Political Review

Volume 14, Issue 1, January 2011

Washington University


re! rt he a

...ever wonder where you should live?
WUPR brings you the answer.
yes china

do you find yourself building 3000 mile walls to keep out your neighbors? no is roger federer your greatest export? yes switzerland do you consider soccer riots a form of political expression? united kingdom no yes no

do you trust your drug dealer with handling political office? no yes


do you enjoy yielding to cows on highways? no



do you find yourself often raising your left and right arms over your head?

you find yourself attaching concepts like freedom and liberty to your breakfast foods


is yeonpyoeng island is the most important place in the world to you?

france u.s.a.


no no


does your house have reliable electricity and running water? yes south korea no north korea

still don’t know what country fits you best? yes spend 2011 trying to move to the moon

Quiz by Seth Einbinder. He is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at einbinders@wustl.edu.

Table of Contents
The Year to Come
Pledge to America: Politics over Problems? Jake Lichtenfeld Game Changers: People to Watch in 2011 Joshua Jacobs The Future’s Bright: Why 2011 May Be Obama’s Best Year Kevin Kieselbach Top 5 Political Moments of 2010 Nick Wilbar



Our Future Freedoms Will Dobbs-Allsopp A New Map for a New Decade Nicolas Hinsch The Rubio Factor Steven Perlberg



Belligerent Benjamin Joshua Truppman The Wal-Mart Way Anna Applebaum Disarming the Ticking Chávez Bomb Lennox Mark Putin 1, Khodorkovsky 0 Taka Yamaguchi The BRICs in 2011 Peter Birke Turmoil in India Siddharth Krishnan



28 30


20 10
Unfit for Spin: Tragedy in Tuscon Nick Wilbar Feeding Frenzy Andrew Luskin No-ko on Loko Michael Cohen Hot or Not Alex Kaufman



12 14 15

34 36

Staff List
Board of Advisors
Professor Asad Ahmed Representative Don Calloway Dean Ewan Harrison Robin Hattori Professor Bill Lowry Professor Andrew Rehfeld

Web Designers
Will Johnson Marissa Suh

Front Cover Illustration
Chris Hohl

Gavin Frisch

Back Cover Illustration
Kelsey Eng

Josh Truppman Nick Wilbar

Staff Writers
Katie Ayanian Rachel Braun Tripp Brockway Michael Cohen Mark Dally Will Dobbs-Allsopp Seth Einbinder Jay Evans Betal Ezaz Lauren Fine Ben-Parker Goos Jackie Gunn Alana Hauser Emily Hecker Eve Herold Nick Hinsch Josh Jacobs Alex Kaufman Kevin Kieselbach David Klayton Ben Lash Matthew Lauer Jake Lichtenfeld Andrew Luskin Lennox Mark Molly McGreggor Kirsten Miller Zach Moscowitz Alison Neuwirth Mariana Oliver Steven Perlberg Jannina Phi Dan Rebnord Daniel Rubin Ari Sunshine Alex Tolkin Brooke Yarrows

Editorial Illustrators
Anna Shafer-Skelton Laura Beckman Kelsey Brod Kelsey Eng Amelia Fawcett Christine Stavridis Stephanie Trimboli Audrey Westcott

Director of Design
Brittany Meyer

Layout Team
Laura Beckman Jacqueline Gunn Alana Hauser Katie Sadow

Staff Photographer
Matt Mitgang

Staff Assistant
Kate Gaertner Unless otherwise noted, all images are from MCT Campus. The Washington University Political Review is committed to encouraging and fostering awareness of political issues on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis. To do this, we shall remain dedicated to providing friendly and open avenues of discussion and debate both written and oral on the campus for any and all political ideas, regardless of the leanings of those ideas.

Staff Editors
Anna Applebaum Peter Birke Siddharth Krishnan

Art Coordinator
Kelsey Eng

Managing Copy Editor
John Moynihan

Copy Editors
Mark Dally Madeline Enright Puneet Kollipara Chris Weinstein


Director of New Media
Taka Yamaguchi

Director of Strategy & Development
Neel Desai

The holiday season brought both joy and sorrow to Americans this year. The tragic shooting of Rep. Giffords and nineteen others in Tucson briefly reminded the nation of the importance of coming together as one people, a unity quickly destroyed by the debates it spawned about gun control, mental health, and the vitriolic nature of political discourse in the United States. The results of the 2010 census and the midterm elections gave the nation even more to discuss, helping us determine how the country has changed, what it looks like today and the changes we can. expect as the next decade continues.



Our Future Freedoms
Will Dobbs-Allsopp
Looking back on this past year can be pretty depressing. The oil spill, intense partisanship, increased tension with other countries, and most recently the shooting in Tucson, have combined to give the decade a pretty somber start. 2010 did nothing to repudiate the claims that the United States is experiencing a decline similar to the fall of the Roman Empire. There is evidence to back up this sentiment. In mid-December, New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote about a video created by Swedish professor Hans Rosling that documents the growth of life expectancy and wealth in countries across the world from 1810 to 2009. Right after World War II the United States and the West topped the charts in both categories, leaving the rest of the world in the dust. However, over the course of the next 60 years, things improved elsewhere. Today, nations in Asia and Latin America are almost at the same levels of wealth and health as the Western world. Add to this the tremendous effects of globalization, near instantaneous communication and universal access, and at the very least the gap between the United States and the rest of the world must be shrinking. As Professor Rosling concludes, we are entering, “an entirely new, converging world.” This sounds like trouble for the United States. After all, we have spent the last century asserting our economic and military advantages to pursue foreign policy objectives. However, there is a way for the United States to remain at the top in this vision of the future, and it has nothing to do with defense budgets or fiscal spending. We must ensure that the foreign policies we enact stay true to the freedoms and liberties guaranteed by our founding documents. The reason is simple: in this future there is an increased need to deal with people, not merely governments. Consider that in Afghanistan, our closest allies come from the local populace, not the national government and that popular unrest in Iran serves as the lingering hope for a Persian democracy. Consider also, that with nothing more than a laptop and Internet access, one person can make public hundreds of thousands of State Department cables. These are the groups that are, even now, receiving the attention of our efforts because as globalization increases, so too will the powers ordinary people have at their fingertips. And while governments are notorious for compromising their principles, individuals tend

Illustration by Anna Shafer-Skelton

to be less pragmatic. The Pakistani government might be able to overlook the illegal detainment and torture of a citizen, but the son of an innocent victim will not. These are the kind of people that join the Taliban or remain indifferent to our efforts, but they are also the people upon whose shoulders rest the ultimate success of our foreign engagements. Especially in the wake of tragedies such as the recent Tucson shooting, it is only natural to undertake some action to ensure our future safety. But all too often our government implements these measures without concern for the cost, and the few individuals who stand up to caution are shouted down as unpatriotic and disloyal. However, the price we pay for things like the Patriot Act or holding detainees at Guantanamo Bay are our freedoms and liberties. If we do not constantly strive to stay true to our founding principles, we risk alienating our allies abroad. In the future we need to pay more attention to the choices we make in the name of safety, because a future is approaching in which we will need to live up to our own standards.
Will Dobbs-Allsopp is a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at willda19@gmail.com.



A New Map for a New Decade
Nicolas Hinsch
The first results from the 2010 census have arrived, and they have set in motion a power struggle that will define the political map for the next decade. Every ten years, the United States government conducts a census to count the U.S. population and collect demographic information. The results are then fed into various formulas to determine how political power and government dollars will be distributed. Most notably, these results determine how many seats are in the House of Representatives and, by extension, how many electors each state is allocated in the Electoral College. According to the new census data, the total population of the United States stands just shy of 309 million people, an increase of 9.7% from 281 million people ten years ago. But this growth was not spread equally across the country. While every state but Michigan saw population growth over the past decade, the rates of growth varied enormously – from an increase of .4% in Rhode Island to 35.1% percent in Nevada. The regional trends are clear: the Northeast and Midwest are not keeping pace with national growth as people flock to the South and West. Now that this new snapshot of the United States population has been taken, the Constitution requires that seats in the House of Representatives be reapportioned. The House of Representatives will still have exactly 435 members, but the members will be redistributed to reflect the new distribution of the population. States that have most rapidly gained in population will have as specified in the Reapportionment Act of 1929. The biggest winners this decade were Texas and Florida, with gains of 4 and 2 seats respectively. Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington all gained one seat. Note that all of these states are in the South or West, and that California did not gain a seat for the first time since its admission to the union. Meanwhile, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania each lost a seat; New York and Ohio each lost two. With the exception of Hurricane Katrina-ravaged Louisiana, all of these states are in the Northeast or Midwest. However, reapportionment is only the first half of the story. While the number of seats each state receives can be calculated with an objective mathematical formula, there is no simple way to determine exactly how congressional districts will be drawn within each state. According to the landmark 1964 Supreme Court decision Wesberry v. Sanders, the districts within each state must be equal in population. Since the distribution of population within each individual state shifts over the course of ten years, all states with more than one member in the House will need to redraw their district lines, even if they will have the same number of representatives. It is up to the individual

While the number of seats each state receives can be calculated with an objective mathematical formula, there is no simple way to determine exactly how congressional districts will be drawn within each state.
more representation at the expense of the slowergrowing states. The Constitution requires that every state be given at least one representative; the remaining 385 are distributed by the method of equal proportions



