate is so
emotions that surround my grandfather but the question has to be asked: inflamed is not because of policy issues or the ideological struggle between
how much did his operation truly cost? capitalism and socialism, but because no matter your religious beliefs we
We know that resources are not infinite, and therefore the $1,000,000 all hold one truth in our heads. It’s a truth that a lot of us try to ignore: that
could have been used somewhere else. Everyday Americans are fiscally— Shakespeare was right. “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player/ That
and then emotionally—incapacitated by medical bills for $20, $30 and $50 struts and frets his hour upon the stage/ And then is heard no more.” We
thousand, for common events like a burst appendix, a broken arm and a only have one shot on the stage - the only question is how long do we get
bad fever. How many people could $1 million help? We as a country spend to stay there?
more on the last six months of life then we do on any other time period.
Does this make sense? Is it not wrong to waste resources on people who
aren’t going to live to reap the benefits of those resources? But let me return Mike

to my grandfather because he deserves more than a simple quantitative Arts

38 Washington University Political Review December Edition

Ethiopian Jews
Never-ending discrimination
Sara Fichman

he years 1984 and 1991 saw two mass still face an unreasonable struggle to find high- lions of dollars to bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel,
immigrations of Jews from Ethiopia to quality jobs because of racism and stereotyping. the rabbinate has not been an ally to the Ethio-
Israel, during which thousands of Jews Because Ethiopian Israelis are a relatively new pian Israelis. When the Ethiopians first arrived,
moved from an impoverished, developing society minority, unlike the Ashkenazi or Sephardic many were made to undergo a “conversion” to
into Israel’s modern world. By accepting these Jews who have been around since the establish- Judaism despite the fact that they were already
immigrants, Israel took on a long struggle against ment of the state, the stereotypes with which Jewish. While this was defended as a precau-
discrimination and segregation that remains a Ethiopian Jews arrived - being uneducated, old- tion to ensure that the immigrants were actu-
very prevalent issue in Israel today. Legally, Ethio- fashioned, and culturally different - are unfortu- ally Jewish, this embarrassing and unnecessary
pian Israelis are full citizens with the same rights nately still prevalent today. An employer will see process confused Ethiopian Jews. Unfortu-
as any other Israeli; they go to school, complete the color of a prospective employee’s skin and nately, religious discrimination didn’t end with
their mandatory two or three years in the army, make assumptions about his or her work ethic or the abolition of this “conversion” in the 1980s.
attend university, work jobs, and live their lives. intelligence. Worse, the employer might decide Until recently, any Ethiopian couple who wanted
However, several factors prevent Ethiopian Israelis that hiring an Ethiopian will be bad for business to marry were obliged to go to a specific Ethio-
from realizing their aspirations. Ethiopian Jews are because of racist customers. A study conducted pian rabbi for authorization - no matter how in-
a minority, and unlike other immigrants to Israel, by Kiryat Ono Academy in Tel Aviv and pub- convenient this was for the couple - while other
they are perceived differently, not only because of lished on November 9 this year by Haaretz—one Israeli couples were allowed to simply visit their
the color of their skin, but also because of the ste- of the biggest Israeli newspapers—found that local rabbi. The Israeli Supreme Court over-
reotypes associated with their nationality. 53 percent of employers would rather not hire turned this law in 2004, recognizing that it is
Admittedly, segregation is difficult to avoid Ethiopians, regardless of how qualified they are. indeed racist to deny basic rights to Ethiopian
when bringing in large numbers of immigrants If they are actually hired, the study finds that Jews, who are law-abiding citizens just like the
from Ethiopia; many of them are impoverished the chances of the employee being promoted rest of the population.
or sick, unable to speak Hebrew, and unpre- are even slimmer. Since it is not legal to refuse It has been 25 years since the first swell of
pared for work in Israel’s more modern society. someone a position because of their ethnicity, Ethiopian immigrants, but the amount of dis-
For their first few years in Israel, the immigrants Israel needs to remedy the mentality that leads crimination that remains in Israel’s modern so-
were offered government absorption centers as to discrimination against all minorities and take ciety is appalling. As the continuing struggle for
they learned Hebrew and Israeli ways. It seems action against such immoral behavior. Currently equity in professional, religious and social life
logical that most Ethiopian Jews leaving the ab- there is no affirmative action in Israel, and Ethio- does not seem to be coming to an end, the gov-
sorption centers would live in poorer areas and pian Jews do not want it because they want to be ernment must further crack down on discrimi-
only obtain meager jobs that require minimal hired or rejected because of their qualifications, nation in order to improve the quality of life for
education. Yet it has been over twenty years not their race. So, without government action, all Israelis.
since the first surge of immigrants, and in 2007, we must depend on progress alone ending dis-
65 to 70 percent of the community lived below crimination. Sara

the poverty line. Despite the fact that many Despite the fact that Israel launched two freshman

