Weekly Roundup 12/6/2010

Where’s the American empire when we need it?
Robert D. Kaplan, The Washington Post, Dec. 5, 2010

Synopsis: The longtime national correspondent for The Atlantic and specialist in international relations and foreign policy forecasts a period of global uncertainty in the wake of what he sees as the United States’ diminished ability “to bring a modicum of order to the world.” China, he believes, may help promote order in some regions, but will not fill “the moral void” left by the decline of U.S. power.

Takeaway: Despite the downcast predictions, Kaplan says the U.S. must stay the course. “Lessening our engagement with the world,” he concludes, “would have devastating consequences for humanity.” (For background, see Peter Katel, “Emerging China,” CQ Researcher, Nov. 11, 2005.)

Kenneth Jost, Associate Editor, CQ Researcher


Deadly Medicine
Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, Vanity Fair, January 2011

Synopsis: Many, perhaps most, clinical trials for drugs being developed for potential sale in the United States now take place in developing countries. As a result, trial participants -- often illiterate -- may not understand enough about the process to give proper informed consent, and their diets and lifestyles likely differ so much from that of the average American that it's not clear that they metabolize the drugs the same way Americans would.

Takeaway: As drug trials increasingly move to the developing world, their ethics and even their science are called into question.

Marcia Clemmitt, Staff Writer, CQ Researcher


Throw the WikiBook at them
Charles Krauthammer, The Washington Post, Dec. 3, 2010

How the WikiLeaks Scandal Actually Helped the United States
Leslie H. Gelb, The Dallas Morning News, Dec. 3, 2010

The Shameful Attacks on Julian Assange
David Samuels, TheAtlantic.com, Dec. 3, 2010

Synopsis: With news organizations and others continuing to plumb the Wikileaks trove of U.S. diplomatic reports for information and tidbits, official reaction and most – but not all -- commentary has been sharply negative about the disclosures. Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer reflects the dominant view that the leaks have been harmful and that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange ought to be prosecuted for his actions. Leslie H. Gelb, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, is critical of the leak but says the documents show U.S. diplomats are “doing what they are supposed to be doing: ferreting out critical information from foreign leaders, searching for paths to common action and struggling with the right amount of pressure to apply on allies and adversaries.” Against the prevailing opinion, David Samuels, a regular contributor to The Atlantic, writes a full-throated defense of Assange along with a sharp attack on the government’s plan to prosecute him and what he calls the “shameful” reaction of journalists who feel scooped by the Wikileaks disclosures.

For background, see Kenneth Jost, “Government Secrecy,” CQ Researcher, Dec. 2, 2005.

Posted by the Editors, CQ Researcher