Nicholas D. Kristof is a columnist for The New York Times and the coauthor, with his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, forthcoming in September.

On Isaiah Berlin: Explorer

Isaiah Berlin, Oxford, 1969
Explorer Sir Isaiah Berlin is not a recondite writer. Rather, he is eminently useful in understanding the kinds of moral conundrums that regularly perplex anyone too sensible to be an ideologue. No one surpasses Berlin as a guide through the tangled terrain of the twenty-first century. He is unusual among …

The Micro Miracle?

In the November 19 issue of The New York Review, Sue Halpern wrote about Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s new book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Her piece describes the systematic abuse of women documented by Kristof and WuDunn throughout the world, and the considerable success of microfinance programs—pioneered by the Nobel-prize winning economist Muhammad Yunus, whose book is also included in Halpern’s review—in countering this problem by helping poor women gain economic power. Following is an exchange between Halpern and Kristof about the spread of microfinance and some of the criticisms that have emerged about it.

What to Do About Darfur

Internally displaced Sudanese returning to their village after having fled fighting in the Western Upper Nile region of southern Sudan, 2002; photograph by Sven Torfinn from <i>Darfur: Twenty Years of War and Genocide in Sudan</i>, edited by Leora Kahn and published by powerHouse Books
The slaughter in Darfur has now lasted more than six years, longer than World War II, yet the “Save Darfur” movement has stalled—even as the plight of many Darfuris may be worsening. Many advocates for Darfur, myself included, had urged the International Criminal Court to prosecute the Sudanese president, Omar …

Wretched of the Earth

No interview haunts me more than a conversation with a Cambodian peasant, Nhem Yen, in 1996. She was forty years old, though she looked much older, and was living with her family in a clearing in the Cambodian jungle. The area was notorious for malaria, but the family members were …

Aid: Can It Work?

The conundrum facing the rich countries is that everywhere in the developing world, and particularly in Africa, you see children dying for want of pennies, while it’s equally obvious that aid often doesn’t work very well. Travel through the third world, and you may see clinics with signs proudly proclaiming …

Genocide in Slow Motion

The same paralysis occurred as Rwandans were being slaughtered in 1994. Officials from Europe to the US to the UN headquarters all responded by temporizing and then, at most, by holding meetings. The only thing President Clinton did for Rwandan genocide victims was issue a magnificent apology after they were …

The Hermit Nuclear Kingdom

North Korea is the most secretive country in the world today, with its main railway lined with walls so high that its foreign passengers can’t see the countryside. It is also, as Brad-ley Martin’s book makes clear, the most repressive and brutal country in the world, with entire families sometimes …

A Little Leap Forward

The Communist dynasty is collapsing in China, and in retrospect one of the first signs was a Chinese-language computer virus that began spreading when I was a reporter in Beijing in the early 1990s. The virus would pop up on your screen and ask a question about the hard-line prime …