Ethiopians are as educated as other Israelis, they waves of rescue missions and dispatched mil- Her

December Edition Washington University Political Review 39


De c ep t ion
Alex Kaufman

Art by Christina Belderson. Her email is

n 2001 the Toyota Prius took the United people what they want” has been replaced by a possible to be an environmentally conscious
States by storm. The environmentally more sinister slogan of “give the people the same consumer anymore, because there is no way to
friendly car proved that at least some stuff as before . . . with a label claiming to be tell a truly green product from one that just calls
Americans were finally willing to shell out a few what they want.” itself green.
extra bucks to fight global warming. As public From granola bars to cell phones, soap to new The increasingly common phenomenon of
awareness of environmental problems has in- cars, consumers can find almost anything in a deceptively labeled “green” products is rightly
creased, American consumers have become ever “green” variety. Google “green products” and called “greenwashing.” Greenwashing occurs
more willing to spend extra on products that are you will find “green” versions for everything when companies disingenuously hawk their
better for the environment. you can imagine: there are green toothbrushes, products by dressing them up with leaves and
Corporations have caught on to this shift in green can openers, green air conditioners, even flowers on the label along with some sales pitch
consumer demand, but the resulting changes green green paint. (no matter how implausible) that qualifies their
to marketing campaigns haven’t always been But are we really supposed to believe all this product as “green.” Common phrases such as
backed up by substantive changes to the prod- stuff is good for the environment and not just “all natural” and “organic” get slapped on many
ucts. Unfortunately, the old motto of “give the another form of advertising? It’s virtually im- products that are, in reality, tawdry rip offs of

40 Washington University Political Review December Edition

“Green” Product Sold As The Catch Is it Green?
An SUV that gets 36 MPG! Ameri- A (non hybrid) Toyota Camry gets
Ford Escape cans can now roll on 30-inch rims the same mpg. If you really wanted
Hybrid without the guilt. to change things, buy a hybrid that
gets 50mpg or more. !
A way to soak up the beer in your Paper towels can’t be recycled, so
rug without cutting down innocent you are still creating waste by using
Recycled Paper treesv them, not to mention consuming
Towels recycled paper that could be used
elsewhere. Why not just use a nor- !
mal towel?
The delicious taste of the Maine Disposable water bottles are still a
wilderness and 30% less plastic in huge waste. Besides,, “spring water”
Eco Water Bottle a landfill. is still just tap water. Buy a Nalgene
and fill it from the sink instead! !
These bulbs use less energy and last Because they have mercury in them
Fluorescent Light longer, saving you coin there is no convenient way to re-
Bulbs cycle them
Kill the germs with products that It’s hard to differentiate the legiti-
Green Cleaning are all-natural, non-toxic, biode- mate green cleaners from the fak-
Products gradable and somehow still neon ers. Make sure to check the labels.
green. !

real environmental ideas such as sustainability not taking advantage of our desire to be slim- mental legislation and environmental activism
and low environmental impact. The most infuri- mer or to save money; rather, it is taking advan- are not necessary. Prominent U.S. leaders who
ating greenwashing takes place with the tacit ap- tage of our moral desire to do what’s right. It’s seek to downplay the consequences of global
proval of government regulators. For instance, analogous to a business that pretends it is chari- warming as well as business interests that are
the Department of Agriculture classifies food as table or altruistic just to sell you their product. opposed to environmental regulation have ad-
“USDA organic” even if it contains inorganic in- Imagine if it turned out the company Newman’s opted this argument wholeheartedly, citing
gredients and is produced with artificial fertiliz- Own didn’t actually donate their profits to char- such meager changes as the “market solution”
ers and pesticides. Lately it seems any reduction ity, they just said they did in order to sell more approach to global warming. They argue that if
environmental damage, however insignificant, is product. That is the model behind a lot of these people want green products enough, the busi-
cause enough to label a product “green.” faux-green products. ness community will eventually adapt and give
Some companies greenwash by bragging Greenwashing isn’t just a dirty trick; it’s also a it to them. Of course, this is not the case, as the
about accomplishments that are downright dangerous weapon for those who oppose mean- rising incidence of greenwashing proves. Yet
commonplace. Barbasol shaving cream proudly ingful action on global warming. The concept this argument was born from explosion of green
bears the label “no CFCs” despite the fact that that buying a different kind of Windex or a 48” products in the mid 2000s. The idea of market
CFCs were outlawed 31 years ago. Perhaps the TV that includes some recycled plastic somehow solutions to global warming has spread widely,
most egregious example of large-scale green- helps the environment in any kind of significant appearing in magazines like Forbes and Roll-
washing was the decision by British Petroleum, way is just plain wrong. Global warming can’t ing Stone, on cable news shows, and even on
a giant of the oil industry, to legally change its be solved by making slightly better consumer the floor of Congress itself. The central irony
name to Beyond Petroleum (and spend mil- choices. It’s a colossal problem that will require of greenwashing is that a formerly green cause is
lions of dollars on ads to tell the public about it). drastic action and likely very dramatic changes now being used by the political right and oppo-
Though BP made a $24 billion profit in 2008, the in the way we go about our daily lives. Green- nents of climate change action to oppose envi-
company is now shutting down its alternative washed products perpetuate the plainly foolish ronmental legislation and regulation. Tragically,
energy division. idea that consumers are solving the climate cri- greenwashing has perverted the environmental
Corporate dishonesty is not a new phenom- sis just by spending an extra 50 cents here and movement into a weapon against itself.
enon. Companies have been engaging in this there.
kind of deception for years. Candy bars that This misunderstanding may actually be a
proclaim 50% LESS FAT (than some other candy significant barrier to stopping global warming.
bar) and car dealerships that announce “$3000 Because many people don’t realize that the vast
cash back!” (on the more expensive fully load- majority of greenwashed products don’t really Alex