Redistricting changes in 2011

-1 +1 -1 +1 -1 +1 +1 -1

-2 -2
-1 -1


+9 -3 -5


+1 +1 -1

Republican-controlled in 2010 Democrat-controlled in 2010 Divided in 2010


Illustration by Nicolas Hinsch & Audrey Westcott

Redistricting is a complex process; and, while helpful, this map does not tell the whole story. The red and blue shading represents the partisan makeup of individual state legislatures. This alone, however, doesn’t necessarily indicate how redistricting will shake out. In addition to state legislatures, governors play a large role in determining how districts are drawn. Moreover, certain states, like Washington, have independent counsels that are responsible for overseeing the redistricting process. Needless to say, a lot is yet to be decided. states to decide how the district boundaries are drawn, and in most cases the task falls to the state legislature. State legislatures are partisan, and the majority party traditionally uses its power to draw a map that serves to maximize their political prospects. For example, if the Republican Party controlled redistricting in a given state, they could pursue a strategy of packing as many Democratic voters as possible into specific districts that the Democratic Party would win overwhelmingly. Then they would create a larger number of Republican districts that could be won by comfortable margins, but not so comfortable that extra Republican votes would be “wasted” on candidates that did not need them. This process of redistricting for political gain is known as “Gerrymandering” after one of its early practitioners, Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry, who signed into law a redistricting plan that created a salamander-shaped district. The procedure for passing a redistricting plan into law varies from state to state, but traditionally the plan is treated like any other bill, requiring passage by both houses of the bicameral state legislature and the signature of the governor. Therefore, the strong Republican performance in the recent midterm elections places the party in a strong position to control the redistricting process. Republicans have complete control over redistricting in 17 states, while Democrats have control in only six. Most of the remaining states have divided governments, which will require a compromise plan to be reached. If no compromise is reached, or if an accepted plan is found to violate state or federal law, courts can intervene in the process. Not only will the Republican state legislatures draw new districts for United States Representatives, but in many cases they will also draw their own districts for the next decade. This creates a cycle of self-sustaining, single-party dominance in state politics. The alternative to partisan redistricting is an independent commission that takes control of the process out of the hands of the state legislatures. For example, California voters passed Proposition 11 in 2008, creating a “California Citizens’ Redistricting Commission” to control state legislative redistricting. Two years later, they passed Proposition 20, which adds federal redistricting to the committee’s responsibilities. This makes California the sixth state to adopt such a system, and the only one to create a commission consisting of ordinary citizens. Because the Democratic Party previously controlled redistricting in California, moving towards non-partisan redistricting is expected to favor Republicans. California’s experiment in nonpartisan redistricting will be closely watched to see if it works as planned and whether it can be a model for other states. Regardless of whether states use the traditional method or a commission, there will be 44 redistricting dramas to watch closely in the coming year. Expect to see bargaining, backstabbing, and backroom deals contribute to the complicated and highly politicized process that is redistricting. 2011 will be the year in which the political map is drawn for the next decade. Get your popcorn ready for some quality theater.
Nicolas Hinsch is a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at nhinsch@wustl.edu.



The Rubio Factor
Steven Perlberg
He’s the darling of the Tea Party. He’s young and energetic. He’s handsome and articulate. He’s even been called the “Republican Obama.” At 39, Florida’s Marco Rubio is undoubtedly the most hyped freshman Senator of 2011. He is also one of many budding GOP upand-comers from a minority background. The son of two Cuban exiles, Rubio served as a Miami City Commissioner before arriving at the Florida State House where he was chosen Speaker in 2006. Though he began his Senate campaign trailing by double-digits to the popular incumbent Florida Governor Charlie Crist, Rubio eventually surpassed Crist in the Republican nomination polling. Crist then surrendered the nomination to run as an independent, losing many top fundraisers and GOP support in the process. Riding atop 2010’s bumptious Tea Party zeal, Rubio went on to trounce both Crist and Democratic challenger Kendrick Meek in the general election. Speculation about Rubio’s future erupted even before he served a day on Capitol Hill. On paper, he seems to be a perfect fit for an appearance on the 2012 ticket. Republican political strategist Mark McKinnon calls Rubio “a lock” for the Vice Presidential nomination, noting how he “checks all the right boxes.” Rubio is a fresh face with a firmly conservative voting record. He comes from working class roots, equipped with a riveting American story. He can appeal to both young voters and the conservative base. He also happens to come from the pivotal swing state of Florida. Rubio has a charmingly comfortable communication style. He is eloquent and charismatic, with a clear and optimistic message. He has been hailed as the future of the GOP—the one to unify the socially conservative and business wings. Most importantly, some conservatives believe that Rubio can guide the Latino electorate (which has now reached more than 45 million in the United States) towards the Republican Party. But Rubio has been relatively silent since winning the Senate



Illustration by Stephanie Trimboli

seat, keeping a low profile and avoiding national interviews amid heavy anticipation. On the campaign trail, Rubio was adept at tiptoeing around the immigration issue. And while some eager Republicans are prophetically hawking him as the man to integrate the Hispanic electorate, Rubio’s conservative immigration stance does not mesh well with Latino voters. Rubio does not support granting any form of amnesty to illegal immigrants, he backed the controversial Arizona immigration law, and was firmly against the DREAM Act. But Rubio focused more on his personal American dream story than his stance on immigration. He demonstrated his political savvy by appealing to Hispanic voters on a more visceral level. Yet his 45% of the Latino vote in Florida is less impressive when compared to former Floridian Senator Mel Martinez, another Cuban Republican, who won 60% of the Hispanic vote in 2004. Rubio’s appeal to the Latino electorate has clearly been a bit overblown. His position on immigration indicates that Rubio is not quite the Hispanic unifier many conservatives have touted him to be. 2010 has been a breakthrough year for Republican candidates from minority backgrounds. Congressmen Tim Scott and Allen West became the first black House members from the Deep South since Reconstruction. New Mexico’s governor Susanna Martinez is the first Latina governor in U.S. history. Nikki Haley, whose parents were both born in India, is the first woman

But the GOP will have to put up or shut up on minority issues, and they may face a tough quandary in the next election, caught between the right-wing Tea Party that has taken a strong hold of the party’s conservative base and an expanding minority electorate.
governor of South Carolina. Obama’s 2008 election has effectively forced Republicans to adjust and seek out minority candidates. Among others, Marco Rubio represents this push to generate new GOP all-stars from ethnically diverse backgrounds. Bobby Jindal, an Indian-American and the Republican Governor of Louisiana, was slated as a GOP Presidential hopeful before his disastrous speech in response to Obama’s 2009 congressional address. After the historic 2008 election, the Republicans will be pressured to eschew placing two graying white men on future presidential tickets. But the GOP will have to put up or shut up on minority issues, and they may face a tough quandary in the next election, caught between the right-wing Tea Party that has taken a strong hold of the party’s conservative base and an expanding minority electorate. As Republicans try to expand their appeal, Democrats need to remind minority voters who truly fights for their interests. In all likelihood, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid expected that the DREAM Act would not pass, but bringing it to vote was a smart political maneuver to remind Hispanic voters that Republicans are drifting even further right on immigration. Obama, however, will have to tread lightly when going after Republicans for being too tough on immigration if he does not want to lose face on his own border enforcement policies. While Obama’s fervent opposition to the Arizona law may have won him favor in some border states, by 2012 the political fallout will be all but finished and won’t help the President in some of his more difficult regions. As for the Republicans, 2011 will certainly be an interesting year. How will the GOP adapt to a growing minority electorate while simultaneously placating their invigorated Tea Party base? Will Senator Marco Rubio budge on immigration or other minority issues? And come 2012, will the auspicious Rubio meet expectations and be a crucial part of this reconciliation?
Steven Perlberg is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at stevenperlberg@gmail.com.



“So will the Arizona massacre make our discourse less toxic? It’s really up to G.O.P. leaders. Will they accept the reality of what’s happening to America, and take a stand against eliminationist rhetoric? Or will they try to dismiss the massacre as the mere act of a deranged individual, and go on as before?” – Paul Krugman, New York Times

“Palin’s now-famous offense was her tweet last March telling conservatives: ‘Don’t Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!’ The tweet referred people to her Facebook ‘target’ map showing the districts of Gabrielle Giffords and other House Democrats in a rifle’s cross hairs.” – Dana Milbank, Washington Post

“It was the anti-government, pro-gun, xenophobic populism that flourishes in the dry and angry climate of Arizona. Extremist shouters didn’t program Loughner, in some mechanistic way, to shoot Gabrielle Giffords. But the Tea Party movement did make it appreciably more likely that a disturbed person like Loughner would react, would be able to react, and would not be prevented from reacting, in the crazy way he did.” – Jacob Weisberg, Slate

To be simple: words are powerful things. They are meaningful and meant to be afforded some degree of respect. We are told to use our words, choose our words wisely, and never mince our words. But at times, words simply aren’t enough. For most of us, January 8th seemed like one of those times. The moniker “tragedy” was applied, but it didn’t seem to be sufficient. Six died. Thirteen others—including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords—



Nick Wilbar

were wounded. As may well have been expected, the nation’s pundits took the facts and created a story. Words didn’t seem to be enough, but unsurprisingly, there were those that tried. The quotes strewn throughout these pages are the fruits of their labor. Some are inflammatory, others aren’t. They are all attempts at understanding and articulating the tragedy that took place in Tucson.

