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December 2, 2014

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 August 13, 2008 / 12 Menachem-Av 5768

Georgia should be on their minds

By Jonathan Tobin



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Invasion illustrates the need to see the world as it is, not as we would like it to be


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As the political calendar unfolded in this presidential election year, news analysts often reminded their audiences that the two weeks during August while the Olympic torch burned in Beijing would be very quiet.

The upshot was that during the Olympic fortnight the vast majority of Americans would join the rest of the world in obsessing about sports that they only pretend to care about for two weeks out of every four years. Nobody, we were told, could or should even try to make news during this time period because we would all be too busy gobbling up details about such riveting spectacles as synchronized swimming and team handball.

But apparently, Vladimir Putin didn't get that memo.

Instead of heading to a beach to chill out like Barack Obama or going to a State Fair for photo-ops with overgrown pigs like John McCain, the Russian leader apparently thought this would be an excellent time to play his country's traditional favorite sport: invading and subverting the governments of its smaller neighbors.

That was bad news for Georgia, one of the small independent republics in the Caucasus that gained its independence in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet empire. Though most Americans were, and probably still are, uncertain about the location of this country or anything about it (other, that is, than in the fact that it has the same name as an American state), the attack on pro-Western and democratic Georgia was something that they should care very much about.

IRAQ HANGOVER
It was another unwelcome reminder of something that most pundits have been working hard to obscure for most of the year -namely, that the main duty of whoever's elected president of the United States later this year is to direct the foreign policy of this country at a time when international affairs are more complicated and dangerous than ever.

Despite the evident change for the better in the Iraq war, most Americans are still too turned off by the unpopular conflict in that country to be willing to get too worked up about any other far away place. Few seem to think even the prospect of a nuclear Iran is worth fighting about. So why expect anyone here to switch away from watching swimming or fencing to a discussion of the plight of Georgians whose borders are being overrun and cities bombed?

There's no denying that it's a complicated conflict that can be reduced to a tit-for-tat exchange of accusations about whose independence is being trampled: Georgia or the breakaway republics inside its borders that the Russians have used as a pretext to squash a democratic pro-Western government?

There's more than enough hypocrisy about the principle of self-determination to go around. People here who thought NATO's war to create a Greater Albania via an independent Kosovo carved out of a beastly Serbian regime back in 1999 was a fine thing are now exercised about Putin's attempt to do the same to a far more presentable Georgian government.

Such ironies abound in international politics. Russians who care about the integrity of Abkhazia and Ossetia cheered as their army raped Chechnya. Similarly, those who think a terrorist-led Palestinian people have an inalienable right to create a 22nd Arab Islamic state at Israel's expense don't think the far more numerous Kurds are entitled to one.

But let's not kid ourselves. Putin has taken advantage of a Bush administration that was slow to see the danger from the rise of this former KGB agent whose drive to authoritarian power has been fueled by inflated oil prices. The re-emergence of an aggressive Russia is a threat not only to its independent and democratic neighbors like Ukraine and Georgia, but to the peace of Europe.

However misguided the democratic government of Georgia might have been in some respects, Bush must step up now and use what leverage we have left to make it clear to the Russians that they will pay a price for their behavior. Taking away their membership in the G8 is one possible penalty that might impress the prestige-obsessed Russians that they've made a mistake.

But as hapless as the administration's bumbling approach to this crisis might be, just as discouraging is the general indifference of the public and the chattering classes to the plight of Georgia. While Bush famously erred when he claimed to have looked into the eyes of Putin and saw his soul, Putin has made no such mistake about the current political climate in the United States. He thinks the Iraq hangover we're still reeling from means that we haven't the stomach to resist him even on a symbolic level, and he's probably right.

Indeed, the reaction of many of our so-called wise men to the invasion of Georgia was fear of being forced into a new Cold War with Russia rather than in the consequences of a revived Russian imperialism.

NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT
At Time magazine's blog, columnist and author Joe Klein waxed hysterical about the "overreaction" of the few Americans who bothered to notice Putin's putsch. The influential pundit has been working hard lately with other war critics to pooh-pooh concerns about Iran's drive for nuclear weapons, and burnishing the myth that the issue is a mere device created by Jewish neoconservatives who are more loyal to Israel than the United States.

So it is was not much of a surprise to find that Klein viewed concern about Russia as being nothing to get worked up over. In a bizarre twist, the fact that Georgia actually is a thriving democracy devoted to free-market principles may be helping to turn off those who have come to associate the spread of democracy with the hated neocons and see any policy associated with its defense as inherently wrong.

Others who want to ignore Georgia's plight tell us, in a strange echo of leftist Cold War polemics, that Russia's evil deeds are merely reactions to Western overreaching. But Putin's policy has nothing to do with Kosovo or NATO, and everything to do with his cherished agenda of reconstituting the empire of the tsars and the commissars.

The need to play down Georgia is similar to the impulses to return to a Sept. 10 mentality about Islamist terrorism or to brand those who urge action on Iran's apocalyptic threats of a new Holocaust as war-mongering neocon alarmists. These misguided positions all stem from a desire to see the world as we would like it to be, not as it is.

The antidote to these fallacies isn't the sort of faux "realism" that is merely a cover for appeasement of evil promoted by a failed foreign-policy establishment. Nor is it mere talk about diplomacy from those whose grasp of the issues is shaky.

As American politics reawakens later this month from its Olympic-induced slumber, it would be prudent for more of us to remember that the ability to think clearly and act decisive ly about this sort of a crisis is the most important thing we need in our next president, no matter what his name or party affiliation might be.

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JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

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