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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 10, 2008 / 5 Nissan 5768

A Country for Old Men

By Michael Gerson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It is a political error for a candidate to believe that voters who agree with him will always end up supporting him.


There is little doubt that Americans generally feel that the initial use of military force in Iraq was a mistake. Recent, paradoxical polls show a dramatic increase in the number of people who believe that the war is now going well alongside a hardening majority who believe it should not have been begun at all. Barack Obama's strongest argument on Iraq is increasingly about the past.


But presidential elections tend to focus on the future. In spite of their past failures, whom do you trust more to conduct a flawed, messy war in the years ahead? Lincoln or McClellan? Nixon or McGovern? Bush or Kerry? McCain or Obama?


At some point, most foreign policy debates, especially during a war, come down to a binary determination: Is a candidate strong or weak? Voters can disagree with a nominee on many things and still find him stronger than his opponent.


So far, Obama has not taken this challenge with sufficient seriousness. His Iraq approach comes down to three points. First, he has voted twice against funding U.S. troops in the field — a political necessity in the Democratic primaries, but a blunder with the broader electorate. No matter what subtleties Obama attempts to develop in his Iraq position, this will be seen as a symbol of impulsive radicalism, unbecoming in a commander in chief.


Second, Obama advocates a specific timetable for the withdrawal of American combat troops in order to pressure the Iraqi government to take its responsibilities more seriously. (In fact, according to Obama's January 2007 Iraq plan, all combat troops would already be out of Iraq.) But it seems increasingly unfair to denigrate the efforts of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government, which has moved forward on 12 of 18 benchmarks set by Congress, and has recently engaged Shiite militias in a fight the U.S. has been demanding. In many cases, the Iraqis seem to lack capacity, not will — which is precisely Gen. David Petraeus' argument for continued American engagement.


Third, Obama promises to personally negotiate with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Iran's destabilizing support and training of Shiite militias. What might seem a bold strategic maneuver from a Nixon or Kissinger smacks of dangerous naivete from a fourth-year senator.


Obama — the most reflective of candidates — displays little self-knowledge when it comes to these political challenges. When questioned recently about his choice for vice president, he responded, "I would like somebody who knows about a bunch of stuff that I am not as expert on. I think a lot of people assume that might be some sort of military thing to make me look more commander in chief-like. ... Ironically, this is an area — foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident that I know more and understand the world better than Senator Clinton or Senator McCain."


The question here is not self-confidence but public confidence. And Obama's political judgment is exactly wrong. He will have enormous advantages on domestic policy in the coming campaign, on which he seems both more activist and interested than McCain. But McCain leads on measures such as "strong leader." Obama needs to seem, and be, more commander in chief-like.


McCain has challenges of his own. The fortunes of his campaign remain tied to events in Iraq, as they have been from the beginning. And despite undeniable progress against Sunni radicalism, events in Iraq are still inseparable from the actions and attitudes of Shiite militias armed and directed by Iran — an influence that went unconfronted by America for many years. Maliki's uncoordinated attack on the Shiite militias in Basra seems to indicate that while the Iraqi spirit is willing, the flesh remains weak. But the failure of the Shiite uprising to spread more broadly shows that the extremists may be weaker than in the past. And, as Fred Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute points out, Moqtada al-Sadr was forced to cave in at the end. "By going after al-Sadr," he says, "Maliki forced the Iraqi political parties to take sides, and every single one sided with him (Maliki)."


The situation in Iraq, as Gen. Petraeus insists, is "fragile and reversible." But the debate has moved far beyond a candidate's initial support for the war. This has led to an odd inversion of the generational battle. Young Obama's strongest arguments are focused on the failures of the past. The older man, by insisting on victory, is more responsible and realistic about the future.


Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on Michael Gerson's column by clicking here.



Previously:


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


© 2008, WPWG

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