“People have been having a hard time holding two ideas in their head at the same time: 1. What Paul Krugman calls “eliminationist rhetoric” is bad. 2. Contrary to his suggestion, there is no evidence that such rhetoric caused Saturday’s events. Even if such evidence is later found, it would not justify the evidence-free claims that have been made…” – Brendan Nyhan, Brendan-Nyhan.com

“While I’ve decried the poisonous atmosphere of some of the Tea Party rallies and the shout-fests at some town hall meetings, I’m not overly concerned about the yahoos who hold up ‘We came unarmed (this time)’ signs at rallies. I honestly think that they’re mostly decent citizens, frustrated with their government, and emboldened in their speech by the safety of a likeminded mob. While not exactly helpful in persuading those who disagree with them as to the wisdom of their position, it’s just false bravado and cathartic venting.” – James Joyner, outsidethebeltway.com

“For those still attacking Sarah Palin for daring to use the word ‘targets’ and maps against Democrats, including Gabrielle Giffords, please note that the DLC and DCCC, the D is for ‘Democratic’, also had maps with targets in earlier years. Likewise Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos targeted Gabrielle Giffords himself. The self-serving attack over the use of maps and the word “target” is both dumb and hypocritical.” – Erik Erickson, redstate.com
Nick Wilbar is a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at nick.wilbar@gmail.com.



Andrew Luskin
Barack Obama needed twelve stitches after being elbowed in the face during a basketball game with friends. The man who elbowed Obama called him a “good sport” and didn’t apologize. This incident is the clearest sign yet that Obama suffers from a “Terror Gap”: Obama doesn’t even get a “my bad” from someone who busted his face open, but Dick Cheney was able to shoot another man in the face and get him to apologize for being in the way. In Arizona, 22-year-old Jared Loughner opened fire at an event for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, wounding Giffords and nineteen others, six fatally. Pundits blamed the tragedy on the politically-charged atmosphere, which was, of course, the other side’s fault. Sarah Palin was singled out for criticism because of a map she released before the 2010 election, which showed vulnerable Democrat-held districts, including Giffords’, under crosshairs. Blaming Palin makes sense, if you believe that she gave the shooter his paranoid schizophrenia—though Palin may have delusions of persecution, it is a stretch to say that she is a cause of them. A college dropout, Loughner was forced to leave school after several altercations with the police and bizarre, disruptive behavior in the classroom. Of course, his delusions— vague declarations of genocide or of a tyrannical government takeover— didn’t raise alarms because they were indistinguishable from standard campus dialogue. In the wake of the Giffords shooting, the far-right blogosphere was quick to declare that the massacre was apolitical, the actions of the proverbial “lone nut.” This became clear to them as soon as it was revealed that the shooter was not Muslim. President Obama visited India in December. His return flight was delayed when he was caught trying to smuggle back 20,000 jobs in his socks. Sarah Palin brought cookies to an elementaryschool classroom to mock Michelle Obama’s attempts to encourage healthy eating habits. Not wanting to seem unfair to the Obamas, Palin proceeded to undermine the efforts of previous First Ladies, burning books to undermine Laura Bush’s pro-reading campaigns and destabilizing the Balkans to make fun of Hillary Clinton. The TSA has implemented controversial new screening procedures that subject travelers to fullbody scans that display a nudified image of the person. As an alternative to the scan, travelers may choose to undergo an ultra-invasive pat-down that amounts to an extended grope. There was a public outcry about perverted TSA agents getting off on the scans and pat-downs, but come on, America: have you looked in the mirror lately? Don’t flatter yourself. Besides, the pat-downs are easy to integrate with the new healthcare plan; travelers can be alerted of any lumps. Out of journalistic duty, I decided to investigate the matter firsthand, subjecting myself to the new pat-down. I felt violated, and I decided to go through security three more times before my flight. North Korea shelled a South Korean military base, killing two and wounding twenty more. A tense month followed, speckled with threats of war from both sides. Strangely, North Korea was the one to break the tension, asking South Korea to open up trade. The conflict is simple—North Korea is the boy that pulls on the girl’s ponytail because he likes her.





will cause national

ANTIGAY ACTIVIST caught on tape a

controversy when it passes a new state law that overtly discriminates against MINORITY GROU


will be -ing



. He will

P. The man who

deny that he is gay at a press conference with his wife, SHIRLEY,

introduced the law, a state senator named DOG J. YOUR ST

, will

standing awkwardly at his side, looking like she hasn’t been touched since HISTORICAL EVENT .

claim that the measure was necessary to “keep those damn L-BODY PA from taking over.”
PrEDicTioNS for 2011
Bristol Palin will once again become engaged, then de-engaged, to Levi Johnston, after she once again becomes pregnant with his baby. Palin will continue to star in abstinence campaigns, using the slogan, “Abstinence: third time’s the charm!” In shocking defiance of her mother, Bristol will give her child a normal name. Glenn Beck will be challenged by a dynamic young Fox News anchor, a Blue-throated Macaw. The parrot will simply repeat “Hitler, Soros, Obama” and “SQUAW. Just asking questions!” Beck’s supremacy will be secured, however, when he turns on the bird, pointing out that it is native to Bolivia, which is in South America, just like Venezuela, which is ruled by Hugo Chavez. Other conservative commentators will rally behind Beck. “It’s on the endangered species list,” Rush Limbaugh will say. “Just another smallheaded, big-government welfare queen, living off hardworking taxpayers like you and me…” As the year goes on, the race for the Republican presidential nomination will turn into a slugfest. The candidates will race to align themselves with the Tea Party, causing former Massachusetts Governor


Mitt Romney to make an embarrassing gaffe when he shows up to a photo op dressed as the Mad Hatter. Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s campaign will start off slow, but his stock will skyrocket after several former assistants, campaign workers, and massage therapists accuse him of having an affair. Just like the last few times, nobody will care about Ron Paul. John McCain’s family, embarrassed by his increasingly erratic behavior and his inability to recall past positions, will finally put him in a nursing home. After nine days in captivity, McCain will escape with the help of a Vietnamese nurse, evading authorities for two weeks in a nationwide manhunt. Tragically, McCain will be found dead in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, having choked on Snooki’s vomit. Republicans will fix the federal budget deficit by using appropriations bills, not the actual federal budget, to spend money. Democrats will be humiliated by this principled display of fiscal conservatism. Thousands of lives will be spared in Northern Mexico when drug lords declare a 3-month siesta to hostilities.

In February, an IBM computer named Watson will compete against humans on Jeopardy! The machine will dominate the competition and then will become self-aware, turning on its human masters. Mankind will be saved when Alex Trebek, bloody and battered, cries out, “Final Jeopardy: what is one divided by zero?,” causing the robot’s head to explode. Facebook founder and owner Mark Zuckerberg will announce the beginning of “Phase Two,” which, he will tout, “compliments the modern lifestyle.” New software will ensure that computer webcams will be on at all times, “so that no moment is ever lost.” “Tagging” will be done by shooting friends with a tranquilizer dart and attaching a device to their ear. Pale and trembling, Jesse Eisenberg will announce his retirement from acting before he mysteriously disappears a day later. “What are you going to do?” Zuckerberg will jeer. “Use MySpace?”

Andrew Luskin is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences. His mind is so sharp they won’t let him take it on a plane. He can be reached at andrewluskin@go.wustl.edu.



No-ko on Loko
Michael Cohen
In mid-November of 2010, an uproar erupted across the country. No, it wasn’t a reaction to the nation’s unremitting hyper-partisanship, reaching its peak during the midterm elections. No, it wasn’t the worldwide concern that the European debt crisis had spread to both Portugal and Ireland. The cause of the uproar, heard from Cambridge, MA to Palo Alto, CA to Clayton, MO, was the termination of all Four Loko sales in the United States. Chicago-based Phusion Projects “voluntarily” discontinued its fruity, caffeinated, alcoholic drinks after growing pressure from the Food and Drug Administration to shut down or be shut down (just the production of the Four Loko line of drinks would be shut down). Just a day before the FDA was expected to follow through on earlier threats to make Four Loko illegal, Phusion decided against carrying out a long and expensive legal battle and withdrew the product. Not to extinguish Four Loko’s popularity any further, Phusion immediately announced a new version without caffeine, taurine or guarana — three of the original four main ingredients (the fourth being alcohol). So was the government right to ban every college student’s favorite drink? A 2008 study conducted at Wake Forest University found that “almost one-quarter of college student current drinkers reported mixing alcohol with energy drinks,” a number that is almost certainly higher with the advent of Four Loko on the national scale. Those students were found “at increased risk for alcohol-related consequences… including being taken advantage of sexually, taking advantage of another sexually, riding with an intoxicated driver, being physically hurt or injured, and requiring medical treatment.” A 2009 study conducted by the University of Floridaconcluded“thatpatronswhohadconsumed alcohol mixed with energy drinks were at a 3-fold increased risk of leaving a bar highly intoxicated, as well as a 4-fold increased risk of intending to drive upon leaving the bar district, compared to other drinking patrons who did not consume alcoholic beverages mixed with energy drinks.” Leaving the bar highly intoxicated is hardly a deterrent for would-be drinkers of Four Loko in the first place. However, consequences that might require medical treatment would hopefully register at some point in the minds of such drinkers. Calls to ban the drink came after a collection of deaths linked to Four Loko. Most frightening among them were a 21 year-old woman who drove her truck into a telephone poll and a 20 year-old man who, after three Four Lokos, shot himself in the head. However, caffeine is legal and so is alcohol. It isn’t at all challenging to acquire the few ingredients needed to make a Four Loko. In fact, a simple Google search comes back with multiple recipes. Should

Illustration by Laura Beckman

the government have the right to ban convenience? One would be hard-pressed to find another instance where combining two legal products would render the mixture illegal. The banning of Four Loko is especially questionable considering that there is no shortage of harmful legal products, most notably tobacco and non-caffeinated alcohol. The FDA would have been better served to treat Four Loko as they treat cigarettes. Mandating a prominently placed warning label on each can would certainly have sufficed. The FDA responded to many Americans’ concerns by banning Four Loko. And that’s its job. Yet, the demand for caffeinated alcohol hasn’t disappeared. Craiglist.com has become a forum for the Four Loko black market. During the first week of January, three women in New Jersey were arrested for selling the apparently still popular drink without an alcohol license, one of many similar arrests across the country. The FDA’s mission is to “protect the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of… our nation’s food supply.” 1500 calorie fast food meals probably aren’t safe, but the government lets us make that decision. Likewise, the FDA could have avoided a lot of controversy by just regulating Four Lokos.
Michael Cohen is a freshman in the Olin School of Business. He can be reached at cohenmj@wustl.edu.



