Issue

Prospect Magazine

Issue 143

February 2008

Contents

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Critical condition

William Skidelsky
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Book reviewing may seem in reasonable health. But the authority of critics is being undermined by a raucous blogging culture and an increasingly commercial publishing industry. Literary journalism needs to get better if it is to survive

The perfect crime?

Linda Melvern
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

The Rwandan genocide was triggered by the killing of the country's president in April 1994. The identity of the assassins remains one of the great mysteries of the 20th century. Now a new witness has emerged, alleging French involvement

Shopping in Tehran

Christopher de Bellaigue
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Normal domestic politics has resumed in Iran after the recent US declaration that Iran gave up its nuclear weapons programme in 2003. Ahmadinejad's many opponents will now try to make him pay for his economic failures

Disenchanted democracies

Paul Skidmore
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Citizens in rich democracies are becoming both more sceptical towards government and more demanding of it, leading to a "crisis of disengagement." This won't be reversed by institutional reform—better to focus on the democracy of everyday life

Explaining the financial crisis

Charles Goodhart
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

The credit crunch was an accident waiting to happen, thanks to a long period of benign market conditions which encouraged riskier behaviour by financiers. But how did problems in the US mortgage market spread to become a crisis of bank capital?

America still works

Michael Lind Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

The US economy is slowing down, but the long-term trends for the country are more favourable than many think. There has also been a sharp improvement in many of America's social pathologies, such as violent crime and drug abuse

Alberta's oil rush

Derek Brower
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

The "tar sands" of northern Canada are home to the world's largest oil reserve. Extracting and exporting the oil—so far almost exclusively to the US—is bringing massive wealth to the region. But what about the social and environmental costs?

Charles Taylor

Ben Rogers Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Taylor may be the most important philosopher writing in English today. He is drawn to big issues like the evolution of the modern self, and his latest book defends religion from its critics

Zbigniew Brzezinski

Jonathan Power
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

The national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter—and now one of Barack Obama's foreign policy mentors—discusses America's role in the world, the urgency of ensuring a swift exit from Iraq, and why the US has always got it wrong with Iran

A cultural recovery?

Peter Wehner
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

The conservative American magazine "Commentary" is normally pessimistic about cultural trends in the US. Here, however, is an edited extract from a surprisingly upbeat piece from the December 2007 issue

Georgi Arbatov

Jonathan Power Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Gorbachev's principal foreign affairs advisor, Georgi Arbatov, passed away earlier this month. Here he discusses Putin's Russia, US foreign policy and nuclear proliferation

Behind the interviews

Jonathan Power Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Reflections on my visits to Moscow and Washington to visit two of the leading lights of the cold war

Charles Taylor interviewed

Ben Rogers Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

The Canadian philosopher talks to Prospect about religion, multiculturalism and the future of the left

After independence

Dominik Zaum Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Kosovo's declaration of independence merely formalises the status quo. Europe's newest country faces serious social and economic challenges

Gandhi and the Jews

Salil Tripathi Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Should the Jews, as Gandhi counselled, have submitted willingly to their Nazi oppressors?

Presidential realities

Stephen Boyle Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

With their grand promises of "change," the US presidential candidates are raising expectations they cannot possibly meet

The flaws in Flint

Jennifer Moses Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Caroline Flint's proposals on social housing ignore two disincentive effects of the British welfare system

Listening in

Ian Caplin Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

We should welcome the removal of the ban on the use of intercept evidence in court—as long as it's done in the right way

A European language

Jonathan Hill Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

As the Champions League rolls round once again, Uefa's man in Brussels argues that football can help nourish a European sense of identity

Hope in Pakistan

Kamran Nazeer Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

The results of the Pakistani election mean there is a real chance that its competing power blocs could find a lasting accommodation via the constitution

Watch those warheads

Ayesha Siddiqa Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

How real is the danger that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal could fall into the hands of militants?

Sense on sharia

Thom Dyke Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

English law is flexible enough to incorporate a role for sharia as an informal mechanism for dispute resolution

Welcome to Europe, Kosovo

Ana Stanic Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

There really was no alternative to independence for Kosovo. What happens now depends on Serbia and the EU

Pakistan's imperfect choice

Moni Mohsin Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

For the party leaders, Pakistan's election is not so much about winning office as about earning forgiveness

After Suharto

Phil Zabriskie Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Suharto's death means he will never be held to account for his crimes. But the Indonesian courts could still act to weaken his legacy of cronyism and corruption

Who do we think we are?

