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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 January 3, 2008 / 25 Teves 5768

Can the voters think straight about the one thing we elect presidents to do?

By Jonathan Tobin



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Foreign-Policy Presidency Roulette


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Events have a way of clarifying even the muddiest political puzzles. As Americans prepared to pick the finalists for the presidential contest, the chaos in Pakistan served as a reminder of a simple truth about electing our chief executive.


No matter what the candidates say about their priorities or even what voters say they care most about, the one thing that a president can do is to control foreign policy.


Most Democrats spent much of the past year discussing plans to deal with health care, economic injustice and global warming, while the Republicans danced around abortion, illegal immigration and taxes. But for all the emphasis that's placed on domestic issues, we all know that the president alone can do little about any of those issues.


As Bill Clinton proved, without the support of Congress, even if it is controlled by his own party, no president (or first lady) can enact universal health care. Similarly, as George W. Bush learned, a sane plan for immigration reform hasn't a chance as long as Congress and much of the public don't go along. And the Religious Right should have noticed that having elected three pro-life presidents out of the last four hasn't made abortion illegal.

AN UNTIMELY REMINDER
The president is merely one part of the complex machinery of government designed by our founders. But when it comes to matters of war and peace, the White House is not merely one of three co-equal branches of government. That is even more to the point when one considers that we are still in the middle of a shooting war in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as a worldwide fight against Islamist terror elsewhere. And it is upon that fact of life that voters ought to be concentrating when they choose a president.


For some candidates, the ghastly assassination of Benazir Bhutto last week was an untimely reminder of this very point.


Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee held a double-digit lead in the crucial Iowa caucuses going into the final days of that race. Would the fact that he doesn't know one end of Pakistan from the other convince enough Iowans to abandon him? We'll soon find out. Either way, a President Huckabee would certainly test the power of prayer for many Americans.


On the other hand, there are those who — while certainly not welcoming the prospect of Pakistan coming apart — were certainly glad of the opportunity to remind everyone that this was the subject on which they knew a thing or two.


Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware has never been considered to have a chance to be the Democratic candidate, but he is a certified foreign policy wonk. If Americans want a guy who will enter the White House knowing who's who and what's what abroad, he is the top choice, as anyone who has ever heard him declaim (usually interminably) can attest, even though a lot of it often sounds like the conventional wisdom parroted by the State Department. Indeed, I have always suspected that Biden is running not so much because he thinks he has a shot, but because he thinks it is only fair to give Americans one more chance to do the right thing and elect him.


But even in the unlikely event that voters take the advice of Biden's many admirers in the national press and catapult him into the race as a real contender, he will labor under the burden of having too much knowledge and be all too willing to impart it. Redacting a lifetime of foreign-policy experience into digestible sound bytes may still be beyond the capacity of the loquacious senator.


Nevertheless, experience is no guarantee of being a good president during a crisis, let alone having a reasonable point of view. The rationale for the candidacy of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is that the Democrat served as Clinton's U.N. ambassador and special envoy in other trouble spots.


But as valuable as Richardson's experience may be, his positions are not always smart. The Bhutto assassination prompted him to call for a complete cut off of U.S. aid to Pakistan. That may have been a better sound byte than Biden's insight, but it also made as much sense as fellow candidate Sen. Barak Obama's idiotic call for war on that country earlier in the year.


You needn't be a scholar of international affairs to understand that America is presented with a host of unpalatable choices in both that unhappy country and in the rest of the world. Electing a person who might actually destabilize even further a nation that has nuclear weapons is the last thing we should consider.

STRENGTH OF CHARACTER
The Pakistan tangle also should also remind us that as much as many of us (principally the Democrats) have been urging Jews to keep the Israel issue out of the debate, we should still ponder what support for it means in the context of current events.


In 2007, the Bush administration succumbed to the inevitable temptation of trying to manufacture a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, despite the fact that the chances that talks will lead to anything productive or peaceful are nil.


Bush spent his first years trying to break the "realist" strategy predicated on repeated and fruitless attempts to force Israel into concessions for the sake of a peace that the Palestinians had no interest in. Foolishly searching for a foreign-policy triumph that will gain them credit in the Arab world, Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are now having a go at repeating the folly of the Clinton team.


Though their government is always ready to talk, Israelis paid the consequences of similar efforts in the past in blood. Yet this is but one example of how presidents can alter events or become the captives of foreign-policy conceptions that they feel helpless to change.


All of which should lead us to think that among the most important credentials the next president should have is the strength of character to resist foolish diplomatic endeavors, even if the entire foreign-policy establishment is telling him that this is what he — or she — must do.


Most of all, serious voters must think hard about a would-be president's ability to see the big picture, in which America remains locked in a long-term war with Islamists. They should carefully gauge which of the candidates is merely mouthing pro-forma platitudes about backing the Jewish state, and which are likely to carry out policies that will strengthen Israel and weaken those who wish to destroy it and our own nation.


The person who takes the presidential oath in January 2009 will — like it or not — be a wartime president. None of us can know for certain which of the candidates will be the best foreign-policy chief. But anyone who votes for any one of them on any basis but that is sleepwalking into a minefield.

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JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

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