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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 14, 2007 / 30 Menachem-Av, 5767

Diplomatic incompatibility

By Jonathan Gurwitz


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Too bad there's no such thing as eHarmony for diplomacy. Imagine if presidents and foreign ministers could fill out a national profile and be matched with allies by a computer algorithm that prescreens across 29 dimensions of compatibility. That might prevent world leaders from entering into — or sticking with — some obviously troubled relationships.


Take the liaison between the United States and Saudi Arabia. Some of the traits and attributes eHarmony scientifically analyzes for long-term compatibility are spiritual beliefs, passion, sense of humor and traditionalism. Were two nations any less suited for one another?


Of course, nations aren't normally looking for life partners. Most observe British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli's dictum: no permanent enemies, no permanent allies — only permanent interests.


That's certainly what President Bush is trying to promote with a $20 billion arms deal for the desert kingdom — permanent interests, such as the free flow of oil. That doesn't mean he couldn't benefit from a little eHarmony analysis of our strategic bond. The United States may not be seeking a soul mate in Saudi Arabia, but it also shouldn't fall deeper into what is, in some respects, a homicidal relationship.


So many factors mitigate against U.S.-Saudi bliss. Fifteen of the 19 terrorists who carried out the 9-11 attack came from Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden is the scion of one of the kingdom's most notable families.


According to figures made available to the Los Angeles Times by the U.S. military, 45 percent of all foreign militants targeting U.S. troops and civilians in Iraq are from Saudi Arabia. The next most prolific purveyors of jihadists, at only 15 percent, are Syria and Lebanon combined.


A recent report in the Wall Street Journal detailed the continuing role of the Al Rajhi Bank, Saudi Arabia's largest Islamic bank, in serving as a financial conduit for extremist groups, including al-Qaida. According to CIA reports and federal court filings by the Justice Department, the Al Rajhi family has been a major donor to Islamic "charities" suspected of being fronts for terrorism.


American JDAMs — Joint Direct Attack Munitions — are supposed to win over the reluctant Saudis? Don't count on it.


Here's the profile: Repressive society guided by an extremist religious ideology, key members of which are closely associated with terrorist groups inimical to U.S. interests, seeks like-minded partners for war against infidels.


American presidents and diplomats shouldn't need scientific research to know that for the United States, this is not a match made in heaven. And when it comes to Iran, which fits this profile as perfectly as Saudi Arabia, American leaders grasp the contradictions. So why does Saudi Arabia get showered with $20 billion in sophisticated weapons while Iran gets warnings and economic sanctions?


One reason is that in Iran, the clerical regime is inimical to U.S. interests, while the Iranian people, by and large, hold friendly perceptions of the United States. In Saudi Arabia, it is the regime that is, by and large, friendly to U.S. interests, while Saudi citizens have an unfortunate penchant for plotting terrorist attacks against American civilians and military personnel.


Another reason is the serious threat posed to the Gulf states by a huge Russian arms deal with Iran for 250 advanced Su-30 fighter aircraft. Vladimir Putin and the mullahs — there's another terrible relationship begging for intervention. If it's bad for the United States, it's good for Russia under Putin — an eventuality Bush missed when he looked into Putin's eyes back in 2001.


American-supplied Saudi smart bombs, however, aren't likely to keep Iranian fighters out of Saudi Arabia. More important, they're useless against the threat emanating from within Saudi Arabia.


The United States needs its Saudi allies to cut off ideological and financial support for jihadists and close its borders to suicide bombers. That's in our national interest. And, as the eHarmony folks might say, it's the foundation of compatibility necessary for a lifetime of joy.

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JWR contributor Jonathan Gurwitz, a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News, is a co-founder and twice served as Director General of the Future Leaders of the Alliance program at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. In 1986 he was placed on the Foreign Service Register of the U.S. State Department.

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© 2007, Jonathan Gurwitz

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