John Brennan: Under Surveillance

The nomination of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel sparked considerable controversy and media attention. Amid the political maelstrom, the hearings for John O. Brennan, Obama’s pick to head the CIA, could have been lost in the thunder. Thanks to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and a live feed from C-SPAN, however, the hearing garnered attention and provoked … Read more

Chuck Hagel: Confirmed But Compromised

President Obama’s most controversial Cabinet appointee to date, former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, was confirmed as Secretary of Defense by the Senate on Feb. 27. After overcoming an initial filibuster by Senate Republicans—unprecedented for a Defense Secretary nominee—the Senate confirmed Hagel by a simple majority vote, 58-41. Hagel faced opposition from his former allies in Congress, including Sen. … Read more

The Return of Empire in Africa?

Chinua Achebe, the renowned Nigerian novelist, passed away at the age of 82 last Thursday. Author of the seminal novel, “Things Fall Apart,” Achebe was a vocal supporter of anti-colonialist sentiment, using literature as a tool to scrutinize and largely condemn Western colonial practices. And though the sun seems to have set on the British … Read more


In heated debates on immigration and the war on drugs, many Americans picture Mexico in much the same way they do old Westerns, which is not surprising given that Mexico’s legal and political foundations are derived from the same Wild West culture that shaped early American society. Today, both countries hunt outlaws in the name … Read more

Conservatism and Human Rights

Human rights have their beginning in revolution. The declarations of 1776 and 1789 make this much clear. However, in an age when universal human rights are still a lofty dream for most, the merits of conservatism, of the past and tradition, deserve acknowledgement. In looking at the promotion of human rights and human rights violations, … Read more

Devil in the Details

Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty is not a war story in the traditional sense. There are no speeches to rally the troops, and, in fact, there are no troops to rally. Instead of examining the ethics or ideals behind our war on terror, the film gives us a detailed look at the strategies and intelligence … Read more

Leading Nowhere: Do Institutions Matter or Not?

Why are some countries wealthier than others? Lately, this question has been receiving a lot of attention. The most recent debate centers around the role of institutions in economic development. Daron Acemoglu, a professor of Economics at MIT, and James Robinson, a government professor at Harvard, discuss this particular issue in their latest book on … Read more