Jon E Wilson
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

The attempt to find a British national story by rummaging through history is bound to fail

A warning from Kenya

David Anderson
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Kenya's democratic failure is a bad omen. Expect similarly contested elections in the rest of Africa

Cash for culture

Emma Crichton-Miller
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Despite the controversy of the Arts Council's recent cuts, it's still boom time for the arts in England

Why Pakistan fails

Kishwer Falkner
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Why has Pakistan had a much more troubled experience with democracy than India?

Perchance to dream

David Flusfeder
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Far from it being the purpose of sleep to support and nourish life, the purpose of life is to sleep

A desperate fascination

Tom Chatfield Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

For the last six years, Martin Amis has written obsessively about 9/11 and its global aftermath—often provoking great controversy. A new collection of his writings shows us a writer whose prose remains a delicious challenge, but whose political imagination looks increasingly barren

Re-readings

Philip Oltermann
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Critics of Bernhard Schlink's bestselling "The Reader" accused it of being an apology for Nazi evil. His new novel covers many of the same themes, but takes pains to distinguish right from wrong

Dropping the pilot

John Lloyd
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

The broadcast media no longer see it as their duty to provide society with moral guidance. But as this book shows, many people miss the presence of a "pilot." Perhaps Mary Whitehouse had a point after all

BHL is back

Catherine Fieschi
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Bernard-Henri Lévy's new book is typically immodest—and his claim that the European left trades on fascist ideas is a facile caricature. Still, this is an audacious, often brilliantly argued work

Widescreen

Mark Cousins Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Wim Wenders's road movies inspired me to drive to India in a camper van. Interviewing him recently, I found him reticent but still inspirational

Private view

Ben Lewis Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

The Russian paintings affair was, in reality, a minor wrangle about timing. Were the Russians being opportunistic or just paranoid?

Performance notes

Martin Kettle Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Beethoven would have been surprised by the reverence his sonatas inspire today. Plus, why Mahler's 8th shouldn't be performed at St Paul's

Smallscreen

Christopher Hird Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Creative destruction is what keeps Britain's television industry alive—so I don't mind too much that it finished off my production company

The half-baked entrepreneur

Aravind Adiga
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Dear Premier Wen, allow me—a servant, philosopher and successful businessman—to offer you the truth about Bangalore, free of charge

China café

Mark Kitto Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

My wife shed tears over the lieutenant's death. But I had a more cynical explanation. Plus, our quiet hilltop village has turned into a refuge for Shanghai's capitalists

Washington watch

Tumbler Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Could the campaigns for the nominations drag on until the party conventions? If so, Clinton may be calling on the Dem "super-delegates." Plus, candidates' campaign songs

This sporting life

Geoffrey Wheatcroft Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

It isn't easy to raise doubts about disabled sports without looking unsympathetic. But as the case of sprinter Oscar Pistorius shows, hard questions sometimes have to be asked

These islands

Terence Kealey Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

The country estate of Stowe lies at the heart of England, both geographically and historically. It embodies the English virtues of freedom, subtlety and trust

Lab report

Philip Ball Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Christopher Columbus may have brought syphilis to Europe after all. EO Wilson changes his mind on group selection. Plus, climate lessons from 90m years ago—or not

Brussels diary

Manneken Pis Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

As the PM starts to develop his European side, a new report suggests expansion has actually made the EU more nimble. Plus, Poland's youthful new minister for Europe

Confessions

Don Berry Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

I'm a liberal, so it pains me to admit that I read the Daily Mail. But the paper is superb at non-political news stories— and it fills in some key gaps in the Guardian's coverage

Editorial

David Goodhart Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Letters

prospect Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

News and curiosities

prospect Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Tom's words

Tom Chatfield Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Escapades in etymology

Grayling's Question

AC Grayling Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

Enigmas and puzzles

Ian Stewart Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143

In fact

prospect Free entry
29th February 2008  —  Issue 143







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