In this issue

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 Feb. 14, 2006 / 16 Shevat, 5766

Want historic trouble? Look south

By Niall Ferguson

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | To judge by the column inches — make that miles — devoted to the furor over the Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, we are living through a historic world event.

I don't believe it, and all this noise is a distraction from much more important trends. For instance, while the United States has become fixated on the Muslim world, a region much closer to home has been quietly spinning out of American control.

"Who lost Latin America?" is the question the next Democratic contender for the U.S. presidency may legitimately be able to ask. Since the election of Hugo Chavez as president of Venezuela in 1998, there has been a drastic erosion of U.S. influence south of the Rio Grande. The most recent manifestations are the election victories of the coca-chewing populist Evo Morales in Bolivia and of the socialist Michelle Bachelet in Chile. Some polls point to similar victories for the militant Ollanta Humala in Peru's elections in April and for the anti-U.S. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Mexico's in July.

The question "Who lost Latin America?" might seem to imply that the U.S. once owned or controlled it. That was indeed one of the very earliest aspirations of U.S. foreign policy. In 1823, President James Monroe enunciated his doctrine "that the American continents … are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers." By 1904, that had mutated into the claim that the United States had the right to invade and "police" Latin American states if their internal politics took a turn unpalatable to Washington.

Repeatedly thereafter, the United States has exercised that supposed right: In Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, Panama … how long have you got? In fact, the only Central American state that hasn't found itself on the receiving end of at least one U.S. military intervention is Costa Rica. At first, George W. Bush kept up the tradition of prioritizing the Americas, naming Mexican President Vicente Fox as his main man among foreign leaders.

Yet since 9/11 all that — more than a century of consistent U.S. foreign policy — has gone out the window. This is the really big story of 2006 — and yet no one is paying it any attention. And it's not as if the new populists in Latin America aren't looking for attention. Only last week, Chavez declared: "The imperialist, genocidal, fascist attitude of the U.S. president has no limits. I think Hitler would be like a suckling baby next to George W. Bush." Now if Chavez were a Muslim leader, this would be front-page news. But because he says it in Spanish, everyone yawns. Come on folks. It's just over 2,000 miles from Washington to Caracas. It's nearly 7,000 miles to Kabul. And Chavez is sitting on top of 6.5% of the world's proven oil reserves.

The naive explanation for this strange indifference to Latin America is that, since the end of the Cold War, it just doesn't matter. Rubbish. It mattered to Monroe, and it should matter to us. One reason I've already mentioned: Latin America accounts for 8.5% of the world's oil reserves. Then there's democracy; to be precise, the fate of President Bush's project to spread democracy around the world. And there's immigration too.

The new regimes in Latin America are throwbacks to the bad old days of anti-global economics. They may not nationalize oil and gas fields, but the new populists are keen to "renegotiate" (i.e. repudiate) existing contracts with foreign companies — and not just in the energy sector. Such policies are almost certain to be counterproductive, scaring off foreign investors.

The new populists are coming to power in large measure because of the successful mobilization of indigenous peoples against the elites of European/mestizo ancestry who have dominated regional politics since the era of conquest and colonization. What we are seeing is the result of the democratic process, albeit — in the Venezuelan case — a process that is being undermined by those it has brought to power. So you don't need to go to the Middle East to find evidence that democracy doesn't always produce liberal governments.

The kind of policies that these populists are pursuing are a recipe for trouble. Despite the oil bonanza, after five years of Chavez, Venezuela's gross domestic product per capita has collapsed by 23%. Now, what do Latinos do when their home economies tank? Many of them try to emigrate. And where do they head? The United States. In 2004, according to the Department of Homeland Security, 42% of immigrants to the U.S. and 99% of illegal immigrants deported were from Latin America (including the Caribbean).

For the White House, the cartoon crisis has been a godsend, because it seems to justify Bush's prioritization of "the long war" against Islamist terrorism. But will it make it into the history books? Sorry; my money's on the loss of Latin America.

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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.

02/07/06: Greenspan advising Britain? It's housing bubbles, deficits and potential meltdowns all over again
01/31/06: Missing the Cold War
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