ed option) are nothing new. But greenwashing have any significant impact, there is a very real freshman

is a particularly insidious lie. Greenwashing is risk that they will infer that large-scale environ- His

December Edition Washington University Political Review 41

Chasing the
out of the

Jake Laperruque

ealignment, dealignment, schisms, segmenting, building, rebuilding, the Obama administration is a plot to enact a socialist coup. Then there
changing. Modifications and transformations are part of the natural are the Tea Partiers. Spread across the country, these anti-government
evolution of political parties. But right now something unnatural is activists have been disrupting townhalls, marching on Washington, and
happening in U.S. politics. A new faction is on the rise: the Irrational Wing causing as much havoc as possible. This “Project Mayhem” styled activism
of the Republican Party. Founded out of fear and fueled by loathing, this has been raising eyebrows as it went beyond the socialism accusation and
group threatens not just to consume the GOP, but also to bring the country took comfort in equating Barack Obama with Hitler and the Holocaust.
down with it. The issue with these rogue elements is not that they exist; every political
The signs of a right-wing uprising are not sparse or isolated incidents. group has its extremists, and the conservative crazies are no worse than
They have been occurring with increasing frequency since the start of the the loony liberals. The problem is that these fringe elements no longer
Obama presidency. This has been seen to the largest degree in two arenas: occupy the fringe. According to polling, Rush Limbaugh – who earlier
the growing outrage of vocal conservative commentators and the Tea Party this year called for the reintroduction of segregated busing – is viewed
Movement. The most popular and powerful commentators are a mix of more than anyone else as the leader of the Republican Party. Glenn Beck
new and old: Rush Limbaugh, the foaming-at-the-mouth radio host who - who has claimed that President Obama is a racist and has a deep-seated
has been a powerhouse conservative voice for decades but now seems to hatred of white people yet at the same time does not dislike white people
be in the spotlight more than ever before; and Glenn Beck, the twitchy – orchestrated the massive September 12 protests on Washington that are
conspiracy-fearing Fox commentator who recently burst into prominence widely revered by the Tea Partiers and conservatives as a whole. Both have
with his blubbering love of all things he finds good and American and an contended that the health care reform plan is a secret scheme by Obama to
unmatched suspicion of everything that doesn’t fit with his beliefs. Both enact reparations. The Tea Parties have also received growing widespread
hosts have made a habit of declaring that every policy of the Democrats and support from the Republican Party. Dick Army, the former House major-

