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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 April 1, 2008 / 25 Adar II 5768

On the beauty of ambiguity

By Paul Greenberg


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Peace, it's wonderful. So are some other things — like democracy, common sense and practical policies as opposed to angry slogans. The latest election results from Taiwan, aka the Republic of China, represent a victory for all of those.


The results were not only a landslide victory (58 percent of the vote) for the Kuomintang, or Nationalists, but a well deserved slap at the current, ever controversial president and leader of the other party, the Democratic Progressives.


Ineligible to succeed himself as president, Chen Shui-bian has been bad news for years, a veritable poster boy for term limits. His push for an independent Taiwan, which Red China considers a breakaway province, provoked not only Beijing but Washington, for this country has a very real stake in preserving the peace of the region.


It got so bad at one point — in late 2003 — that President Bush publicly reproved Taiwan's president, and blocked American sales of advanced warplanes to that beleaguered island.


Taiwan's voters now have proved far more responsible than their troublesome president. They not only turned to the opposition party in this election, but, by soundly defeating two referenda, turned down his idea of applying for separate United Nations membership under the name of Taiwan.


With the other, huge China wielding a veto at the UN, the whole idea was never going to go anywhere. It was just another showy provocation, and Taiwan's voters had the good sense to realize it.


It was hard to see what purpose these referenda were supposed to serve except the same one that mischievous little boys have when they tease bulls — and risk getting gored.


Back in 1992, Taiwan and the mainland signed a formal agreement to disagree. They agreed that there was only "one China" while not getting into the contentious question of which government was its legitimate ruler, the People's Republic on the mainland or the Republic of China on Taiwan. No need to go into detail. Better the vaguest peace than the clearest war.


It was a good sign when Ma Ying-jeou, now Taiwan's president-elect, visited this country in 2006 and spoke highly of that 1992 agreement. Why be needlessly specific? The newly elected president has a far lighter touch then the incumbent, which befits an ancient culture known for its subtleties. Call it strategic ambiguity.


A highly successful (and at the time much under-rated) American president named Eisenhower knew all about strategic ambiguity. He relied on it back in 1955 to defuse a crisis between the two Chinas, a crisis that threatened to drag the United States into war. Back then the flash point was a couple of offshore islands, Quemoy and Matsu, that were being bombarded from the mainland, and returning fire.


Presidential press conferences those days were full of questions about the mounting crisis: How far was Washington prepared to go to back its ally? Would the United States enter the fray? Why fight for those two little islands? Hadn't the president just said he was prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons in the event of war in Asia? (A similar message from Ike years before might have had something to do with Red China's finally agreeing to an armistice in Korea.)


The experts at the State Department urged the president not to say anything about the mounting crisis lest he inflame it, a request his press secretary, James C. Hagerty, dutifully relayed just before a press conference was due to begin. "Don't worry, Jim," Ike assured his aide, "if that question comes up, I'll just confuse 'em."


It did, and he did. The old general addressed the issue at such length and with so much circumlocution that by the end of his statement no one was sure just what he'd said. ("The only thing I know about war are two things: the most unpredictable factor in war is human nature in its day-by-day manifestation; but the only unchanging factor in war is human nature. And the next thing is that every war is going to astonish you in the way it occurred, in the way it was carried out. So that for a man to predict what he is going to use and how he is going to use it would, I think, exhibit his ignorance of war; that is what I believe. So I think you just have to wait, and that is the kind of prayerful decision that may some day face a president.") In short, his response was a masterpiece of strategic ambiguity.


The usual Washington sophisticates called his unclear answer to a very clear question incoherent, which it may have been. The pundits didn't realize that incoherence was just what the situation called for. Only a rare observer like the sage Murray Kempton of the New York Post realized that Dwight David Eisenhower was inarticulate like a fox.


Great thing, ambiguity. As the voters of Taiwan have just had the uncommon common sense to recognize. Thank you, people of Taiwan, or is it Republic of China? Never mind. There's no need to be specific.

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.

JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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