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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 31, 2006 / 2 Shevat, 5766

Missing the Cold War

By Niall Ferguson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I miss the Cold War. I know I ought not to, but I just can't help it. So I was naturally delighted by last week's spy story. Admittedly, as one of the papers here in London cruelly remarked, it was more Johnny English than James Bond.


In a television documentary that had Kremlin fingerprints all over it, four British Embassy staffers were accused of being spooks. Blurred video footage purported to show them fiddling with a rock in a Moscow suburb. According to Russian counterespionage, the rock contained an illicit electronic device for communicating with Russian "accomplices."


Well, it's possible. But why would Her Majesty's Men in Moscow want to conceal what they were up to if, as the Russians allege, they were merely transferring funds to Russian nongovernmental organizations? Only in the fevered imagination of Vladimir Putin, the ex-Soviet spook who now runs Russia, do NGOs figure as subversive entities.


Putin's crackdown on NGOs is part of a wider pattern of behavior that strongly suggests that my nostalgia for the Cold War is shared in the Kremlin.


In recent weeks, first Ukraine and now Georgia have been made to feel their dependence on Russian energy supplies, which are firmly back under state control after the purge of the Yeltsin-era oligarchs.


"Gasputin," as the Georgians now like to call the Russian president, has been openly hostile to the governments in those two former Soviet republics, both of which came to power after revolutions ("orange" and "rose" in color, respectively) overthrew Kremlin stooges.


Meanwhile, work is going ahead on a new gas pipeline along the Baltic seabed, designed to send Russia's prime export directly to Western Europe, cutting out Ukraine and Poland.


Nobody can now pretend that Russia is just — as the old Cold War joke had it — "Upper Volta with rockets." Soaring energy prices have brought boom times to Russia, even if the returns mainly flow into the coffers of the new nomenklatura. The Russian stock market went up 80% last year. So if Putin wants Cold War II, you might be forgiven for thinking he can certainly afford to have it.


Of course, I was not being entirely serious when I said that I miss the Cold War. I would never wish the Soviet Union back, not least for the sake of the Poles, the Czechs, the Hungarians and all the other peoples who won back their liberty in 1989.


What makes me nostalgic is that Soviet wickedness made politics so much simpler in my youth. All you had to do was to go to the Eastern Bloc to see what a real military-industrial complex looked like — and to feel for yourself what the absence of freedom really meant.


Every time I took the S-Bahn to Friedrichstrasse, the old gateway to East Berlin, I shuddered at the knowledge that I was entering the realm of despotism — a place where there were no rights to privacy, to property or to political representation. Now you need to take a trip to North Korea if you want to get that salutary feeling, which did so much to clarify my own political views.


So a new Cold War might be good for Western Europe, just as it would be bad for Eastern Europe, for the simple reason that we would be reminded of the value of our hard-won freedoms — freedoms we increasingly seem to take for granted.


But relax; it isn't going to happen.


Today, Russia is so far behind the United States as to be out of contention — U.S. gross domestic product is now 20 times that of the Russian Federation. Moreover, today's world is multi-polar, not only economically — China's economy is now nearly three times larger than Russia's — but also militarily. Just think of all those other nuclear powers: Britain and France; China and North Korea; Pakistan and India; and Israel and, perhaps soon, Iran.


The other key difference between the Cold War era and the present is, of course, the role of Islamic fundamentalism on the global stage. With the benefit of hindsight, 1989 was not the decisive turning point of the late 20th century. That came 10 years earlier, in 1979 — the year of the Iranian Revolution. And militant Islamism is now as big a headache for Russia as it is for Western Europe.


About 10% of the Russian population is Muslim, with heavy concentrations in republics such as Chechnya, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia and Tatarstan. The first four of these republics are in varying states of political instability because of separatist movements that have an increasingly Islamist complexion.


Indeed, when Putin contemplates the threat posed by Islamist separatists to the integrity of Russia itself, he must wonder how Russians like him could ever have been described as belonging to the "Eastern Bloc." The Islamists represent the real Orient; by comparison, Putin is as much a part of the West as I am.


And that, come to think of it, is another reason I can't help missing the Cold War.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


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Niall Ferguson is a professor of history at Harvard University. He is the author of "Empire" (Basic Books, 2003) and "Colossus" (Penguin, 2004). Comment by clicking here.

01/24/06: It's a sick, Thick World
01/17/06: Tomorrow's world war today
01/03/06: Scotland, it's over, but keep the accents
12/20/05: History, democracy and Iraq
12/20/05: History, democracy and Iraq
11/22/05: Ghost of Napoleon haunts Tony Blair
11/22/05: Can it happen in Britain too?
11/15/05: Red plus blue equals purple
11/10/05: The fires of disintegration
11/01/05: Triumph of an über-wonk

© 2006, Los Angeles Times Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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