42 Washington University Political Review December Edition

ity leader, created to spread the death panel myth the tea bagger joke.) But the primary culprits are the political parties.
regarding health care. Representative Michelle Bachman recently spoke at Republicans, desperate to end their losing streak, are unwilling to start a
a Tea Party rally at the Capitol while proudly standing under a giant ban- civil war to banish the Irrational Wing and have begun to cede territory to
ner showing Holocaust victims at Danchau that read “National Socialist candidates like Hoffman. Democrats – notably the Obama Administra-
Healthcare.” tion, which began the “Limbaugh is the Leader of GOP” storyline – have
These repulsive acts of irrational anger are not just forming a strong also allowed the rise of the Irrationals, who they believe will have more
base, but are taking control of the Republican Party. Republican leader- trouble appealing to average Americans and thus will be easier to defeat
ship has done practically nothing to condemn the nature of the conserva- come election time.
tive commentators and Tea Party protests, nor distance itself from their But political motives aside, the descent into Glenn Beck- and Rush Lin-
anger and illogical argument. At the same time, the presence—even prev- baugh-induced chaos is bad for Democrats, bad for Republicans, and bad
alence—of this wing is beginning to manifest itself in elections. This was for the country as a whole. Discourse and meaningful debate are the foun-
recently seen in the special election in NY-23, where Conservative candi- dation of democracy, and the Irrationals are an abomination of it. Demo-
date Doug Hoffman pushed the moderate Republican candidate out of the crats need an opposition that keeps them honest and moderates policy by
race, only to lose to the Democrat. And Hoffman won’t be the last to run. producing their own ideas and alternatives. Spreading rumors of death
Tea Party candidates are popping up all over the country. In Florida proud panels and placing labels of “socialist” and “Nazi” on legislation does not
Tea Partier Patricia Sullivan is challenging Alan Grayson, the Democrat accomplish this, and it does not help the country.
who declared the Republican health care plan to be “don’t get sick” and if Politics is too often just about competition. Win at any cost, win no
you do “die quickly.” Growing in strength and getting louder all the time, matter what, win any way you can, win win win. But government is too
this irrational wing of the Republican Party is hoping to use the midterm important for victory for victory’s sake. This is about more than voter mar-
elections to turn their Tea Party into a riot. gins and midterms; it is about the future of American discourse. Ameri-
The question remains: Why is this faction gaining so much prominence? cans of all political affiliations need a Republican Party that is rational,
The thumping the Republicans received in the 2008 elections left them reasonable and proactive. It’s time for Democrats and Republicans alike to
leaderless and unsure of their future, creating a power vacuum for the Ir- step up and demand it.
rational Wing to fill. Obama’s victory pushed these rouge elements into a
frenzy, causing them to frantically force themselves to the forefront of the
national debate as they feared that the doomsday clock was suddenly sec-
onds from midnight. As Bill Clinton recently stated, “The Tea baggers are Jake

so enflamed because we’re winning.” (Yes, that’s right, Bill Clinton made and

Art by Christopher Hohl. His email is

December Edition Washington University Political Review 43

SAMURAI Puzzle provided by

Use digits 1 through 9 to fill in the grid.
Each row and column within a 9x9 box as
well as all 3x3 grids should contain only
one of each digit. The five boxes cannot
be solved independently of each other.


Congratulations! You Are:

7-11 Points: You do not believe the world will actually end in 2012. You have somehow managed to convince yourself that life will con-
tinue on as normal for years and years. You ignore the warnings of Nostradamus, the Mayans, and other prophetic religions and civilizations,
which all predict the end of the world in 2012. You’re probably that same moron who believed that Y2K wasn’t a serious threat and that the
moon landing was actually real. So, so naive...

12-16 Points: You have seen Apocalypto and understand that the Mayan prophecy will undoubtedly come true. You will make the most
of your time leading up to December 21, 2012, but realize that it’s utterly irrelevant…The God that the Mayans mistook Columbus for will rise
in the East and take the rest of the world down with him (that God may well turn out to be Mel Gibson).

17-21 Points: You believe that Obama’s socialist agenda will destroy the world, one tax increase and wasteful government program at
a time. That anti-American, arugula-eating joke of a president is plotting something… you just know it. Talking to schoolchildren, showing
respect to other world leaders…it’s not that Obama is just un-presidential, he’s un-American (Muslim?). You will do whatever it takes to help
prevent that Commie from destroying Earth, but you realize the sad reality that regardless of what action you take, he has probably already
caused enough harm to destroy the world by 2012.

22-25 Points: Aliens!!! They’re attacking. You’ve seen the movies. You’ve read the books. They’ve already invaded, and the government has
covered it up. You suspect at least two of the Political Review writers of being aliens, and there are probably many more you haven’t discovered
yet. Soon the rest of the world will know the pain and suffering caused by an alien invasion, but by then it will be too late….

26-35 Points: You’re just some teenage girl who really likes Twilight. We tried to get you to participate in the actual topic of this quiz,
but all you want to do is go on and on about Taylor Lautner’s rock-hard abs. The idea that this cesspool on a screen is considered to be view-
able by human eyes is indication enough of the impending apocalypse. Although you don’t realize it, the millions of combined dollars your
demographic gives to the Twilight franchise is fueling an occult group dedicated to the destruction of the world. Congratulations, teenage girls
who wear black and “aren’t understood by anyone.” We hope you are happy.

December Edition Washington University Political Review 44

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Artwork by Carter Malouf

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