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 June 5, 2008 / 2 Sivan 5768

The ahistorical candidate

By Paul Greenberg

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Barack Obama chose St. Paul, Minn., to stage his victory or at least near-victory rally Tuesday night. It was a good way to stick a thumb in John McCain's eye, since the Republicans have chosen to hold their national convention at the same arena.

Yet he overlooked the historical connotations of that site. Beautiful downtown St. Paul is where Walter Mondale delivered his concession speech after one of the most lopsided defeats in the history of American presidential elections — Ronald Reagan's 49-state sweep in 1984.

For his last hurrah of the primary season, he chose a place associated with one of his party's great defeats. It's as if admirers of George Armstrong Custer were to gather at Little Bighorn, aka Custer's Last Stand, to proclaim victory.

It's no a big matter. The de facto Democratic presidential nominee had good reason to choose a battleground state and a battleground region for his big rally. But the choice also fits into a larger, unsettling pattern: The young senator seems tone-deaf to history.

For another example, he invoked the memory of John F. Kennedy in defense of his sweeping offer to meet the world's most dangerous leaders — like Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and North Korea's Kim Jong-Il — with no conditions attached. After all, he noted, hadn't President Kennedy met with Soviet boss Nikita Khrushchev early in his administration?

To quote Senator Obama: "If George Bush and John McCain have a problem with direct diplomacy led by the president of the United States, then they can explain why they have a problem with John F. Kennedy, because that's what he did with Khrushchev."

He did it in Vienna in June of 1961, to be exact, and Nikita Sergeyevich sized up the young president at once. His considered opinion: "too intelligent and too weak." It was just like First Secretary Khrushchev to equate intelligence with weakness. One of his aides was equally blunt: "Very inexperienced, even immature."

In short, that meeting in Vienna — without proper preparation or any preconditions — proved "just a disaster," to quote JFK's assistant secretary of defense, Paul Nitze. The president himself agreed, telling the New York Times' Scotty Reston immediately afterward that his meeting with the Soviet ruler had been the "roughest thing in my life."

Comrade Khrushchev drew the logical conclusions from his meeting with the new American president: The guy was a pushover. The Berlin Wall went up that August, splitting the city and creating a focal point of tension and violence for decades.

Then he decided to tilt the whole global balance of power to the Soviet Union's advantage by installing nuclear-tipped missiles in Cuba. Which he proceeded to do with Fidel Castro's enthusiastic, not to say bellicose, cooperation. Or as Nikita Khrushchev put it in his always refined way, it was time to "throw a hedgehog at Uncle Sam's pants."

The result was the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the closest the world has come to nuclear holocaust. By then John F. Kennedy had learned a thing or two; he never deigned to negotiate with Fidel Castro, and he made it clear from the outset that a nuclear attack on this country from Cuba would be met as if it had originated in Moscow, as indeed it would have.

After a long, elaborate, and nerve-wracking diplomatic dance, complete with a naval embargo of Cuba and many a crisis within the crisis, the missiles were removed. Things had worked out somehow. But it was still, as the Duke of Wellington said of Waterloo, a damned close-run thing — much too close for comfort. And it had its origins in an ill-considered meeting without proper preparation.

And this is the meeting Sen. Obama uses to justify his open-ended, no-conditions offer to meet with some of the most fanatical anti-American leaders in the world, at least one of whom — Iran's nutcase president — has been trying to acquire a nuclear arsenal for years. (And he's making good progress to the regular accompaniment of irresolute UN resolutions against a nuclear-armed Iran.)

Let it be noted that, by the time John F. Kennedy went to Vienna, he'd already served six years in the House and eight in the Senate. A combat veteran and war hero, he'd spent more time in the Navy than Barack Obama, a freshman senator, has spent in the U.S. Senate. And he was still blindsided at Vienna.

By now Sen. Obama has backtracked slightly on his offer to meet the Mahmoud Ahmadinejads and Kim Jong-Ils of the world with no preconditions. Which is a welcome development. But that he should use a young president's diplomatic blunder as an example to emulate. ... Well, it does not encourage confidence in his judgment. To put it mildly, it betrays a marked insensitivity to the lessons of history. Which is troubling.

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.

Paul Greenberg Archives

© 2006 Tribune Media Services, Inc.