In this issue

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 March 3, 2005 / 22 Adar I, 5765

U.S. overconfidence jeopardizes our ties to Russia

By George Friedman

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As the world focuses on events in the Middle East — where the fall of Lebanon's government and other events are giving the United States a growing sense of strength and confidence — there is a deeper issue developing half a globe away, in Russia.

Despite longstanding problems in Iraq, the United States appears to have stabilized, if not solved, the situation in the four Sunni provinces. And as the Iraqi situation moves from worse to bad to not that bad, it is sparking political re-evaluations in capital cities throughout the region — from Beirut and Damascus to Riyadh and Teheran. Certainly Syria's cooperation in delivering Saddam Hussein's half-brother to the Americans was not based on a belief that the United States was on the run.

These events have also had a vast impact back home. In its usual manic-depressive way, Washington has swung from depression about Iraq to near-exuberance — the Democrats, of course, excluded from the festivities. There is a great deal of reason to be optimistic since the elections in Iraq and the Palestinian territories, but the mood swing is still a bit extreme.

This exuberance, in fact, has had its most intense — and perhaps most unsettling — effect not in the Middle East but in Russia.

The Bush-Putin summit went badly, if not disastrously. The Bush administration's sense that it is getting a grip on the situation in the Middle East propelled the president to Bratislava intending to lecture Vladimir Putin on democracy, free markets and so on. In the past, the Russians have taken such beatings stoically, hoping to please the West and keep the economic pipeline flowing. This time, Bush got the back of Putin's hand.

Two things have happened to transform Putin's view. The first was Ukraine: Officials in Moscow were hoping that their allies in Ukraine would steal the election there last year. They didn't. But fair election or not, Moscow sees what happened in Ukraine as a direct threat to the survival of Russia as a united country.

Ukraine is the southern border of Belarus and Russia. It creates a narrow, 300-mile border between Russia and the Caucasus. To cast that as an American analogy, Ukraine is both Mexico and Canada combined. Russia becomes indefensible without Ukraine.

The Russians believe that the United States initially promised that NATO would not expand into the former Soviet Empire — or if it did, never into the former Soviet states and certainly never into Ukraine. The election of a pro-Western government there raises the very real specter of NATO crouching beneath Russia's soft underbelly. The Russians fear that NATO, or at least some Western forces, will eventually invade their territory if this happens.

The second thing that shifted Putin's viewpoint was the Russian version of Social Security reform. The Kremlin's strategy was to monetize Russian pensions: Instead of getting apartments, for example, retirees would receive money with which to rent apartments. Unfortunately, the payouts would cover only a fraction of actual rental costs.

The domestic situation blew up, and mass demonstrations forced Putin to back down. But the situation really represented a clash between the new Russia of great wealth, concentrated in the hands of a few oligarchs living in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and the old Russia (literally) of impoverished elderly and rural dwellers, who were being backed into a corner.

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From the standpoint of many Russians, if political and economic reform means abandoning basic national security interests and creating social chaos, they can do without it. Putin, who straddles the various camps, cannot afford to appear to be pushed around by Bush. The more Bush pushes, the more vigorously Putin must hit back.

And he has. Within 48 hours of the Bratislava summit's close, Russia announced the sale of nuclear technology to Iran — the last thing Washington wanted to see. Putin also has toyed with the idea of selling anti-missile systems to Iran and maritime bombers to China.

Putin is trying to show the Americans that he has very real options. The Russian defense industry is still outstanding; rumors of the collapse of the state's research complex are very much overstated. By offering weapons to Iran, Syria and China, Putin was showing that he can hurt the United States quite badly — and that he will.

Russia is certainly not developing internally as the United States would hope. But Washington does not have much leverage in the situation: U.S. economic assistance is trivial, and most of it has benefited a very small slice of Russian society. The Russians, Putin included, believe that Washington wants to finish off Russia as a nation-state, and that all the talk about democracy is simply a cover for strangulation.

I'm not sure that the Russians are wrong, but I am pretty sure they won't go quietly into that good night. The manic side of Washington's foreign policy is not what U.S.-Russian relations need right now — especially considering that, like it or not, the United States needs Russian cooperation.

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George Friedman is chairman of Strategic Forecasting, Inc., dubbed by Barron's as "The Shadow CIA," it's one of the world's leading global intelligence firms, providing clients with geopolitical analysis and industry and country forecasts to mitigate risk and identify opportunities. Stratfor's clients include Fortune 500 companies and major governments.

02/28/05: The ethics of torture: Real life is lived on the slippery slope
02/17/05: Hezbollah: The terrorist threat on the horizon
02/07/05: Why are the Chinese moving their money out of China?
02/03/05: Next Pope could, and maybe should, be a Third-Worlder
01/27/05: Decision-day in Iran: Is it for or against United States?
01/14/05: Russia's missile sale to Syria gets back at U.S. over Ukraine
01/06/05: Tsunami realities: Most in need are least likely to get help

© 2005 TMS