Neanderthals generally get a bad rap. If history is written by the winners, they are the world’s very first losers. After all, Neanderthals came out on the wrong end of the great evolutionary battle with our Homo Sapiens ancestors. Ever since, they have been portrayed as big, stupid, artless, lumbering brutes. Our smarter forebears wiped… Continue reading A Neanderthal Foreign Policy
In bidding farewell to 2014, most of us gave the year a swift kick in the rear end as it exited the calendar. On foreign policy in particular, few people had nice things to say about the recently departed. After all, it was a banner year for all manner of evils. The Ebola outbreak in… Continue reading Why 2014 Wasn’t So Terrible
You are a customs official. It’s the early 1980s. You are living in a grim East European country. Your job is to check the documents of visitors, immigrants, and returning citizens. You need the job because times are tight, and several of your family members are sick. Every day the rules change regarding the paperwork… Continue reading The Games of Our Lives
By now, the phrase “Pacific Pivot” gives off a whiff of nostalgia. The Obama administration’s announcement of its intention three years ago to reorient U.S. foreign policy toward Asia seems to belong to an entirely different era. It was a time when the United States had the luxury to think geopolitically: to craft long-term policies… Continue reading The Dance of Superpowers
In many ways the human race hit the skids when we stopped throwing spears and gathering berries. Once we started planting seeds and harvesting the produce, we grew shorter, fatter, sicker, and considerably more overworked. An alien visiting from another planet during that critical transition period to a more settled existence might easily have thought… Continue reading Menu for a Hot Planet
Video games usually provide you with multiple lives. If you step on a landmine or get hit by an assassin, you get another chance. Even if such virtual reincarnation is not built into the rules of the game, you can always reboot and start over again. You can try again hundreds of times until you… Continue reading Earth: Game Over?
The environmental movement has long stressed the importance of personal responsibility. What we do as individuals might seem trivial when set against the huge complex systems that regulate the earth. But if enough individuals change their habits, it can make a difference. And so we do what we can: turn down our thermostats, install insulation,… Continue reading Participatory Environmentalism
Lenin graces the cover of a recent issue of The Economist. The Financial Times is running an entire series on the “crisis in capitalism.” Francis Fukuyama, a recovering neoconservative, makes a plea in Foreign Affairs for the left to get its intellectual act together. And that noted class warrior Newt Gingrich has been assailing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for being a ruthless moneybags.