Vietnam Was Overrated 

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
April 28 2000 9:30 PM

Vietnam Was Overrated 

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The New Republic, May 8

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The cover story blasts liberals who endorse civil unions for gays while wishing to bar gays from marriage. This position is a "well-meaning surrender to unfounded fear": Gay marriage does not threaten heterosexual marriage. Civil unions are as deplorable as "separate but equal." An article applauds Earth Day's evolution into "a corporate-sponsored, celebrity-obsessed extravaganza." The hoopla attracts the attention of young folks.

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Economist, May 5

An article argues that Vietnam's impact on the United States has been vastly exaggerated. The war did inhibit liberal hawks and spur Congress to increase oversight of foreign policy, but faith in humanitarian interventions has rebounded. A piece predicts the decline of the Asian tycoon. The patriarchal Asian corporations that thrived in the old economy cannot survive in the new economy. Foreign capital and international competition will force Asian firms to become more meritocratic.

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New York Times Magazine, April 30

The cover story argues that Web users must be protected against electronic invasions of privacy. Technology permits employers, professional snoops, and information purveyors to find sensitive information about you, but such fragmentary electronic data—the books you buy, the dirty e-mail you sent—are incomplete and distorting. You should be able to guard your "public identity." … A profile portrays Austrian nationalist Jörg Haider as a "chameleonic charmer" whose populism attracts working men, "veteran nationalists," and "the MTV crowd." Haider plays with fascist, socialist, and conservative themes, making his Freedom Party impossible to define.

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George, May 2000

The cover story describes Elián González's ill-fated journey to the United States. A storm capsized the small boat that carried Elián, killing his mother's boyfriend and nine of his family members. His mother protected Elián by tying him to an inner tube, shielding him from the sun, and giving him all her drinkable water. Then she drowned.

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Time and Newsweek, May 1

Both mags run Elián cover stories, of course. Time reports that Attorney General Janet Reno felt that an "immediate rescue" was necessary because the "Little Havana media circus" was traumatizing Elián. Newsweek argues that the reunion between father and son justifies the fed's tactics. The commando-style raid was a wise precaution because Elián's cousin Marisleysis claimed agents could be "hurt," and rumors of armed-resistance abounded. …  A Time piece underscores that the law supports a parent's right to decide where a kid lives. Courts rarely consider petitions from kids younger than 14.

A Time article predicts that the debut of the low-fare luxury airline, Legend, will revolutionize air travel. The Dallas-based four-plane carrier provides gourmet meals and first-class perks. To compete, American Airlines is making its coach cabins more commodious.

Newsweek reports that 84 percent of Americans believe in miracles. Jews are least likely to believe in them. A Newsweek special report commemorates the 25th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. Memorable detail: When the North Vietnamese approached the perimeter of South Vietnam's capital, Radio Saigon played "White Christmas" to signal the beginning of the evacuation.

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U.S. News & World Report, May 1

The cover story claims that we are losing sight of the lessons of Vietnam. The war taught military theorists that combat shouldn't be micromanaged from Washington and that force shouldn't be applied incrementally. But Pentagon brass abandoned the doctrine of overwhelming force during the Kosovo conflict. An article worries that the United States is not equipped to handle the record number of inmates—585,000—who will be released this year. Job training and drug treatment could ease the assimilation of ex-cons. A piece pegged to Nasdaq's plunge highlights "the dark-side of start-up life." New economy workers are bailing out of sinking startups, and the number of e-related bankruptcies is skyrocketing.

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The Nation, May 8

A foreign policy issue. An essay argues that the "Americacentric world order" is unstable. Second-rate powers rebel against Uncle Sam's hegemony. Americans don't have the will or resources to single-handedly police the globe. We need a "world-oriented foreign policy," with strong international regulatory bodies. An article urges the United States to subsidize environmentally correct economic growth.

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Business Week, May 1

The cover story traces the rise and fall of Value America, a would-be online Wal-Mart. Ex-CEO Craig Winn attracted investors despite his abysmal business record and his lack of high-tech experience. After a year of titanic losses, Value America's stock dropped from $74 to $2. A gloomy article reports that the WNBA is suffering from flat ticket sales, declining corporate sponsorships, and player demands for higher salaries. If the WNBA can't succeed, it will be hard for other women's sports leagues to survive.

Eve Gerber is a Slateeditorial assistant.

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