The Cheezburger Network, the publisher that spawned Lolcats, FAIL blog, and other internet memes received a $30 million investment from a consortium of investment groups. It would seem that they have the business of creating “the next big thing” down to a science. Of course, such an investment inevitably raises the question of just how many grammatically incorrect t-shirts the company can actually sell.

Alex Kaufman’s

Lol cats

Are the target of Julian Assange’s next barrage of incriminating evidence. The controversial founder of Wikileaks threatened to reveal the names and finances of thousands of wealthy people and businesses who have been avoiding taxes. His threat to reveal the Swiss account holdings of several prominent politicians has them on their toes.

Fat cats

Cannot avoid the spotlight even when she wants to. She once again thrust herself into the national headlines by invoking the term “blood libel,” a phrase laden with anti-Semitic connotations, during a commentary on the Tucson shootings. Yet as she has proved time and time again, any publicity is good publicity. With this last round of exposure, she has reignited intense speculation about her possible run for the presidency in 2012.

Sarah Palin

Ben Huh, founder of the Cheezburger Network

No one is denying his assertion that “arrogance is not a crime.” But money laundering is, and that’s what he’s going to jail for. The former House majority leader will serve three years in the clink for crimes he says he didn’t commit. Though it’s a long shot, he hopes to appeal his case to the Supreme Court, where he believes the judges will be more sympathetic than those during his stint on Dancing With the Stars.

Tom DeLay

The NRA, paradoxically, has seen its membership on social media sites like Facebook increase in the wake of the Tucson shooting. Gun stores have also reported increased sales, including a meteoric rise by nearly 100% for the popular Glock handgun. Apparently, people are worried that gun control legislation will be passed in the wake of the tragic massacre and so are stocking up on weapons like Four Loko.
Tom DeLay


Announced that he will not run for office again. It seems the Democrat-turned-neocon finally exhausted his political capital even in his home state of Connecticut. The Democrats are thrilled at the prospect of finally getting a liberal senator into office; conservatives are excited too, about the possibility of getting a real conservative into office.

Joe Lieberman

Alex Kaufman is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at akaufman10@gmail.com.

According to the ancient Maya, there is only one more year left in the history of the world. Scoff at the prophecy, but it is undeniable that 2011 will be a remarkable year. With a divided U.S. government and a fickle populace, titanic clashes between public figures will be unavoidable. Rising stars Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Michele Bachmann will collide with powerful figures in the Obama administration as they continue to move to the top of the political spectrum. The country will anxiously await the fate of President Obama himself in the upcoming year. As he delves into the second half of his presidency, what will be the final word on ‘Change We Can Believe In’?


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As a result of divided government, gridlock will prevail over campaign promises, which provides no solutions to the fragile economy.
commission’s report received criticism from the left and right. Liberal Senator Bernie Sanders argued, “the deficit reduction plan is extremely disappointing and something that should be vigorously opposed by the American people.” The Tea Party contends that the recommendations violate its core principle of never raising taxes. Republicans have neglected their election promise to cut spending. They say that they can only cut $30 billion from the deficit in 2011, a 70% reduction from their “Pledge to America” campaign promise. Tea Party members are infuriated by this number and demand the party cut at least $100 billion. The Republican House is also attempting to cancel several of the Democrat’s 2010 accomplishments. The leading effort is the proposal of the “Repeal the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” despite Congressional Budget Office warnings that the repeal will raise the deficit by $230 billion. The House also plans to eliminate the Financial Regulation Law and the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate carbon emissions. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has already explicated that none of these motions will receive a vote in the Senate. Instead, the Senate delayed its first session and has been quietly rejecting all Republican proposals from the House while offering few solutions of their own. Deadlock leaves the American people victim to the rising prices of necessities this year. The American education system will continue to become less competitive unless a solution is developed immediately. And there is no set strategy in Afghanistan. But this partisanship leaves political backup offering no resolution to top or second tier problems.

Pledge to America: Politics over Problems?
Jake Lichtenfeld
Every January 1st, people pledge to improve their lives in the coming year. In 2011, the Republican Party created a de facto New Year’s Resolution called the “Pledge to America,” which stated that—if elected— they would cut government spending and create new jobs. Democrats made comparable assurances, appealing to the American people to keep them in power. In the end, Republicans overtook the House, but Democrats retained the Senate. As a result of divided government, gridlock will prevail, thereby failing to repair the fragile economy. While liberals and conservatives maintain different core ideologies, both understand that they must address jobs and the budget deficit. Currently, unemployment is hovering between 9% and 10% and the 2011 budget deficit is projected to be over $1 trillion. To resolve these crises, Republicans pledged not to raise taxes and the Democrats pledged to leave entitlements unchanged. The inability to compromise these goals is the one approach that will undoubtedly fail. In a rare instance, these two groups cooperated by passing a temporary tax cut for the wealthy, combined with an extension of unemployment benefits and the lowering of other taxes, ultimately costing $857 billion. This law will have a negative longterm impact on the deficit. Economists on all sides of the political spectrum agree that the bipartisan deal was the most expensive way to create only a few jobs. “There is probably no one on [the House] floor that likes this bill,” stated former Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer moments before the vote. President Obama disagreed by asserting, “the final product proves when we can put aside the partisanship and the political games, when we can put aside what’s good for some of us in favor of what’s good for all of us, we can get a lot done.” Obama neglects to mention that he was forced to compromise to prevent higher taxes for all starting on January 1, 2011. Under that condition, it’s likely that this compromise was a circumstantial abnormality rather than a break in the status quo. The tax cut deal was one of several initiatives that have contributed to the yearly budget deficit and the long-term debt. Over the past decade, Republicans and Democrats alike have spent money unaccountably. Now, both parties want to be fiscally responsible, but cannot agree on how to balance the budget. Bond-rating companies have warned that without a serious reduction of the deficit, the United States Treasury bond may lose its AAA bond rating within the decade, which would undoubtedly spark a bond market crash. The President appointed a deficit reduction commission to cut $4 trillion from the budget over the next ten years. The commission’s proposals included tax reform, some tax increases and discretionary and entitlement spending cuts. The

Jake Lichtenfeld is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at j.lichtenfeld@wustl.edu.

The Year to Come


Joshua Jacobs

Now that 2010 is finally over, we can put a lot of ugly politics behind us. No longer are Christine O’Donnell and the Tea Party drawing the full attention of the media. The new year gives us a break between the high-octane crossfire of electoral seasons, if only for a short time. Nonetheless, government continues and disagreements still exist. There will still be major political stories this year, and they will require the country to become accustomed to a new cast of characters. Here are some of the people that we are sure to see in 2011 as we prepare for the 2012 Presidential election, navigate our way through a splitparty government, and continue to live in a heavily political world:

John Andrew Boehner
Boehner is not a new face to the United States. First elected to the House of Representatives in 1991, he began his career as a maverick, taking on Democrats and Republicans alike, before helping Newt Gingrich in forming the Contract with America, which catapulted him to the top ranks of the Republican Party. With his promise to repeal health-care reform and take on the Democratic agendas of the White House and Senate leaders, we can be certain that he will be an outspoken figure in our government. While it is unlikely he will be able to push the entirety of his own agenda due to the split-party government, there is no doubt that Mr. Boehner will do his best to shake up the government, and stop Obama’s policies. The big question: Will Boehner effectively stop the United States government from functioning?

Mitt Romney
The process of predicting a President seems to begin earlier and earlier every four years. It is far too early now to name a definite front-runner in the Republican primary, but the primary campaigning will start in a few months. It seems at the moment to be a race between a number of former governors – Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, Sarah Palin of Alaska, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. While there are a number of other potential candidates, these are the names that are generating the most buzz. There are many reasons why Romney is so interesting. He has recently been shown as the most likely to be successful in both the primaries and the general election. Similarly, he has a record of being a more “liberal conservative” – while most other big-name Republicans are moving to the right, Romney solidifies his position as one of few Republicans who can draw from more independent, moderate voters. The big question: Will Romney be able to survive at a time when Republicans everywhere are flocking to the Tea Party?


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Illustrations by Audrey Westcott

Kathleen Sebelius
Long considered a powerful woman in the political world, former Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius has never held more influence over the nation than she does now. As the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Sebelius was a major player in the White House’s push to enact health-care reform. A vocal supporter of President Obama, Sebelius was known in Kansas for her bipartisan efforts. During this next year, and for as long as she remains Secretary of Health and Human Services, her main duty will be to oversee the implementation of the new health-care system. Because health-care is such an integral part of Obama’s plan for the country, his legacy, in many ways, rests in the hands of Kathleen Sebelius. The big question: Will Sebelius be able to preside over a smooth rollout of health-care reform, despite challenges from the right?

Michele Bachmann
Representative Bachmann began her third term in the House of Representatives this year. Seen by conservatives as a rising star, she has shown promise as a darling of the Tea Party movement, and was the founder of the House’s Tea Party Caucus in 2010. She made an abortive run for House Republican leadership at the beginning of the 112th Congress, but remains an active member of the House, introducing and supporting legislation on global currencies, gay marriage, and the repeal of financial reform. More interesting still, she holds a seat on a House committee overseeing intelligence agencies. She is a strong voice against Obama and even more liberal members of her own party, and her office recently confirmed she is considering running for president in 2012. The big question: Will Bachmann be able to live up to her hype and lead the conservative wing of her party, or will she be fated to remain a congressional back-bencher?

