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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 Oct 27, 2011 / 29 Tishrei, 5772

Autocracies United

By Clifford D. May



Russia's Dmitry Medvedev (L) shakes hands with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Baku, November 18, 2010




"Reset" with Russia and "engagement" with Iran have failed. Here's why.


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Diplomacy is not a science but sometimes diplomatic theories can be tested. As a presidential candidate, Barrack Obama hypothesized that relations with both Iran and Russia could be much improved. The key was offering respect and demonstrating a commitment to engagement and compromise.

So on January 28, 2009, Obama gave his first sit-down interview as President of the United States to Al Arabiya, the pan-Arab satellite network. He said he thought it important "to talk to Iran, to express very clearly where our differences are, but where there are potential avenues for progress. [I]f countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us."

A few days later, on February 7, Vice President Joseph Biden addressed the 45th Munich Conference on Security Policy on behalf of "an administration that's determined to set a new tone not only in Washington, but in America's relations around the world." He repeated Obama's offer to Iran, proposing, even more ambitiously, that the U.S. and Iran undertake "a shared struggle against extremism."

Biden then reached out in another direction, saying it was “time to press the reset button and to revisit the many areas where we can and should be working together with Russia.” The following month, in Geneva, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a red button on which the Russian word for reset was written. Or so she thought. The correct term would have been perezagruzka; instead, the word used was peregruzka — which means “overload” or “overcharged.” The Russian daily newspaper Kommersant ran on its front page a picture of the button, with the caption: “Sergei Lavrov and Hillary Clinton pushed the wrong button.”


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The results since then: continuing manipulation, intimidation and censorship of the Russian press; continuing bullying of and aggression against former Soviet states; support for Iran's nuclear weapons program; multiple murders in Chechnya (not a cause of significant outrage in the Muslim world); cronyism, corruption and the oppression of dissidents and political opponents including Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the once-prominent industrialist who dared challenge the political order. Tuesday marked the 8th anniversary of his incarceration.

And this month, Russia, along with China, vetoed what Ambassador Susan Rice called a "vastly watered down" Security Council resolution criticizing the "violence, torture, and persecution" being inflicted on peaceful protestors by the Assad regime in Syria, Iran's most important Arab client.

Rice appeared shocked. She declared the United States "outraged" that Russia and China had "utterly failed to address an urgent moral challenge and a growing threat to regional peace and security." She dismissed Russian and Chinese explanations for their position as "a cheap ruse by those who would rather sell arms to the Syrian regime than stand with the Syrian people."

Yes, but that's not the half of it. In Russia under Vladimir Putin, who has wielded power since December 1999, communism has been succeeded not by liberal democracy but by autocracy at home and what might be called neo-Sovietism abroad. Putin believes Russia has a right to again be a "great power" and that most Russians support that goal.

This has been apparent for some time. Robert Kagan, in "The Return of History," his brief but insightful 2008 book, concluded that, "Great power nationalism has returned to Russia and with it traditional power calculations and ambitions."

Kagan puts this into historical context, noting that there is no international consensus on the optimal form of governance. On the contrary, "the struggle between liberalism and autocracy has endured since the Enlightenment." It was not settled by World War I or World War II or by the Cold War. Those who rule Russia, as well as those who rule China, Iran, Syria and many other nations are committed to maintaining strong central governments, "managing" their populations through coercion, harassment, imprisonment and when necessary -- or even just convenient -- murder, as well as maximizing power on the world stage through whatever means are available.

"The modern liberal mind," Kagan argues, "may not appreciate the enduring appeal of autocracy in this globalized world." But autocrats, he adds, really do "believe in autocracy. They see it as a superior form of government. As have rulers and prominent political thinkers going back to Plato and Aristotle, they regard democracy as the rule of the licentious, greedy, and ignorant mob" which renders it inherently weak, unstable and chaotic. Recent events, not only in modern Greece, no doubt reinforce this view.

Much as we might wish otherwise, the ideal of an "international community" that embraces peace, freedom, human and civil rights, tolerance, democracy and the rule of law as universal values is a fiction, a fantasy, a pipe dream.

The autocrats' foreign policy priority: to make the world safe for themselves. Had Ambassador Rice understood that, she would have expected the Russian and Chinese vetoes. If President Obama and Secretary Clinton grasped that they'd recognize that Putin will agree to no resets of the relationship that do not benefit Russia and disadvantage the United States.

For example, in the missile defense negotiations now under way, led by Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher, the Russians are seeking legally binding assurances that no American missile defense system will be effective against Russian missiles. In other words: Putin wants us to agree to remain vulnerable to his nuclear weapons. That we are even considering this demand is astonishing and appalling.

It should by now be apparent: The 21st century has ushered in an era of competition among three divergent visions of how mankind should be governed. Liberal democracy is one. Autocracy is a second. The third is Islamism - which it would not be inaccurate to describe as theocratic autocracy. In any case, more and more, the autocrats and Islamists have been finding common ground and making common cause against their common enemy: liberal democracies.

Putin supports the regimes that rule Syria and Iran not least because their aim is to diminish the United States -- which Putin sees as consistent with Russia's national interest and the interest of what might be called the United Autocratic Nations.

Putin has made very clear that he is a committed autocrat, not an aspiring democrat. The Age of Obama has changed neither his policies nor his personality. A Machiavellian if ever there was one, he would rather be feared than loved. Similarly, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei does not crave the respect and friendship of Western infidels. He holds President Obama in no higher esteem than he held President Bush. Those who rule Syria, China, Venezuela and other autocratic countries are not interested in what we call "reform." They are not seeking membership in the liberal democratic country club.

President Obama has conducted a meaningful experiment. But now the data are in: They indicate that American policies require readjustment - they need to be reset - in line with what we should by now have learned.


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Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism. A veteran news reporter, foreign correspondent and editor (at The New York Times and other publications), he has covered stories in more than two dozen countries, including Iran, Pakistan, Sudan, Ethiopia, China, Uzbekistan, Northern Ireland and Russia. He is a frequent guest on national and international television and radio news programs, providing analysis and participating in debates on national security issues.



Previously:


10/20/11: Autocracies United
10/13/11: We've Been Warned
10/06/11: Anwar Al-Awlaki's American Journey
09/22/11: Cheney Got It Right on Syrian Nukes
09/15/11: The European Caliphate
09/08/11: Disoriented: The state of too many Western leaders ten years after 9/11/01
09/01/11: Palestinian Leaders to Seek the UN's Blessing . . . for a two-state solution. For a two-stage execution
08/25/11: Better understanding of Islamist experience needed
08/18/11: The Arab Spring and Europe's fall
08/11/11: Borrowing from Communists to pay Jihadis?
07/28/11: Who's to Blame for Terrorism?
07/28/11: Do Somali pirates have legitimate gripe?
07/21/11: Why Bashar al-Assad matters to the West--- and what the Obama administration still doesn't grasp
07/07/11: MAD in the 21st Century





© 2011, Scripps Howard News Service