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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 March 7, 2006 / 7 Adar, 5766

A 19th Century critique of a 21st Century president

By Niall Ferguson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | One of the unintended consequences of the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — which prohibits anyone from being elected president more than twice — is that George W. Bush will never have to run on the record of his second term. This is fortunate for the Republican Party. It is a tragedy for the Democrats.


If President Bush were to run for reelection in 2008, it is not difficult to imagine the devastating indictment that might be made of his foreign policy. One reason is that the terms of such an indictment were brilliantly anticipated in Britain more than a century ago.


In 1878, William Ewart Gladstone came out of retirement to reclaim the leadership of the Liberal party and unleash a lethal rhetorical assault against his archrival, Conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli.


In a series of marathon speeches to crowds numbering in the tens of thousands, Gladstone eviscerated Disraelian foreign policy as a disastrous mixture of vainglorious imperialism, cynical realpolitik and fiscal improvidence. His speech of Nov. 27, 1879, in which he set out his principles of foreign policy, reads amazingly well today.


Gladstone's first principle was, paradoxically, "good government at home" — to be precise, fiscal stability. "The first thing," he argued, "is to foster the strength of the empire by just legislation and economy at home." By that measure Bush's second term has been an almost unqualified failure. To cut taxes and run deficits in 2001, in the aftermath of a stock market crash, made sense. But allowing the federal government to continue to run deficits with recovery well established has left the U.S. dangerously dependent on foreign capital for its economic stability.


Gladstone's second principle was that the aim of foreign policy should be "to preserve to the nations of the world … the blessings of peace" — not something Bush will be remembered for achieving.


Principle number three reads especially well today. "Even when you do a good thing," Gladstone observed, "you may do it in so bad a way that you may entirely spoil the beneficial effect." Ring any bells? That's just the way to nail this administration without falling into the obvious rhetorical trap of arguing that we should have left Saddam Hussein in power. Yes, you can indeed ruin the effect of doing a good thing — getting rid of a brutal, potentially dangerous dictator — by doing it in a bad way: failing to preserve public order in the aftermath.


Gladstone's fourth principle was a very American one: To avoid needless and entangling engagements. "You may boast about them," he went on, "you may brag about them…. But you are increasing your engagements without increasing your strength; and if you increase engagements without increasing strength, you diminish strength, you abolish strength." Once again, spot on.


The coup de grace, however, is Gladstone's fifth principle: to acknowledge the equal rights of all nations. "If you claim for yourself," he said, "a pharisaical superiority over [other nations], then I say … [that] in undermining the basis of the esteem and respect of other people for your country, you are in reality inflicting the severest injury upon it." I defy you to name another president whose conduct that better sums up. Indeed, the evidence is that this administration has more than merely undermined "the basis of the esteem and respect of other people." It has blown it apart.


The beauty of Gladstone's attack is that it was concentrated mainly on the execution of Disraeli's policy. "The foreign policy of England," Gladstone declared, "should always be inspired by the love of freedom." That's where a Democratic challenger can agree with Bush: We share your aspiration to spread freedom; it's your implementation that stinks.


And yet it is highly unlikely that the next Democratic front-runner for the presidency will be able to deliver a modern version of Gladstone's speech. Why? For the simple reason that, unless the Republicans have lost the will to win, they will select a candidate to succeed Bush who subscribes to every single one of Gladstone's principles.


The Republicans would certainly be foolish to cling to what is left of Bush's foreign policy. Nearly all of its premises are crumbling before our eyes. The theory of a democratic peace is a chimera; give Muslims the vote and they vote for militants. Regime change in Iraq has not enhanced American security; its principal beneficiary has been Iran. As for the unipolar world….


The reality is that the occupation of Iraq and its ramifications in the greater Middle East now so dominate this administration's agenda that the one truly world-shaking event of our times — the resurgence of China — has all but vanished from view. The administration is in at least two minds about how to react, with half the signals indicating a new Cold War strategy of containment (why else help the Indians with their nukes?) and the other half continuing the older policy of conciliation.


After recklessness, ineptitude was the greatest defect of Disraelian foreign policy (although in those days it was the resurgence of Russia rather than China that was the big challenge).


Too bad the 22nd Amendment likely will prevent us from ever hearing a Gladstonian critique of today's inept imperialism.

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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.

02/28/06: The crash of civilizations
02/21/06: Not the president, but close
02/14/06: Want historic trouble? Look south
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

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