Reince Priebus
Reince Priebus is the newly elected chairman of the Republican National Committee, taking over the job from Michael Steele. As the new leader of the Republican Party, it is now his job to lead the GOP throughout the next five years. Priebus believes that the RNC is an integral piece of the Tea Party movement, and finds the Republican platform to be fundamentally pro-life and anti-stimulus. He believes strongly in the Christian God and has stated that he owns multiple guns. Reince Priebus is the man who will define the Republican Party throughout his tenure, and steer it through the next election cycle. The big question: Will Priebus be able to carry the GOP’s success in 2010 into 2012, all while bringing the party closer to his conservative ideals?

Joshua Jacobs is a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at j.jacobs@wustl.edu.

The Year to Come


The Future’s Bright: Why 2011 May Be Obama’s Best Year
Kevin Kieselbach
Republicans and Tea Partiers may have won in November, but December was President Obama’s month and it looks to be a bright new year. After Democrats lost the most House seats in a midterm election since 1938 and President Obama’s approval rating reached a low of 41 percent in October, the President scored three major legislative victories during the lame duck congress and his approval rating has rebounded to 50 percent at the start of 2011. Conservatives may have thought that their midterm victory would send President Obama a crippling blow and destroy his reelection chances, but Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both recovered from midterm defeats to win reelection. Even at its October low, President Obama’s approval rating was higher than Reagan’s and Clinton’s at this point in their presidencies. Both of these former presidents had to contend with a hostile congress to achieve their successes and if December is any guide, President Obama is ready to follow their footsteps. President Obama’s recent legislative successes have served as a demonstration of his ability to work with Republicans. The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” marks a long awaited victory for the president’s liberal base but, more significantly, it received enough Republican votes to pass the Senate with a 65-31 vote. After firmly opposing almost every aspect of the president’s agenda for the past two years, Republicans actually voted for a bill championed by liberals in the wake of their midterm victory. Maybe the Republicans let down their guard before they start gearing up for the 2012 election, but any sort of compromise is an improvement. Hopefully this will mark the beginning of the Republicans willingness to ease their hard line stance but, even if it is just an anomaly, it is exactly what

President Obama needed to convince his base that he has not forgotten them. The president also secured a victory when the Senate ratified the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia by a 71-26 vote. While past arms reductions treaties have typically not met much resistance, Republicans had seemed willing to filibuster the treaty due to ideological qualms over arms reduction and to make the president look weak on the international stage. Judging by the fact that the treaty passed, Republicans know better than to jeopardize U.S.-Russian relations. The most significant legislative accomplishment was the temporary extension of the Bush tax cuts, which included an 81-19 vote in the Senate. Both parties made concessions to reach the agreement. Democrats allowed the tax cut extension to apply to the top income earners and Republicans allowed an extension of unemployment insurance. A compromise on a tax issue is a major step forward in bipartisanship and helps to fulfill the president’s campaign promise to bring people together. Combine this with the fact that few people dislike having lower taxes and it is no surprise that President Obama’s approval rating has risen dramatically since its October low. Any resulting improvement to the economy is an added benefit. Some may object that the tax cuts are a Republican policy and the president is just taking credit. However, according to the Brookings Institution, Americans do not support tax cuts for the top income earners, a view which is consistent with the Democrats’ stance on the tax cuts. It is these tax cuts for the wealthy that are solely a Republican creation, and the president showed his commitment to bipartisanship by agreeing to them in order to get the package passed despite objections from his own party. President Obama’s move to the center and the adept credit claiming that followed is highly reminiscent of Bill Clinton’s strategy of triangulation that he adopted following the 1994 midterm losses. With the attempt at health care reform in the early 1990s making Clinton appear to be “just another liberal Democrat” and costing his party in the midterm elections, he reformulated his image by taking the middle route between the liberals of his party and the conservative incoming Republican congressional majority. By painting himself as the pragmatic moderate between the two extreme factions, he was able to gain great popularity. For instance, President Clinton used the 1996 welfare

The Year to Come
reform legislation to support his credentials as a moderate even though he reluctantly supported the bill, which was primarily promoted by the Republican Congress. When compromise was not reached, Clinton came out on top while Newt Gingrich and congressional Republicans took the fall. As an additional example, when a stalemate on the budget led to a government shutdown in 1995, it was the Republican Congress that took most of the blame. Thus Clinton won praise when compromises were reached and avoided blame when they were not. While President Obama has had trouble providing the public with a clear message during his first two years, we can expect him to follow Clinton’s strategy. It is important to note that a large part of President Obama’s problem the past two years has been that his party controlled both houses of Congress. Americans by-and-large do not hold favorable views of the government, which have been magnified by the economic downturn. With the difficulty of solving the nation’s problems and the Democrats in control of the presidency and Congress, it was inevitable that they would be taking heavy blame. Now that the Republicans control the House of Representatives, they cannot deny responsibility for what

Data taken from TheHill.com & McClatchy-Marist Poll, January 6-10, 2011, Margin of error: ± 3.3%.

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happens in government. President Obama will also have better opportunities to triangulate in a divided government. If the Republicans are willing to compromise, expect to see more agreements like the tax cut package. One issue that both parties want to address is reducing budget deficits over the long term. While each party has different views on how to do this, the common goal will at least lead to negotiations on the issue. If any agreements are reached, both parties will claim credit. President Obama will gain the most politically as he will come across as a pragmatic deal-maker who can navigate the field of ideologues to solve problems. However, there will definitely be conflicts between the President and House Republicans. The House of Representatives is awaiting a vote on a bill to repeal the recent health care reform legislation. This move is mainly a political ploy as the bill will die in the senate. Republicans plan on challenging the health care legislation by holding numerous hearings and attempting to withhold funding. Both of these could backfire and benefit President Obama. First, the president has expressed willingness to have the legislation amended to address Republican concerns. If Republicans attempt to shutdown reform outright, they will be misreading the populace. Although there are some people who are adamantly against any health care reform, most people agree that there is a need to reform the system to address rising costs and difficulty of obtaining coverage, especially for those who do not have employer-sponsored coverage. The main reason that people are weary about the health care legislation is that they are not sure if it will address their concerns or make them worse. By bringing up the issue, Republicans are giving Democrats a second chance to explain the legislation to the voters. This issue is a great opportunity for President Obama to triangulate by placing himself between the more liberal members of his base who still want a public option and the congressional Republicans who want to keep the status quo. The President has already claimed the middle ground by stating that he welcomes suggestions from Republicans. If Republicans continue to take a hard line and refuse to seriously negotiate, they will come across as bitter partisans and the President will benefit at the polls. Second, the economy is the number one issue for voters right now, so Republicans will be testing the patience of voters if they focus their attention on the health care legislation. Voters did not throw out the Democrats because of dissatisfaction over the health

care law. Rather voters felt that Congress did not do enough to boost the economy. The lengthy amount of time spent debating health care likely contributed to the feeling that Congress was not focused on the economy. If Republicans try to reopen the health care issue, it could lead to more extended policy battles and this time the Republicans would take the blame for diverting Congress’s attentions from the economy. Third, an attempt by House Republicans to kill health care reform by not funding it could lead to a budget battle. If the House refuses to appropriate funds for health care legislation in the budget, President Obama likely will veto it. If neither side is willing to yield, then a budget might not be reached. A budget battle between President Clinton and Congressional Republicans led to the government shutdown of 1995 and severely hurt the image of Newt Gingrich and the Congressional Republicans. According to a recent CNN poll, approximately threequarters of Americans would consider it either a “crisis” or “major problem” if a budget battle caused the government to shut down for a few weeks. In such a situation, President Obama could accuse the Republicans of playing political tricks for refusing to fund the legislation and would likely come out on top just like Clinton

did. However, much of the funding for the health care legislation is categorized as non-discretionary, so Republicans will be restricted in what funding they can withhold. Another item on the House agenda is to launch investigations into the Obama Administration. While this is an attempt to satisfy Tea Party activists and the Republican base, it could easily hurt the Republicans in the minds of moderates and independents. President Clinton’s approval ratings soared during his impeachment. Moderate voters are tired of partisan bickering and want to see results. If Republicans let their investigations become overly personal or confrontational, the public will likely increase their support for President Obama. Republicans may be calling Obama a one-term president, but his reelection chances are very much alive. Far from being a political deathblow for the president, the midterm losses have given President Obama just what he needed to reshape his image and retake the political center.

The Year to Come

Kevin Kieselbach is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at kevin.kieselbach@wustl.edu.

The Year to Come


2010 was a political year. With the midterms, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the struggling economy—how could it not be? In what was dubbed a “shellacking” by some, voters largely rebuked the Democrats in the midterm elections. At the same time, however, President Obama finally started looking at home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Combat troops were pulled out of Iraq, but the Commanderin-Chief softened a once-hard withdrawal date in Afghanistan. Far-reaching legislation was passed. Tea was served. In a year full of politics, some moments stood out against the rest. What follows is the best that 2010 had to offer.

Nick Wilbar

As far as nearly everyone was concerned, ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ had long outlived its welcome. Roughly sixty percent of Americans thought DADT had to go and, at long last, it did. After the Pentagon’s release of a much-anticipated internal study, ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ was deemed insignificant, if not harmful, to the readiness of the nation’s armed forces. Finally, in the last throes of an earth-shaking lame duck session, President Obama signed away the policy for good. After seventeen years, if asked, it’s okay to tell. As well it should be.

