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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 Dec. 20, 2006 / 29 Kislev, 5767

The new world order looks terribly familiar

By Niall Ferguson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The death OF former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet prompted ugly riots in the streets of Santiago — and unusually sanctimonious prose in the columns of the Economist. "No ifs or buts," declared the magazine. "Whatever the general did for the economy, he was a bad man."


Bad? Well, few people outside the die-hard Chilean right would deny that. He was responsible for the deaths of 3,197 supporters of Salvador Allende, the elected Marxist president he overthrew in 1973. In addition to those who "disappeared," about 27,000 other people suffered torture. Behind the veneer of austere military self-discipline, Pinochet is alleged to have hoarded as much as $28 million in foreign bank accounts he set up using fake passports. Only his old age and alleged infirmity prevented him from standing trial for his crimes.


Sí, like so many other Latin American caudillos, Pinochet was a sonofabitch.


But the issue about Pinochet back in 1973 was not whether he was bad or good. Nor did anyone at the time anticipate that he would be among the pioneers of the free-market ideas espoused by the late lamented Milton Friedman. The coup of 1973 was not intended to advance the cause of the Chicago school of economics. It was meant to halt the spread of communism in Latin America. Pinochet did not have to be good to do that. As our sonofabitch, he just had to be less bad than the alternative.


Was he? Like so many questions about the Cold War, that can never be resolved definitively. Allende's Servicio de Investigaciones was certainly not above using torture. Would there have been an even worse terror of the left, directed against Chilean conservatives rather than by them, if his KGB-backed regime had remained in power?


With the benefit of hindsight and historical research, it seems unlikely. At the time, however, it was not so obvious — a point made memorably by Jeane Kirkpatrick, who died Dec. 7.


As President Reagan's ambassador to the United Nations, Kirkpatrick was among the most articulate, not to mention feisty, voices of the new right of the 1980s. As a reminder of how the world used to be, her essay, "Dictatorships and Double Standards," published in Commentary in November 1979, deserves re-reading.


Writing just as American foreign policy touched its postwar nadir under Jimmy Carter, Kirkpatrick drew a sharp distinction between "moderate autocrats friendly to American interests" and "less friendly autocrats of extremist persuasion." The particular autocrats she had in mind were the shah of Iran and Anastasio Somoza García, the Nicaraguan dictator, but she clearly bracketed them along with Pinochet, not to mention their fellow sonsofbitches in countries such as El Salvador and Guatemala.


Kirkpatrick did not claim that these men were good. She simply argued that they were preferable to the alternatives — just as Chiang Kai-shek had been preferable to Mao Tse-tung in China, and Fulgencio Batista had been preferable to Fidel Castro in Cuba. South Korea was no democracy in the 1970s, but it was better than North Korea. Taiwan was still a one-party state, but one that was much less brutal than the People's Republic of China.


The reason our sonsofbitches were better than theirs, she argued, was that while conservative dictatorships undeniably preserved "existing allocations of wealth, power [and] status," they also tended to "worship traditional gods and observe traditional taboos." Communist regimes, by contrast, created "refugees by the millions" because their ideological demands so violated "internalized values and habits" that inhabitants fled.


Moreover, conservative dictatorships were much more likely than communist ones to make the transition to democracy because they permitted "limited contestation and participation."

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More than A quarter of a century later, it is fascinating to see which parts of Kirkpatrick's analysis have stood the test of time and which have not.


The most glaring error was her inclination to see the red hand of the Soviet Union lurking behind every popular revolution. It was already becoming clear, even as she wrote, that the Iranian revolution was inspired more by radical Shiite clerics than by Leonid Brezhnev and his merry men. And it has become even more apparent since then that populism in Latin America can thrive without the need of sponsorship from Moscow. Just ask Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.


Another miscalculation was the assumption that communist regimes could not make the transition to democracy. Just 10 years later, nearly all the Soviet client states in Central Europe would do just that, with scarcely a shot fired.


On the other hand, Kirkpatrick was surely right that conservative autocracies would be more likely to make that transition — and more likely to make it successfully. Not only Chile itself but also South Korea and Taiwan were among the many noncommunist autocracies to democratize in the 1980s.


By contrast, the former Soviet republics, including Russia itself, have struggled to make a success of political freedom. It is tempting to say that Russian President Vladimir V. Putin personifies the disturbing tendency of former communist countries to slide back into autocracy. Central Europe may be the exception that proves the rule.


Kirkpatrick's critique of an idealistic American foreign policy also reads rather well today. "No idea holds greater sway in the mind of educated Americans," she observed, "than the belief that it is possible to democratize governments anytime, anywhere, under any circumstances."


Plus ça change, it's tempting to say in the light of recent events in the Middle East. Except that today's failed democratizations are not because of the machinations of the Marxist guerrillas of Kirkpatrick's day. The problem today, from the Horn of Africa to Afghanistan, is more often the interaction of ethnic conflict and radical Islam, a threat disastrously underestimated by most Reaganite conservatives.


Our sonsofbitches are dead (mostly). So are theirs. But the world has not seen the last of self-propelled dictatorship, alas. Despite the strides that democracy has made since 1979, a remarkably large number of old dictatorships limp on regardless of the senescence of their leaders, from Cuba to North Korea to Zimbabwe. What's worse, a new generation of strongmen is emerging, and they are more skilled than their predecessors at disguising the mailed fist of intimidation in a velvet glove of rigged elections.


Jeane Kirkpatrick will have passed away unsurprised that this new brand of autocracy was flourishing in dear old Moscow.

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.


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Niall Ferguson is a professor of history at Harvard University. He is the author of "Empire" (Basic Books, 2003) and "Colossus" (Penguin, 2004). Comment by clicking here.


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© 2006, Los Angeles Times Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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