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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

US 'pivot to Asia': Is John Kerry retooling it?

By Howard LaFranchi


Hillary Clinton (c., with Sen. Robert Menendez) welcomed new Secretary of State John Kerry


A focus of American resources away from the Middle East and toward Asia was a major priority when Hillary Rodham Clinton was secretary of State. But it is unclear if John Kerry will follow her approach exactly, many regional analysts say


JewishWorldReview.com |

WASHINGTON — (TCSM) When John Kerry spoke at his confirmation hearing to become secretary of State, Asia experts took notice when he seemed to back away from a key aspect of President Obama's vaunted "pivot" to Asia.

"I'm not convinced that increased military ramp-up [in the Asia-Pacific] is critical yet," Mr. Kerry said at the January hearing. "That's something I'd want to look at very carefully."

The "rebalancing" of America's focus and resources — away from the Middle East and toward a rising Asia — was considered part of the legacy of Kerry's predecessor, Hillary Rodham Clinton. China had been put on notice that the United States was reasserting itself as an Asia-Pacific power. But was Kerry suggesting, as some surmised, that the US would now focus more on engagement with a rising China? Was he signaling that the "pivot to Asia" is no longer a guiding priority?


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Or, as a senior State Department official suggests, was Kerry simply saying that the US, which has played a key role in Asia's security and prosperity for decades, will be cautious not to do anything that might jostle the region? "Anything that could upset [what we've helped accomplish in Asia] has to be looked at very carefully" — including a potentially unsettling military buildup, says the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Whether the Asia pivot is "real or rhetoric" will be answered in the coming months, regional analysts say — as the US addresses the simmering territorial disputes in the seas of Southeast Asia, as it signals the diplomatic attention it intends to give the region, and as it moves ahead, or not, on an ambitious regional trade pact called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

For US officials, the pivot never meant turning toward something new, since the US has been a Pacific power for more than a century. Rather, they describe it as "refocusing" on the world's most economically dynamic region. And they say the US is taking concrete steps to make the pivot a reality.

In November 2011, Mr. Obama announced plans for up to 2,500 US Marines to be stationed in Australia — a first for the US. And by 2020, 60 percent of the US naval fleet will be deployed to the Asia-Pacific, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced last June.

On the diplomatic front, Mrs. Clinton pressed ahead with building up "institutional architecture" for US-China relations, establishing regular high-level meetings.

She also ramped up US involvement elsewhere in the region, particularly with Southeast Asia — a strategic focus for both the US and China. Clinton made a point of attending forums of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) every year of her tenure — a first for a secretary of State.

In addition, Obama had the US join a new grouping — the East Asia Summit (EAS) — and he attended the summit two years in a row. Obama also hosted the first US-ASEAN Summit, held in Singapore in 2009, and then attended annual ASEAN summits, as well as Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summits.

This bump-up of attention to the region by the US president does not go unnoticed by leaders, says Michael Green, a senior Asia adviser in the George W. Bush administration who is now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

"The president's commitment to the EAS may be the most lasting dimension of the pivot," he says.

For some US diplomats, a crucial factor in making the pivot more than rhetoric is the number of largely unseen working groups and other contacts being established on issues that range from trade and investment to e-trade security. Their goal is to boost the region's prosperity while making the US an integral part of it.

So far, the "ramp-up" in economic contacts has largely been accomplished by "juggling" existing resources, but requests in the 2014 budget are based in part on adding new "slots" in both Washington and the region, the senior State Department official says.

"We are taking advantage of revenues that will be somewhat freed up" by the "rebalancing" of resources from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the official says.

Yet despite this evidence of a redirection, it remains unclear if what began in Obama's first term will carry over full force into his second, many regional analysts say. "Clearly the meaning of the pivot a year and a half ago is different from its meaning today," says Dean Cheng, a research fellow at The Heritage Foundation's Asian Studies Center in Washington.

"Secretary Kerry seemed to be saying in his confirmation statement [that] we don't need a pivot," he adds. "We'll see in the months ahead if the political and military and economic attention we give the Asia-Pacific region confirms that that's what he meant."

One significant question, Mr. Green says, is the defense budget — whether cuts can be made while keeping the envisioned redeployment of forces to the Asia-Pacific.

Another important indication of where the pivot is headed will come when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe travels to the White House Feb. 22.

Mr. Abe — who has made no secret since his election in December of the priority he places on revitalizing relations with the US — visits as a territorial dispute between Japan and China over a collection of uninhabited islets (the Senkaku, or Diaoyu) heats up.

How far Obama goes in supporting Japan, with whom the US has a security treaty, will say a lot about how the US wants China to interpret its role in the region, some say.

But other signals out of the White House will be just as important, regional analysts say — such as who makes up the administration's Asia team. Asia analysts want to see who replaces Kurt Campbell, the recently departed assistant secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, who worked closely with Clinton to move the Asia pivot beyond rhetoric.

The region will be watching, too. "In the Chinese view, the pivot was identified with Mrs. Clinton," says Mr. Cheng of Heritage. "Her departure and that of Kurt Campbell will be seen as a weakening, a diluting of the pivot."

Another indicator will be what happens this year with the TPP, a new trade group being negotiated by 11 Pacific Rim countries, including the US. Negotiators have set a deadline of September for reaching an accord, which many say could serve as a template for extending trade agreements across the region.

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© 2013, The Christian Science Monitor



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