If Asked, Feel Free to Tell

The mere fact that President Obama signed the repeal of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ should come as no real surprise: he had listed it among his foremost policy goals from the very beginning. That he had the energy to muster up that one last swoop of the pen, however, is somewhat more startling. Indeed, both the President and the Legislature had a busy, perhaps even frantic, “lame duck” session. In addition to the repeal of DADT—and of similar importance—the Bush tax cuts were extended and the STAR Treaty was ratified. Clearly, “lame duck” is a misnomer.

The Lame Duck Walks (Runs?)


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It was the political theme that rocked the Bush presidency, so it only makes sense that its resolution—or at least apparent resolution—would make our top five. In mid-August, President Obama fulfilled his long-standing promise to bring our troops home. The summer withdrawal left roughly 50,000 American service members in Iraq, none of whom are presently operating under the auspices of “combat personnel.” But as the Washington Post aptly explained, “a rose by any other name is still a rose, and the differences in brigade structure and personnel are minimal.” American troops are still in harm’s way and their job is far from done. So has the United States’ mission in Iraq been fully accomplished? Probably not. Has the White House’s political mission in Iraq been successful? Maybe. Either way, the future of Iraq and its implications here at home are far from settled.

Mission Accomplished…?

When it comes to healthcare, commentators on both sides of the debate find themselves largely in agreement: the Affordable Care Act was comprehensively monumental. Like it or not, it was certainly a sweeping reform. Similarly undeniable is the reality that the passage of the Affordable Care Act did a lot more than simply alter the face of medicine and medical care in the United States. It quickly turned from “healthcare” to “Obamacare,” and with comparable alacrity added fuel to the Tea Party fire. What exactly will come of America’s healthcare system remains to be seen. Without question, however, the battle over healthcare and its subsequent political fallout were largely responsible for shaping the nation’s political life in 2010.

Healthcare Passes, ‘Obamacare’ is born

The Shellacking That Was

Nick Wilbar is a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at nick.wilbar@ gmail.com.

President Bush dubbed his party’s 2006 midterm defeat a “thumping.” Not to be outdone, President Obama—the master orator that he is—referred to the Democrats’ 2010 election debacle as a “shellacking.”And while Obama frequently catches criticism over his capacity to communicate with the public, he seems to have gotten this one right. A shellacking it was indeed. The GOP picked up 63 seats in the House and nearly won back a majority in the Senate as well. President Obama went from having to deal with a filibuster-prone Republican Party, to one that actually stands to out-vote the Democrats in the House. The basic structure of the two parties’ power has been irrefutably shaken up. With it, the stage has been set for 2011.

On the international front, a volatile mix of greed, corruption, and discourses on human rights has swept the globe. Though the most recent Wikileaks documents focused on the petty details of international diplomacy, real scandal erupted as India faced the biggest exposure of political corruption in the country’s history. Russia faced its own battles with political power, as the country continues to veer down the path to authoritarianism. And while Iran battled the world’s democracies for its nuclear program, Wal-Mart started a fight to bring its stores to the African market.



Belligerent Benjamin
Joshua Truppman
On January 11, 2001, Karl Vick of Time magazine strongly condemned the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, contending that his administration has enacted a far-reaching right-wing platform that effectively infringes on the rights of Israelis. This article has created a bit of an uproar. Journalists—such as Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post—have criticized it as being inaccurate and overly biased. Even Netanyahu’s senior advisor, Ron Dermer, issued a statement to Time magazine in which Netanyahu’s administration defended itself against such accusations. He argued, “Israel has upheld its democratic values despite being threatened like no country on earth,” and continued to pointedly claim, “I can assure you that no matter how biased and unbalanced your correspondents’ coverage of Israel, they will always be free here to write whatever they want.” All this debate begs the question: has Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration pushed the Israeli government dangerously to the right? Maybe. There is good reason to believe that Netanyahu’s government has fostered a culture of fear through an overly conservative agenda. This is particularly evident in his dealings with the Palestinian Authority. Simply put, he has been unwilling to compromise. Since 2009, he has adamantly defended Israel’s right to expand settlements and refused to support the creation of a Palestinian state. In November 2010, he passed a law requiring that any peace treaty with Palestinians be approved by either a 2/3 majority in the Israeli parliament or a public to observe a peace agreement in the long run. Unfortunately, he is wrong here in several ways. What occurred in Tunisia has absolutely no bearing on what might occur in the future should a Middle East peace treaty be reached. It is absurd to imply that unrest in Tunisia necessarily implies a similar set of events in Israel. In addition, Netanyahu is unjustified and hypocritical in categorically questioning the credibility of Palestinians—after all, Netanyahu has violated various U.N. and International treaties himself. Netanyahu’s policies are even more alarming in the context of Ehud Barak’s recent defection from the Labor Party. On January 17th, Barak officially resigned in order to form the Independence Party. Most pundits believe that this was a victory for Netanyahu and his coalition government. Although Netanyahu’s coalition government decreased from 74 to 66 seats out of a possible 120, it is viewed as a more stable coalition now that is no longer subject to defection of the Labor Party. Thus, Netanyahu’s government has a greater ability to enact its conservative policies now than it did only a week ago. Given Netanyahu’s track record, we have every reason to be worried.
Joshua Truppman is a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at jtruppman@wustl.edu

Has Benjamin Netanyahu’s government pushed the Israeli government dangerously to the right?
vote. In effect, the legislation vastly decreases the likelihood of the Israeli government’s reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority. More recently, he used the overthrow of the Tunisian government as an example of the difficulties facing a two-state solution. He argued, “the Tunisian unrest highlights an important issue regarding a possible Middle East peace treaty,” explaining that “there is doubt whether or not such an agreement would be followed by all sides in the long run in view of the pervasive political instability in the region.” Netanyahu’s meaning is clear: Palestinians cannot be trusted



The Wal-Mart Way
Anna Applebaum
Save money, live better. It is a simple enough slogan, this Wal-Mart mantra. Buy more with less; the more you buy, the better off you will be. More, and more, and more again – that’s the Wal-Mart way. After all, this chain of discount department and warehouse stores offers a large quantity of items at a low cost. The stores are the epitome of the supermarket concept, a one-stop shop for all products and needs. Sounds like a dream? Yes, but it sounds like a definitively American dream. What, then, will be the consequences of Wal-Mart’s recent entry into the African market with the impending acquisition of African chain Massmart? As one of the United States’ largest corporations, Wal-Mart has had a mixed relationship with the American public. Started by Sam Walton in 1962 as a local discount store in Arkansas, it rapidly expanded and within five years had twenty-four store locations. Exponential growth followed, and Wal-Mart currently has 8,962 stores worldwide. While the corporation has been praised as an undeniable success, it also has been criticized for destroying local businesses and for infamously low employment standards. A study by Professor Kenneth Stone at Iowa State University revealed that “some small towns can lose almost half of their retail trade within ten years of a Wal-Mart store opening.” In addition, Wal-Mart has become notorious for its anti-union stance and is currently involved in a lawsuit for allegedly discriminating against female employees in pay and promotions. Despite this fickle record, or perhaps because of it, Wal-Mart is now often regarded as a symbol America – whether or not the smiling face of the brand will be successful as a new incarnation of the smiling face of U.S. economic imperialism? Massmart Holdings, Ltd. is an established retail company based in South Africa. It has around 290 stores in 13 different African nations from Mozambique to Swaziland, according to CNN. Interestingly, while many of these stores are located in urban centers, there are a significant number placed in rural areas. The details of Massmart’s properties will therefore prove to be an interesting challenge for Wal-Mart as the $2 billion deal becomes a reality. These urban centers are familiar territory for Wal-Mart; they are the focus of the other countries where Wal-Mart has stores, from Brazil to Mexico to China. With a more prosperous consumer base comes an easier acceptance and awareness of stores like Wal-Mart. Yet rural African consumers are faced with a set of economic considerations that are entirely different from Wal-Mart’s comfortable U.S. base. Indeed, in a country like Swaziland the average annual income is less than $3,000. For many of these people, especially the rural constituency, the benign phrase “Save money. Live better” may not be accepted as such a persuasively comforting slogan. Instead, it may

Rural African consumers are faced with a set of economic considerations that are entirely different from Wal-Mart’s comfortable U.S. base.
of America. A small entrepreneur makes a good, goes national and global, provides needed jobs and efficient access to products all wrapped up in a nebulous shroud of moral dilemmas – a classic American story with all its glory and all its faults. With the introduction of Wal-Mart into the African market, however, it remains to be seen whether it will take on another meaning for



