In this issue

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 22, 2008 / 21 Menachem-Av 5768

America's global influence spread too thin

By Diana West

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I hate to say it, but both John McCain and Barack Obama are wrong in their approaches to Iraq. On Aug. 18, McCain said, "The lasting advantage of a peaceful and democratic ally in the heart of the Middle East could still be squandered by hasty withdrawals and arbitrary timelines." A day later, Obama mused, "Iraqi inaction threatens the progress we've made and creates an opening for Iran and the `special groups' it supports."

Before I explain, it's worth noting that the era in which the United States has the dubious luxury of focusing on one kind of war at a time, plus Afghanistan, plus too much face time in that so-called "peace process," is over.

It almost seems like bad form to critique the Iraq policies of the men who would be president. Iraq has taken a back seat to Georgia in driving the news cycle, while the candidates are having enough trouble this month picking veeps and keeping up with events coming out of Russia.

But Iraq is probably the direct catalyst of the transformation in stature and capacity of the United States on the world stage, even if the recent crisis in Georgia is what revealed it.

That transformation has manifested itself in what is a new experience for the United States: We are being ignored. Of course, we are used to being reviled, even as we are also used to seeking approval. We are used to being accommodated, taken advantage of, and even, on historic occasions, feared. We are not used to being ignored, and especially not by Russia.

So, what's going on? Here's the short answer via another question: Would Russia be ignoring the United States if practically every U.S. man under arms (even every woman) weren't irretrievably tied up on the quixotic mission of transforming Iraq into a Western-style democracy? I don't think so. We can't follow Teddy Roosevelt's advice to speak softly and carry a big stick if our stick is stuck in sand. I'm not sure if we've become a superpower with the power shut off, exactly, but I do know that Russia is always happy to advance under cover of darkness.

But back to Iraq. McCain, of course, is wrong for believing Iraq is a "democratic ally," peaceful or otherwise. Obama is wrong for believing Iraq is able or even cares to block the "opening" for Iran and the "special groups" or militias, it supports. And the disastrous implication behind both assessments is that there is something worthwhile the United States can reasonably expect to extract from its costly Iraqi investment — namely, a democratic ally and bulwark against Iran.

I don't believe this for many reasons, most of which I've written about before. My sense is that a democratic ally and bulwark against Iran doesn't enshrine sharia in its constitution; doesn't have a prime minister practically itching, as Nouri al-Maliki put it to Der Spiegel, to "prosecute crimes committed by U.S. soldiers against our population"; doesn't have 42 percent of a population which, according to a 2008 BBC poll, believes attacks on U.S. troops are acceptable; doesn't make the U.S. soldiers who protect it pay OPEC prices at the pump; doesn't express solidarity with Hezbollah; doesn't participate in the Arab boycott of Israel. And that's just for starters.

Now, thanks to a Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) report on Iraqi reactions to negotiations over the terms of the continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq — the long-haggled-over Status of Forces Agreement — we have even more Iraqi attributes to factor into our grand strategy, if only our leaders would pay attention.

According to MEMRI's analysis of Arab press reports this summer, "the agreement was intensely opposed by most elements in Iraqi politics," with Prime Minister Maliki going so far as to visit Iran in June "to assure the Iranians that the agreement with the U.S. would not be detrimental to Iran. During the visit, he stated that all influential political elements in Iraq supported rapprochement with Iran in all areas, and that Iraq would not allow its territory to be used as a base for attacks against Iran."

Well, that's nice — for Iran. Now, tell me again how U.S. interests are being advanced by propping up the Maliki government?

From the Iraqi religious world, the reaction to the U.S. side is no friendlier. "Shiite religious scholar Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani voiced opposition to the agreement, arguing that 'any agreement that harmed Iraq's sovereignty in any way was considered a violation of sharia,'" MEMRI writes. "Another three Shiite scholars in Najaf also condemned the agreement, warning that signing would constitute a violation of Islam and bring about a popular intifada. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Hakim, the head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (the largest Shiite group in the Al-Maliki government), also criticized the agreement, since it stipulated a continued presence of U.S. forces."

Condoleezza Rice flew to Baghdad this week to "see what we can do from Washington to get closure" on the agreement. Lots of luck on that. Because with "allies" like these, who needs ... Russians?

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.

at a discount. (Sales help fund JWR.) by clicking HERE.

JWR contributor is a columnist for The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.



© 2008, Diana West