Essays

Photograph: In the notorious Port-au-Prince slum of Cité Soleil, voters cast their ballots in Haiti’s 2006 national elections. CHARLES ECKERT / REDUX

One after another, arguments that non-Western countries are not “ready” for democracy have been upended by experience.

These are hard times for those who live by the pen. But technology will not decide their fate. The future of writers—and the articles, novels, and nonfiction books they create—ultimately rests with those who read them.

During World War II, villagers in a French farming community rescued thousands of Jews and other refugees, while most Europeans spectacularly failed to hinder the genocides in their midst. What set the villagers apart?

Rahul Gandhi, grandson of Indira Gandhi and possible next Prime Minister of India, visits the Maldives. Photo by Maldives Presidency via Flickr

Its political class may not be up to the task of leading India toward prosperity.

Propelled by economic success and a sense of its own exceptionalism, India stands poised to create a new role for itself on the world stage. But Indians do not agree on what that role should be.

India’s leaders have instinctively looked to China for the secrets to national success. The impulse often serves them poorly.

For 36 years, it has been The Wilson Quarterly’s central preoccupation: What’s on the horizon for the great American experiment?

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In the 1990s, scientists declared that schizophrenia and other psychiatric illnesses were pure brain disorders that would eventually yield to drugs. Now they are recognizing that social factors are among the causes, and must be part of the cure.

The great 19th-century observer of America’s democratic revolution has much to teach the tumultuous new century.

A new and better approach to shaping the places in which we live has emerged just as Americans responding to the rising cost of energy begin to crowd into older suburbs and cities.

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