Will the smiling face of the brand be successful as a new incarnation of the smiling face of U.S. economic imperialism?
grate harshly against the realities of life for this population. Setting aside the moral question of sustainable local development as a method of comprehensive economic improvement, it is relevant to consider whether Wal-Mart’s business model can translate into success in Africa. For a corporation that has succeeded in replacing local communities with the promise of more and bigger, will this same image be attractive to those families barely earning enough for subsistence? There are already signs of trouble for WalMart. South Africa’s regulated labor market is highly unionized, and will not likely be a welcome recipient to the corporation. According to Business Week, the deputy president Tyotyo James of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), the country’s largest trade federation, vocally denounced Wal-Mart at a recent meeting. He decried that the company would not source goods and services locally, leading to a loss of South African jobs, and declared his intention to “will organise a mother of all boycotts against Massmart”. Similar protests in Brazil once posed a

serious threat to Wal-Mart’s sales in South America, and it remains to be seen how effective Cosatu can be at disrupting the corporation’s intentions. Overall, however, it may be that Wal-Mart can establish itself in Africa as a viable contender for the consumer market. India and China face similar problems with poverty (though they differ in the level of prosperity), yet the company has managed to do well in both countries. After

all, the Wal-Mart way is a highly attractive option. There is much to be said for affordable pricing and product variety—the combination of the two makes a very potent elixir indeed. This particular American dream just may realize grand global aspirations on the horizon.
Anna Applebaum is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences. She can be reached at a.applebaum@wustl.edu


blackouts. In February 2009, a referendum vote to end presidential term limits passed, allowing Chávez to run for reelection, making it all too possible for him to rule for life. In December 2010, amongst its last weeks in office before the newly elected assembly comes to power, the National Assembly granted Chávez the power to create new laws by means of decree. Such autocratic lawmaking undermines democratic legislation in Venezuela, aggrandizing power in the executive. In reality, Chávez is becoming more and more like a dictator and his political antagonism now poses a serious threat that reaches far beyond the borders of Venezuela. Sadly, the battle for democracy in Venezuela is merely the tip of the iceberg. In November 2009, Chávez openly applauded the acts of Carlos the Jackal, a Venezuelan extremist known to have terrorized various parts of Europe. Carlos the Jackal was described

In reality, Chávez is becoming more and more like a dictator and his political antagonism now poses a serious threat that reaches far beyond the borders of Venezuela.
in a speech given by Chávez as a “revolutionary fighter” for his acts of terrorism in the 1970s and 1980s. Not only was the Jackal a terrorist in his own right, but he also praised Osama Bin Laden and his efforts in coordinating September 11. Rather than abhorring the Jackal and his allies, Chávez is hoping to have him freed from his French prison and repatriated to Venezuela. In October 2010, Chávez publicly revealed that he has been pursuing a nuclear proliferation program for Venezuela, doing so under the instruction and guidance of Iran, a rogue state in the nuclear playground. This arrangement has been two years in the making, since Iranian and Venezuelan officials signed a secret “science and technology” compact outlining cooperation “in the field of nuclear technology” in November 2008. Nuclear cooperation with Iran, regardless of whether or not Chávez is seeking peaceful uses for his nuclear technology, is an illegal violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929, implemented to forestall Iran’s clandestine nuclear proliferation. Although all

Disarming the Ticking Chávez Bomb
Lennox Mark
Eventually, the sun must set on every great dynasty. The number one pedestal can only be occupied by the same nation for so long as competing states and internal dissension drive all polities into decline. History is marked by the rise and fall of great nations, and now, we have the United States. Who is rising to usurp our pedestal? China? India perhaps? It cannot be said for sure. However, one country that is often overlooked as a threat to American stability is sitting too close to home not to warrant the same attention as the big dogs of the Indo-Pacific. That country is Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela. Hugo Chávez may be Venezuela’s president, but he can hardly be called a democratic leader. He ascended to office by means of a landslide electoral victory (only after failing to take the seat of power by means of a military coup d’état), vowing to enact socialist policies in Venezuela. Under Chávez, the Venezuelan government has nationalized all of its oil companies and power plants and some of its wealthiest banks. While other South American countries enjoy flourishing economies, Venezuela’s market is shrinking at the hands of food shortages and high inflation rates. Citizens of Venezuela are currently suffering from both water shortages and reoccurring



countries are able to pursue peaceful nuclear energy programs, as promised in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to which Venezuela is a signatory, Chávez’s decision to pursue said technology with Iran raises a serious red flag. Chávez is blatant and unapologetic in his ongoing campaign against the United States. Repeatedly, he has referred to the United States as the “imperial empire” and, in an address before the U.N. General Assembly, Chávez declared that the room stank of sulphur because “the devil” had been there, speaking in reference to former President George Bush. Criminal testimonies from Walid MakledGarcia, an apprehended Venezuelan drug

trafficker, suggest that Chávez may have played a hand in smuggling illegal drugs into the United States. Most recently, Chávez rejected U.S. diplomat Larry Palmer to be ambassador to Venezuela, barring the American from entrance into the country, explicitly inciting the United States to reject his own ambassador if they dared. The United States responded in kind by withdrawing the visa of Bernardo Álvarez Herrera, Venezuela’s ambassador. Herein, we began the new year without a diplomatic envoy to this dangerous South American country. The current presidential administration cannot afford to ignore this potential threat when all signs point to both regional and global

instability at Venezuela’s hands. We understand that Hugo Chávez is entitled to lead his country in whatever direction he sees as most conducive to its prosperity. We understand that foreign policy is a balancing act of interests and compromises. However, in this juggling game, the Obama administration needs to take a closer look at the immediate threat posed by Hugo Chávez, and quickly, before the ball drops.

Lennox Mark is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at lennox. mark.ssea@gmail.com.



Illustration by Laura Beckman

Putin 1, Khodorkovsky 0
Taka Yamaguchi
When President Boris Yeltsin oversaw the founding the Russian Federation twenty years ago, aspiring Russian capitalists hoped to boldly launch the new country out of communist authoritarianism and into the proud ranks of free-market nations. Yet, this path has been fraught with danger. As the former Soviet Union’s industrial and commercial enterprises crumbled, aggressive entrepreneurs bought these vast holdings at extremely low prices. This frantic and poorly managed burst of privatization was hailed as capitalistic progress by some, but labeled an economic nightmare by others. Soon, a small number of Russian capitalists, known as the Oligarchs, controlled most of the Russian economy. As the head of YUKOS, a Russian energy company, Mikhail Khodorkovsky mastered the minefield of post-Soviet privatization on his way to becoming the wealthiest person in Russia with $15 billion in 2004. However, his financial prowess was not the only thing that got the attention of Vladimir Putin, Yeltsin’s successor. Here was a man barely in his forties, with substantial influence on the Russian economy, well known for his philanthropy and for the celebrity status that comes with extreme wealth. He was also politically active, funding several parties running against incumbent President Putin’s United Russia party, and purported to have planned to run for president in the 2004 Russian election. The emergence of this new challenger did not sit well with Putin. Neither did Khodorkovsky’s vocal views of Putin’s leadership. In 2003, he told The Times that in the Russian model of democracy:

It means that theoretically you have a free press, but in practice there is self-censorship. Theoretically you have courts; in practice the courts adopt decisions dictated from above. Theoretically there are civil rights enshrined in the constitution; in practice you are not able to exercise some of these rights. Soon thereafter, Mikhail Khodorkovsky was seized at gunpoint by masked FSB agents, arrested on charges of fraud and tax evasion, and sentenced to eight years of hard labor. YUKOS’ shares plummeted as a result. The Russian government then moved to quickly reestablish its firm grip over the majority of the Russian energy industry by seizing YUKOS and keeping some of the shares for itself, then selling the remainder of the artificially devalued shares to several corporations deemed more “trustworthy” (run by CEOs often labeled Kremlin cronies). The Russian government states that it did nothing illegal in its forceful takeover

and redistribution of YUKOS. Yet many at home and abroad criticized the judicial proceedings, which the US State Department called “selective” and “arbitrary” in 2003. Independent investigators found significant anomalies in the trial and the evidence presented, including the fact that the alleged tax bill his company had failed to pay was in fact larger than YUKOS’ entire income. That the Russian presidential election was months away only added to the suspicion that the trial was politically motivated. However, scrutiny by the United States and the European Union failed to materialize into anything more than words of disapproval. Unfortunately for Khodorkovsky, American President George W. Bush was then seeking to improve relations with his Russian counterpart, and the E.U. did not want to risk losing its primary natural gas importer. In 2010, when Khodorkovsky was due to be released the next year, further charges of money laundering were levied against the former Oligarch. Critics of now-Prime Minister Putin are keen to point out that his scheduled release would have made him free before the 2012 Presidential election, when Putin will once again be eligible to run for President. In December 2010, he was found guilty of stealing 218 billion tons of oil and laundering the profits, a charge many have called absurd. When the Russian Minister of Industry and Trade testified in Khodorkovsky’s defense that the supposedly stolen oil had never gone missing and was all accounted for, his words were somehow misconstrued to be proof of the theft. Members of both American and European governments have harshly criticized Russia’s apparent inability to grant Khodorkovsky a fair trial, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel stating that “political motives played a role” in the outcome. Meanwhile, Russian protestors tirelessly continue to demand justice for Khodorkovsky. On the other hand, Russian economist Sergei Guriev says that the trial has already served its purpose, which was “to show that Putin is fully in control...it is a question of other businessmen not following in Khodorkovsky’s footsteps.” By making an example of the former Oligarch, Putin sent a very clear message to Russian businesspeople: economic and political ambition that directly challenges his authority will not be tolerated. Harnessing the judicial system to his advantage, Putin was able to squash Khodorkovsky’s challenge to his authority. In one fell swoop, the Prime


Here was a man barely in his forties, with substantial influence on the Russian economy, well known for his philanthropy and for the celebrity status that comes with extreme wealth.
Minister minimized both a threat to his political power and removed an obstacle to the Russian government’s attempts to reestablish economic dominance. Putin’s forceful implementation of “state capitalism” in Russia draws comparisons to Chinese economic strategy. This authoritarianism will have serious consequences for Russia. Economic analysts, both Russian and foreign, have predicted that potential investors are likely to be hesitant to invest in such a hostile, restricted environment. If such authoritative measures continue, they will hinder Russian economic growth by scaring off muchneeded foreign investment. Furthermore, Russian entrepreneurs and their enterprises will always be wary of the fact that their property rights may be arbitrarily violated, as was the case with the Russian state’s dismantling of YUKOS by force. Though state-controlled industries have often

proved to be as productive as privately owned ones, it is hard not to invoke the specter of Soviet economic stagnation that resulted from similar policies. Putin’s heavy-handed dealing of Khodorkovsky has been effective at concentrating political and economic power in his own hands. Yet it stifles the precarious growth of Russian capitalism, to say nothing of the political, diplomatic, and humanitarian ramifications.
Taka Yamaguchi is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at tyamaguchi@wustl.edu



