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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 May 16, 2006 / 18 Iyar, 5766

The Cold Wars are coming

By Niall Ferguson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Ever since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, pessimists have been asking themselves when the next Cold War will begin — and who the new enemy will be. But what if it's Cold Wars, plural, and enemies, plural?


A world with one potential nuclear conflict was scary enough. It would be a whole lot scarier if in the future there were multiple nuclear rivalries — four or more regional Cold Wars — each with the potential to end in devastating missile exchanges.


Unfortunately, that is precisely what the future may hold.


Why does it suddenly seem so hard to stop Iran from going nuclear? Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is behaving with such recklessness that it ought to be easy. In October, he called for Israel to be "wiped off the map". It is, he told cheering Indonesian students last week, a "tyrannical regime that one day will be destroyed." Simultaneously, Ahmadinejad has trumpeted Iran's "right" to pursue its nuclear ambitions, barely disguising his country's intention to move from energy into weaponry.


Yet the West — what's left of it — seems paralyzed, watching Ahmadinejad with the same appalled fascination that a large and docile cow might regard a rearing cobra.


It is, of course, always dangerous to draw analogies with the 1930s. Too many bad decisions have been made over the years on the basis of facile parallels — between Hitler and Nasser, between Hitler and Saddam Hussein. Still, in one respect, Ahmadinejad really has taken a leaf out of the Führer's book. He has discovered the counterintuitive truth that it works to talk aggressively before you have acquired weapons of mass destruction.


The key is that weak opponents are unnerved when they fear they are dealing with a madman. In this respect, the long and nutty letter sent by Ahmadinejad to President Bush last week was exemplary, with its repeated references to "the prophet ... Jesus Christ (PBUH)" (Peace Be Upon Him).


Four years ago, George W. Bush would have trash-canned such drivel with a snort of "WBUH" (War Be Upon Him). But those days are gone. Bush is now almost as unpopular as Richard Nixon or Jimmy Carter at the nadirs of their political fortunes. Not only is domestic support lacking for any preemptive action against Tehran, international support is close to nonexistent.

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In short, it seems highly probable that nothing will be done this year, next year or the year after to stop Iran's nuclear program. Sure, maybe a miracle will happen and the Iranian people will get rid of the madman and the mullahs. But I'm not holding my breath.


Fast forward to 2016. What does the world look like? One plausible scenario is that it will be a world of multiple mini-Cold Wars, with nuclear powers eyeball to eyeball in nearly every region. To some extent, that's already true. In Asia, there's a Cold War between India and Pakistan, though thankfully they seem to have entered a period of detente.


Japan could quickly acquire nuclear weapons if it felt insufficiently protected by the U.S. against China. South Korea might do the same if it lost faith in American protection. And might a decoupled Europe start to build up the Anglo-French nuclear capability as a response to energy blackmail from Russia? The key Cold War, however, would be the one in the Middle East, with Israel on one side and Iran on the other.


There are those who say that such a world could still be a peaceful world. The acquisition of nuclear weapons can make a rogue regime reasonable, they argue, because — that old line from "Spider-Man" — "with great power comes great responsibility." In a recent lecture at Harvard, the Nobel Prize-winning economist and nuclear theorist Thomas Schelling argued that three things had prevented nuclear weapons from being used in anger over the last 60 years: the nonproliferation treaty, the informal taboo on their use and the fear of retaliation. Nuclear weapons give their possessors influence, Schelling concluded, precisely through not being used.


Yet there is no guarantee that this logic will continue to apply in a world of multiple Cold Wars.


For one thing, the world enjoyed 60 years without nuclear war partly out of sheer good luck, as any student of the Cuban missile crisis knows. In a world of multiple Cold Wars, the risks of miscalculations are proportionally multiplied.


For another, Ahmadinejad does not look like a man who bothers about (Western) taboos or fears (Israeli) retaliation. On the contrary, he is a devotee of the hidden Twelfth Imam, who Shiites believe will return to Earth as the Mahdi (Messiah) for a final showdown with the forces of evil. Among the members of the Mahdi's entourage will be none other than Jesus Christ. After that, it'll be the End of Days.


When Ahmadinejad addressed the United Nations last year, this is how he concluded: "O mighty Lord, I pray to you to hasten the emergence of your last repository, the promised one, that perfect and pure human being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace."


To a millenarian, mutually assured destruction is just another word for the long-awaited Apocalypse. And that, in essence, is why we don't want Iran to have the Bomb. Are we doomed to grasp this only when the mushroom clouds are rising over Tel Aviv and Tehran?

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.

05/09/06: Many commentators are missing dangerous political shift
05/02/06: Put some sugar in your tank
04/25/06: Hu and the dog that didn't bark
04/18/06: Should Americans be less optimistic?
04/11/06: Globalization's second death?
04/04/06: So many ‘special’ friends
03/28/06: Let's get it right about what has gone wrong
03/21/06: Congress is trying to give the world a globotomy
03/14/06: Lame ducks can still bite back
03/07/06: A 19th Century critique of a 21st Century president
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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