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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 March 20, 2014 / 18 Adar II, 5774

This is no time to go wobbly on Ukraine

By Jeff Jacoby




JewishWorldReview.com | When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990 and claimed it as Iraq's "19th province," Margaret Thatcher stiffened the spine of the first President Bush with a famous exhortation: "This is no time to go wobbly, George." Bush didn't go wobbly. Instead he assembled a great military coalition, which liberated Kuwait early the following year.

What will it take to stiffen Barack Obama's spine?

As Vladimir Putin engineered a Russian conquest of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula this month, the Obama administration met his belligerence with little more than scowls and tsk-tsks. The president and secretary of state repeatedly objected that Russia's power play was out of place in the modern world. "It's really 19th-century behavior in the 21st century," complained John Kerry, as if rapacious land grabs went out with clipper ships and corsets. The White House stuck to that line on Sunday, after Crimea's rigged election to secede from Ukraine: "In this century, we are long past the days when the international community will stand quietly by while one country forcibly seizes the territory of another."


But by now Putin knows better than to take anything this administration says seriously. Sure enough, the monetary sanctions Obama ordered Monday were so ludicrously minimal — they targeted only 11 individuals, bypassing Putin and his top financial backers — that Kremlin insiders laughed. Russia's deputy prime minister tweeted that "some prankster" must have prepared Obama's sanctions list. The Russian stock and currency markets, the Washington Post noted, "both spiked upward in celebration." If the White House imagined that this was the way to get Putin to back down, clearly it miscalculated. Within hours of Obama's sanctions announcement, Russia formally recognized Crimea's independence from Ukraine. Yesterday, Putin signed a treaty annexing Crimea.

This is no time to go wobbly, but when it comes to foreign policy, wobbly is what Team Obama does best. (See under: Red lines, Syrian; Poland and Czech Republic, missile-defense agreements; Iran sanctions, weakened; US military, slashed.) To be sure, "wobbly" isn't the word the administration would use. It prefers terms like "flexibility" or "reset." Yet from the Kremlin's perspective, the bottom line is crystal-clear: American leadership in the world is weaker than it has been in decades. Whether that is the result of war-weariness, ideology, or naiveté, the effect is the same. Garry Kasparov, the former world chess champion who now campaigns for democracy and human rights, wrote the other day that the West "has become so risk-averse that it would rather fold than call any bluff, no matter how good its cards are." And Putin is a cold-blooded poker player.

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a red "reset" button symbolizing the Obama administration's desire to put US-Russian relations on a new footing in 2009. The Russian word on the button actually meant "overcharge."

No one expects or wants the United States to go to war over Crimea. But when will it dawn on the president that a US foreign policy based on retrenchment and accommodation makes the world more dangerous, not less? With the best will in the world, the United States cannot retreat from confronting the planet's bad actors and expect them to reciprocate in kind. Timidity is provocative and invites aggression. The way to discourage hostile regimes is through strength and resistance, not sotto voce promises to be more flexible, or lectures about "19th-century behavior."

It is ironic that a president who came to office repudiating George W. Bush's policies has replicated one of his most unfortunate blunders. Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, and seized two regions of the country (South Ossetia and Abkhazia) that it controls to this day. Bush responded with little more than a scolding. Russia's "brutal" attack on its neighbor, he said, "is unacceptable in the 21st century." Had the United States backed Georgia then with more than mere words and forced Russia to disgorge its conquests, might Putin have been deterred six years later from hatching his Anschluss with Crimea?

All we know for sure is that Russia paid no price for its illegal aggression against Georgia, and so far it has paid no price — other than Obama's paltry sanctions — for its raid on Ukraine. Like bullies and thugs from time immemorial, Putin will keep finding new victims to target. The more he is allowed to get away with, the more he will demand. You don't have to go back to the 19th century to know that it's folly to try to appease the unappeasable.

Jeff Jacoby Archives

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist.

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