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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 1, 2010 19 Tamuz 5770

(Even a Few) Words Matter

By Victor Davis Hanson



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was ecstatic after the Munich Conference of 1938. He bragged that he had coaxed Adolf Hitler into stopping further aggression after the Nazis gobbled up much of Czechoslovakia.

Arriving home, Chamberlain proudly displayed Hitler's signature on the Munich Agreement, exclaiming to adoring crowds, "I believe it is peace for our time. … And now I recommend you to go home and sleep quietly in your beds."

But after listening to Chamberlain's nice nonsense, Hitler remarked to his generals about a week later, "Our enemies are little worms, I saw them at Munich." War followed in about a year.

Sometimes deterrence against aggression is lost with just a few unfortunate words or a relatively minor gesture.

Secretary of State Dean Acheson gave a comprehensive address to the National Press Club in early 1950. Either intentionally or by accident, he mentioned that South Korea was beyond the American defense perimeter. Communist North Korea, and later China, agreed. War broke out six months later.

Well before the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979, and sent aid to communist rebels in Central America, President Jimmy Carter announced that America had lost its "inordinate fear of communism."

In 1981, Britain, as a goodwill gesture in the growing Falkland Islands dispute, promised to withdraw a tiny warship from the islands. But to the Argentine dictatorship, that reset-button diplomacy was seen as appeasement. It convinced them that the United Kingdom was no longer the nation of Admiral Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Winston Churchill. So Argentina invaded the Falklands.

Why, after a horrendous war with Iran, would Saddam Hussein have risked another one with Kuwait? Perhaps because he believed that the United States would not stop him. That was a logical inference when American ambassador April Glaspie told him, "We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait … the Kuwait issue is not associated with America."

Saddam invaded a little over a week later.

These examples could be expanded and serve as warnings. In the last 18 months, the Obama administration has made a number of seemingly insignificant remarks and gestures — many well-intended and reasoned — that might be interpreted as a new U.S. indifference to aggression.

Consider the number of apologies Obama has issued to various states that suggest we, not others, are the problem.

To Turkey, Obama said we had often been at fault, and added remorse for slavery and our treatment of Native Americans.

To Russia, he emphasized a need for an American diplomatic reset button.

To the Japanese, he touched on the brutal way America ended World War II.

To the world at large, Obama apologized for Guantanamo Bay, the war on terror, and some activities of the CIA.

To Latin America, he rued our past insensitive diplomacy.

To the G-20, he lamented America's prior rude behavior.

To the Muslim world, he confessed to wrong policies and past mistakes.

To Europe, he apologized for our occasionally strained relations.

To the United Nations, he said he felt bad about America's unilateral behavior.

In addition, Obama has bowed to Saudi autocrats and Chinese dictators. In morally equivalent fashion, an Obama subordinate brought up to human-rights violator China the new Arizona immigration law. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested that we would be neutral in a new and growing Falklands Island dispute. And America has put Israel on notice that the old close relationship is changing.

Turkey is growing increasingly anti-American. A newly aggressive Russia is beaming that we have caved on a number of contentious issues.

The Japanese are distancing themselves from America. British, French and German leaders are increasingly wary of the United States. The Mexican president criticizes Arizona from the White House lawn.

War is now more, not less, likely in the Middle East. In Latin America, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela are as hostile to the U.S. as ever. Brazil is now seeking to assert new authority contrary to U.S. policies.

The lesson?

Even little words and gestures still matter in high-stakes international relations. Bad actors look hard for even the smallest sign that they might get away with aggression without consequences.

A deferential and apologetic President Obama may think he is making those abroad like us —and he may be right in some cases. But if history is any guide, aggressive powers are paying close attention to these seemingly insignificant signs Soon, they may turn their wild ideas into concrete aggression — once they convince themselves that America neither wants to nor is able to stop them.

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

Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.


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