In Box

A Bright Shining Slogan

How "hearts and minds" came to be.

The phrase "winning hearts and minds" has, in recent years, become indelibly associated with the challenges of an interventionist U.S. foreign policy. But the concept has had a long and circuitous life. It was first associated with democracy in the 19th century, later served as a call to national solidarity during the Great Depression, and finally became a slogan for a policy the U.S. military never quite implemented in Vietnam. As U.S. President Barack Obama fights two inherited wars and continues the daunting task of reaching out to Muslims, the concept has never been more relevant, even if the words themselves have begun to lose all meaning.

429-347 B.C. Greek philosopher Plato becomes the first to draw a clear distinction between feeling and thinking -- between the heart and the mind. The two were referred to as separate philosophical and physiological creatures until the mid-20th century.

FEBRUARY 13, 1818 Writing to a Baltimore newspaper editor, U.S. founding father John Adams describes the American Revolution as being "in the minds and hearts of the people, a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations."

1934 U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt uses the term frequently in his speeches to soothe a body politic battered by economic turmoil: "In these days it means to me a union not only of the states, but a union of the hearts and minds of the people in all the states and their many interests and purposes, devoted with unity to the human welfare of our country."

JUNE 1952 The phrase gets used for the first time in its modern sense -- to refer to counterinsurgency objectives -- during the Malayan Emergency, an uprising by local rebel forces to oust British colonial rule. "The answer [to defeating the insurgents] … rests in the hearts and minds of the Malayan people," says Gen. Sir Gerald Templer.

APRIL 2, 1963 In the thick of the Cold War, "hearts and minds" creeps into U.S. counterrevolutionary rhetoric. "Perhaps most significant of all is a change in the hearts and minds of the people -- a growing will to develop their countries," President John F. Kennedy tells Congress. "We can only help Latin Americans to save themselves."

MAY 4, 1965 U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson says that "ultimate victory [in Vietnam] will depend upon the hearts and the minds" of the Vietnamese. But the policy doesn't match the rhetoric, and a brutal, escalating campaign of pacification ensues, further alienating the South Vietnamese population.

1974 The Academy Award-winning Vietnam documentary, Hearts and Minds, helps cement the phrase's negative connotations.

SEPTEMBER 14, 2005 U.S. President George W. Bush justifies the invasion of Iraq by hailing the possibility of a political transformation of the Middle East. "Across the world, hearts and minds are opening to the message of human liberty as never before," he tells the U.N. General Assembly.

2006 Scholars begin to describe China's foreign policy, particularly in Africa, as designed to win the "hearts and minds" of global elites.

SEPTEMBER 19, 2006  Iranian President Mahmoud  Ahmadinejad deploys the term in a defiant speech to the U.N.: "Would it not be easier for global powers to … win hearts and minds through … real promotion of justice, compassion, and peace, than through" continuing to assemble nuclear weapons?

DECEMBER 15, 2006 The U.S. Army and Marine Corps release a revised "Counterinsurgency Field Manual," drawing on historical counterinsurgency lessons as well as recent experience in Iraq. The manual calls for a minimal use of force. "Protracted popular war is best countered by winning the 'hearts and minds' of the populace," it reads.

2009 U.S. President Barack Obama uses the phrase in his campaign to reset relations with both the Muslim world and Russia. "[Abiding by the Geneva Conventions] … will make us safer and will help in changing hearts and minds in our struggle against extremists," he says on January 9. And in Moscow six months later: "[By] mobilizing and organizing and changing people's hearts and minds, you then change the political landscape."

In Box

World Wall Streets

The Great Recession has shattered New York City’s financial district, which is projected to lose 46,000 jobs and up to $70 billion by 2010. But how have the world’s other Wall Streets fared?

Canary Wharf, London

Stats: The world's second-biggest financial center has lost 20,000 jobs and suffered $110 billion in write-downs since the start of 2008.

Sign of the times: In the go-go years of the real estate bubble, Britain's financial sector doubled, growing to nearly 11 percent of GDP. But today, rentals are down 20 percent and indignities abound: During protests against the spring G-20 summit, an angry mob threw eggs and burned bankers in effigy. One restaurant near Citibank's former European headquarters introduced a "pay-what-you-want" meal. And the long-term outlook isn't good: British banks are still laboring to shed an estimated $200 billion in toxic assets.

Kabutocho, Tokyo

Stats: The Asian rival of London and New York has shed more than 5,000 jobs since 2008.

Sign of the times: At the height of the boom in 2007, Japan held 15 percent of global financial wealth, while representing just 8 percent of global GDP. But the "Lehman shokku" and its aftereffects have crippled Tokyo's financial industry. The vacancy rate has tripled in prime business areas. One watering hole in Goldman Sachs's Tokyo headquarters building has started holding "pink slip" networking parties for fired bankers. Japan's banking business is migrating toward China at an ever increasing rate.

Dubai International Financial Centre

Stats: The central stock index plummeted more than 70 percent in 2008.

Sign of the times: Flush with oil wealth-and enjoying scant tax rates and a laissez-faire business climate-Dubai's investors increased their holdings by at least $1 trillion in the 2000s. Now the party's over. Banks like Morgan Stanley have fired up to 20 percent of their local staffs. As of April, foreigners were canceling their visas at a rate of 1,500 per day. Malls, shops, restaurants, and clubs stand half-full. The only thing keeping Dubai afloat right now is bailout money from its more responsible neighbor, Abu Dhabi.

Bankenviertel, Frankfurt

Stats: The stock market has fallen 30 percent since last summer, and Deutsche Bank posted its first loss since World War II.

Sign of the times: Most banks and financial firms in Germany avoided the creatively structured products and banking culture that led to ruin in the United States and Britain. The country has stringent mortgage policies, a strong social safety net, and the lowest homeownership rate in Europe. Nevertheless, the mood has been sour among Frankfurt's 80,000 bankers. They've faced protests from pesky teenage anarchists, and "white-collar fight clubs"-boxing classes for bankers-have cropped up at local gyms.

Financial District, Hong Kong

Stats: The stock market in Hong Kong lost nearly half its value in 2008.

Sign of the times: Ultimately, Hong Kong stands to benefit from other cities' woes; it required banks to keep an ample capital cushion, and banking business is migrating there. In the meantime, though, the economy is contracting, and banks have shed at least 1,000 jobs and canceled parties and perks (no more $20,000-a-month housing stipends). One bank's corporate suite at the famed Hong Kong Sevens, an annual champagne-soaked rugby tournament, actually charged for drinks this year.

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