The BRICs in 2011
Peter Birke
Contemporary economists seem to come up with a new acronym every day. From PIGS to CEMENT, BEM to CIVETS, they have created an alphabet soup that would have made Franklin Roosevelt proud. None of the acronyms is better known than the BRICs. Created by a Goldman Sachs economist in 2001, BRICs is a term used to describe the world’s four largest emerging markets: Brazil, Russia, India, and China. By 2050, The BRICs are projected to have surpassed most, if not all, of the Western economic powers. 2011 will be another step in their blistering climb towards the global economic penthouse. Here’s a look at what the year has in store for the BRICs: Brazil The Economist recently called Brazil the most stable of the BRICs: “Unlike China and Russia it is a full-blooded democracy; unlike India it has no serious disputes with its neighbors.” The country recently demonstrated this stability with a bloodless transfer of power. On January 1, 2011, Dilma Rousseff was inaugurated as Brazil’s first female president after getting elected last October. Rousseff seeks to show that she is not merely a puppet of the outgoing President Luiz Inácio Lula de Silva, who handpicked her to succeed him as the Workers’ Party candidate. Her government’s biggest challenge in 2011 will be to try to slow the appreciation of Brazil’s currency, the Real, in order to preserve Brazil’s status as one of the top export markets in the world. Russia Russia has emerged as a gold BRICer of sorts, with its corrupt government threatening to undermine its status as one of the top emerging markets. The government is flooded with 878,000 bureaucrats, many of whom exchange government contracts for bribes. A recent estimate showed that government bureaucrats accepted bribes totaling more than 20% of Russia’s GDP. Furthermore, the Kafka-esque trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky exposed Russia’s judicial system as nothing more than a tool to silence critics of the government. On the bright side, the New START treaty, a nuclear arms reduction treaty, will bolster relations between Russia and the United States; Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told reporters on December 24 that the treaty is a “cornerstone” of global security. The Obama Administration hopes the goodwill from the two former rivals will translate to more cooperation on the issue of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. India India received a lot of diplomatic attention in 2010, with leaders from all five permanent member countries of the U.N. Security Council paying the country a visit. India will hold one of the rotating seats on the Security Council in 2011 and some world leaders have suggested it should be a permanent member of the Council itself. The proposal makes sense. India is a transparent democracy in a very unstable part of the world. Despite all of this fawning, India’s neighbor and eternal nemesis, Pakistan, appears to be devolving (if it has not already) into a failed state—which could lead to increased tensions between these two nuclear-capable countries. India will continue its blistering economic



growth in 2011, with its economic expansion (8.2% of GDP) nearly matching that of China’s (8.4%). However, India must strengthen its manufacturing sector to match its superb service economy. India’s infrastructure lags behind other BRIC countries in this area, which could hinder future growth. Time will tell if India can meet its promise to build 20 kilometers of road a day in 2011. China China will consolidate its status as the gem of the group. The world’s second largest economy will maintain the rapid growth that it has enjoyed for the past thirty years. China will look to expand its ever-increasing sphere of influence in 2011. China has spent billions to spur economic development and trade in Africa and Central Asia, filling in roles once held by the United States and Russia. China will also look to expand its influence by flexing its military might. China recently rolled out a new stealth plane and plans to send its first aircraft carrier to sea this year. With its drastically improved military technology, China could challenge the United States as a military power in the Pacific. China and the United States will both be faced with a decision of treating each other as rivals or partners in 2011. Both should pick the latter. While China’s manipulation of its currency, the Yuan, persists,

protectionist measures by the United States in response would merely lead to a tit-fortat tariff war that harms both economies. Tensions bubbled on the Korean peninsula in 2010—and could very well boil over in 2011. Neither China nor the United States want to get dragged into a war between North and South Korea and should work

together to make sure this doesn’t happen. The United States and China will come to realize that their interests are more aligned than they might have originally surmised.
Peter Birke is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at peter.e.birke@gmail.com.



Turmoil in India
Siddharth Krishnan
Scandal, Wikileaks Style
“India, the republic, is now on sale. Participating in the auction is a group of powerful individuals, corporate houses, lobbyists, bureaucrats and journalists.” India’s popular Outlook magazine does not mince its words. The words, however, are not the usual journalistic hyperbole. They capture the mood of a country that has seen the biggest scandal in its sixty-year existence. Last December, Nira Radia, a political lobbyist in Delhi, watched in horror as 800 tapes, carrying conversations from her tapped phone became public. On the other end of the line were, variously, senior politicians, industry heads and prominent journalists. The content of the conversations opened a Pandora’s box of manipulation, cronyism, and corruption. While these charges are not new to India’s political class, the tapes revealed a nexus between industry and government that few had previously suspected. Licenses worth billions of dollars have made monopolies of large companies. The television media has plunged to further depths with many of the country’s best-known journalists accused of being cronies of the ruling Congress Party. The world is watching, and India needs to get its house in order. Economic ambitions and a seat on the Security Council are at stake. When Outlook magazine finally released some of the tapes late last year, the evidence was overwhelming. Andimuthu Raja, the Telecom Minister, and a close personal friend of Radia, resigned immediately. No one escaped scrutiny. Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is known for his clean image, had a lot to answer for when it emerged that he knew of the tapes when he reappointed Raja for a second term as Telecom Minister. Next in the firing line were some of the country’s most prominent industrialists; Ratan Tata, head of the Tata group and Mukesh Ambani, an Oil and Telecom magnate were heard in direct conversation with Radia, asking her to lobby for political favors and licenses with her ‘friends’ in the administration.

The Media Lies
Perhaps the most disturbing thing to emerge, however, has been the lack of integrity in India’s burgeoning television media. Two names in particular stand out. Barkha Dutt won enormous international respect for her coverage of wars, floods and the 2004 tsunami. She has skillfully portrayed herself as the so-called ‘voice of the people’, and was the recipient India’s third highest civilian honor. The tapes show her using her influence to get ‘portfolios’, or specific ministries allotted to individuals she was close to. Her impartiality has been seriously called into question, and her pro-Congress stance on television has been revealed to be purely political. The other journalist, the Oxford-educated, authoritative Vir Sanghvi used his column to defend Radia’s clients, including Mukesh Ambani. On tape, he is heard asking Radia ‘What kind of story’ she wants. He then proceeded to write exactly what she asked. In the weeks following the release of the tapes, there was a complete blackout of coverage in the television media. By delving into the personal lives of Bollywood film stars, news channels showed not only their culpability, but also where their priorities rest. The nexus between industry, the Congress party and the media has deflated any hopes of a fair and critical public discourse.

Big Beginnings Make Big Crises
The origins of the scandal are far from humble. In 2008, it emerged that India’s lucrative telecom industry had bought licenses to use the so-called 2G frequency for $4 billion. They then sold the licenses to the highest bidder almost immediately for $38 billion, a sum thought to be closer to their actual market value. The Comptroller and Auditor General, an independent authority entrusted with examining government accounts immediately launched an investigation into the discrepancy. In sheer monetary terms, it was already the biggest corruption case in the country’s history. What followed was dramatic. The companies that profited most from the deliberate undervaluing of the licenses were all Radia’s clients. The Supreme Court ordered her private phone lines tapped, and over the next three years, thousands of conversations were recorded.

The Road Ahead
The impacts of the scandal are far-reaching. Manmohan Singh faces a crisis of credibility both at home and on the international stage,

something he can ill-afford as he lobbies for a Security Council seat. Corporations are also understandably loathe to invest in a country where so much depends on political influence. The opposing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been quick to latch on to the weaknesses of the current administration. It is currently enjoying a mini-renaissance, with new revelations coming in every day as more tapes are released. With their election prospects seriously boosted, the BJP is currently riding a high it could only have dreamed of when it lost a flood of parliamentary seats three years ago. This spells danger for India. The BJP have long been known for their dangerously non-secular rhetoric, and have incited violence against Muslims in the past. They are also relative economically illiterate, and while the Congress party has shown an extreme lack of integrity, India- and the U.S.- can ill afford four years of BJP rule. The biggest sufferers, as is usually the case, are the Indian people. In a country where hundreds of millions of people live on very little, what is needed from policymakers is a vision for the future. On current form, one wouldn’t blame them for not being optimistic. India is on sale, and they can’t afford to buy it.
Siddharth Krishnan is a sophomore in the School of Engineering & Applied Sciences. He can be reached at siddharth.krishnan@wustl. edu.

A unanimous vote by House Republicans helped fulfill their campaign pledge to repeal health care reform.

The number of Democrats who joined House Republicans in opposing Obama’s reform bill.

“Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.” – President Barack obama, speaking at a memorial service for the Tucson victims

35.1% 0.6%
The increase in Nevada’s population according to the 2010 census, for a total population of 2,700,551 in the state. Michigan was the only state to lose population from the census results. “Arrogance is not a crime that you put somebody in prison for…I can’t be remorseful for something I don’t think I did.” – former G.o.P. house Majority Leader Tom Delay, protesting his three-year prison sentence for money laundering.

The number of flights cancelled on Christmas Day flying out of Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.

The number of days that New Yorkers lived with their garbage after tremendous snowfalls stunned the city of Christmas Eve. “Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding...Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hated and violence they purport to condemn.” – former alaska Governor Sarah Palin on the Tucson shootings

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