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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 Feb. 11, 2011 / 7 Adar I, 5771

Do Egypt's protests mean American decline?

By Michael Gerson



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | For those who are prone to be prone to such things, recent events in Egypt are further evidence of declining American global influence. President Hosni Mubarak, having taken a lot of American aid, now seems immune to both American advice and pressure. The protesters, one article complained, didn't even bother to burn our flag. We are seeing, according to some observers, a "post-American Middle East."

Never mind that the protesters are using Western technology to demand individual rights. Or that many of the young, secular bloggers who laid the groundwork for the revolution alternate between Arabic and English and have visited or studied in America. Lay aside the fact that Egyptians in the streets have focused their demands on only two actors, the Egyptian regime and the American government - not the United Nations or the Arab League or China. In fact, China's response was to remove the word "Egypt" from its Internet search engines and lie low, hoping the storm passes.

Such considerations should not be allowed to detract from our sense of impotence - a paradoxical tribute to our ambitions. People in Holland or Costa Rica do not celebrate or decry their lack of sway in Egyptian politics. Only Americans feel vindication or guilt at the limits of their power.

Those limits are obvious along the Nile. The outcome of this confused struggle matters greatly to American interests. The emergence of a Sunni version of Iran in Egypt would be a major blow. A democratic transition, even a messy and partial one, might eventually isolate or domesticate the extremists and defuse hatred for America. But the course of events in Egypt is determined by an internal contest of fear and hope that intensifies daily and that America can influence only on the margins.

And the limits of a certain American policy approach in the Middle East have never been more obvious. Decades of aiding a military dictator who presides over a corrupt, unresponsive government, who has managed his economy into stagnation and scarcity, and who has driven most legitimate opposition toward the radical mosque have not produced stability. There's a reason shahs are sometimes followed by mullahs - because religious extremism is the opiate of a humiliated people. Who can seriously argue that the denouement in Egypt will be better because Mubarak cannot seem to take a hint and board a plane?


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But it is a tricky thing to extrapolate these limits into a theory of American decline. Decline compared to what? Compared to the heady, unipolar moment immediately following the collapse of the Soviet Union? Or compared to the coldest days of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union sent military aid and advisers to Syria, Egypt, Libya and Iraq, attempting to block American actions at every turn?

The scholar Joseph Nye describes a layer cake of American influence. On the first level, military power, America remains unchallenged. On the second, economic influence, the world has been multipolar for a while now. On a third level - a transnational realm of bankers and terrorists, Facebook and hackers - power is diffused to a wide range of actors, both good and bad, who now have the ability to sponsor Sept. 11, 2001, or Jan. 25, 2011.

In the complex determination of national influence, those with the best story, the most compelling narrative, have an advantage. In the Middle East, does the old dictator speaking of past glories on Egyptian state television really seem like the wave of the future? Does Iranian theocracy, which in reaction to democratic protests has collapsed into military control, seem worthy of emulation? These systems may be imposed at the barrel of a gun. But on the streets of Cairo, self-government is the hope. It seems the system most likely to result in progress, social vitality and national achievement. And it seems that way because it is.

At least since Franklin Roosevelt, American leaders have viewed the appeal of democratic ideals as a source of national power. America now has less direct control, say, in Germany and Japan than it did in the 1950s. But both countries are monuments to American influence. Democracies do not always do our bidding, but in the long run they are more stable and peaceful than countries ruled by the whims of a single man. Democratic transitions are difficult and uncertain, especially in places with shallow democratic roots. But it is strangely disconnected from American history and ideals to regard a popular revolt against an oppressive ruler as a sign of American decline.


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Comment on Michael Gerson's column by clicking here.



Previously:



01/27/11 No-bend Obama
01/21/11 Two good arguments for civility -- and passion -- in politics
01/11/11 Obama's staff changes give him a second chance
01/11/11 Is Arizona shooting an empty search for meaning?
01/07/11 WikiLeaks gives dangerous ammunition to a tyrant
01/04/11 Michael Vick: Symbol of the second chance
12/28/10 Social Security reform is the answer to Obama's problems --- and the nation's
12/21/10 When foreign policy realism isn't realistic
12/17/10 When it comes to politics, Obama's ego keeps getting in the way
11/26/10 Libs resort to conspiracy theories to explain Obama's problems
11/19/10 With Holder at the helm, detainee policy is a disaster
11/12/10 Blue-state budget crises spell even more trouble for Dems
10/19/10 Obama the snob
10/12/10 Seeds of victory in Afghanistan
10/05/10 Believers' remorse
10/04/10 Pound-foolish on national security
09/28/10 Babylon on the Potomac
09/27/10 Our reluctant commander in chief
09/21/10 Blue strongholds are becoming Democratic graveyards
09/17/10 For the GOP, a bittersweet brew from the Tea Party
09/15/10: Insanity's great enablers
09/13/10: The lost communicator
09/08/10: Will 2010 midterms be 1994 all over again?
09/01/10: Obama's economic wandering
08/27/10: Miracles from abroad
08/25/10: Address these issues in order to strengthen the Tea Party
08/20/10: The lost promise of Barack Obama
07/23/10: Obama's greatest nightmare
02/04/09: The Reality of Innocence
01/07/09: The Risks in Obama's Ambitions
12/31/08: Support Obama Will Need
06/13/08: Prince Charles, Organic Conservatism Icon
06/11/08: No longer a bankrupt political joke but still overshadowed
04/23/08: McCain's anger management
04/10/08: A Country for Old Men
03/06/08: Does the America Need a Hug?
03/06/08: Obama's First 100 Days
02/29/08: Words Aren't Cheap
02/22/08: He Said, They Said
02/20/08: Dying silently in Zimbabwe
02/15/08: Hillary's Unappealing Path
02/13/08: NATO's Afghan Stumbles
02/08/08: Why McCain Endures
02/06/08: One surge that led to another
02/01/08: In North Korea, Process Over Progress
01/30/08: Compassionate to the end


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