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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 July 27, 2006 / 2 Menachem-Av, 5766

How long will U.S. empire last?

By Jonathan V. Last


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The end is nigh. That's the bad news. The good news is that the end of the American moment has been nigh for a long time but hasn't happened yet.

All good empires must eventually come to an end. The Greeks ruled their world for 450 years; the Romans ruled an even bigger chunk of the world for more than 500 years. The British empire - the first on which the sun never set - stretched gloriously from the mid-1600s to just after World War II.

The British empire was the last of the Old World empires to dissipate. The first World War ended the Habsburg, Hohenzollern and Ottoman empires; the second World War finished the French, Dutch, Belgian and Portuguese empires. But so strong is the imperial essence that even today, half a century after they gave up their mantle, the Brits still occupy an enormous - and outsized - part of the global consciousness. The imperial afterglow can last a very long time. Just ask one of your Greek friends.

Modern America is, as Niall Ferguson puts it, "a peculiar kind of empire." America is "vastly wealthy," Ferguson notes in his book "Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire." "It is militarily peerless. It has astonishing cultural reach." Yet America undertakes military adventures only sparingly, and when it does so, has decidedly mixed results. Save a few small historical protectorates, we do not have territorial holdings. And we do not send forth large numbers of people to settle in distant lands.

Nonetheless, we are an empire. And as with all empires before us, our moment will someday end. The question is: How?

We used to know the answer for sure: The U.S.S.R. and the bomb. Every era gives rise to its own doomsday scenario, and during the Cold War we feared mutually assured destruction and nuclear holocaust. The culture was overflowing with movies such as "On the Beach," "Fail-Safe" and "The Day After"; the nuclear freeze movement was born, and the Doomsday Clock was started.

That apocalypse never materialized. After 1989, the focus turned to China, with book titles such as "The Coming Conflict With China," by Richard Bernstein and Ross H. Munro, and "The China That Can Say No," by Zhang Zangzang and others. But China now seems so monstrously large as to be nearly ungovernable. Even if the country can be controlled, the Chinese have historically had regional, rather than global, ambitions.

After Sept. 11 of course, the end-of-the-world worries ran toward terrorism. Would it be a nuclear device in Baltimore's harbor, or perhaps a bioweapon plague, that brought an end to the American empire? Or maybe a small fire in the Middle East - say, a kidnapped Israeli soldier - might become the Archduke Ferdinand, setting off a regional conflagration that turned into a global clash of civilizations. Perhaps it will be the World War III that does us in after all.

Recent events certainly aren't encouraging on this score.

But before we begin polishing America's eulogy, there are two reasons to wonder whether perhaps the American empire could be endless, that it might stretch, asymptotically, out to the horizon.

The first is that, empirically speaking, our empire isn't very imperial. We have few land possessions outside our presently established physical borders. There are no colonies to rebel, no land or physical resources to lose. We have nothing of which to divest ourselves.

The second is that America is an ideological, not a geographic or ethnic, construct. Being an "American" means about as much as being a "New Yorker." You can be from Kansas or Puerto Rico or Indonesia, but once you move to the Big Apple, you're part of it.

It's the same with America.

"The United States," Ferguson notes, "is an importer of people. ... (A)n empire without settlers, or rather the settlers come to the metropolis rather than leave it for distant lands." We lure the world's elites to our shores with universities and shopping malls and an incredibly high quality of life. It's hard for other countries to get a leg up on us when we poach their best talent. We're a little bit like the New York Yankees in that way.

There is a large pool of study in the field of imperial autopsy, beginning with Edward Gibbon's "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" and stretching to include Arnold J. Toynbee's "A Study of History," Correlli Barnett's "The Collapse of British Power" and Ferguson's own "Empire." The two principal causes of imperial demise are external events (such as war or plague) and internal decay.

Our control over the former is tenuous. We can act responsibly and wisely in foreign affairs and still not avoid conflicts or attacks. But the latter are wholly within our power to manage. If we bankrupt our economy or tear at the social fabric, if we make America a less attractive destination, either by not protecting ourselves well enough or by sacrificing too much in the name of security, then we endanger the future of our peculiar little empire.

The American moment may be destined to pass. But we shouldn't hasten it along. And the surest way to preserve an empire is to recognize its responsibilities and place in the world.

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.

Jonathan V. Last is a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Comment by clicking here.

© 2006, The Philadelphia Inquirer. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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