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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 21, 2005 / 12 Nisan, 5765

Benedict unlikely to match John Paul's role on world stage

By George Friedman


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | World attention has focused heavily on the Vatican, where the election of Pope Benedict XVI occurs at a sensitive time in global politics and raises questions about the impact that the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger will have on world affairs.

The short answer, in my view, is very little — for a host of reasons, including the odds that the Catholic Church, under Pope Benedict, will focus more on strengthening itself after a series of internal controversies than speaking out on international political matters. But the question itself — of the significance of religion as a geopolitical factor — is perhaps more interesting than the response.

Certainly, a great deal of news ink is devoted to religious matters, and particularly, since the 9/11 attacks, to the role of Islam and the alliances or divisions within the Muslim world. But with that exception, religion has meaning in geopolitics mainly when viewing the great faiths — Judaism, Christianity and Islam — at the monolithic level, as undivided wholes.

It is important to note that this is, in fact, how the Christian beliefs of the West are viewed elsewhere in the world, and particularly within the Muslim world, just as many Westerners have tended not to appreciate the various flavors and attitudes within Islam. The Vatican is largely viewed as the symbol or figurehead of Christianity, in much the same way that President Bush is viewed as the chief "crusader."

Thus, after the 26-year papacy of John Paul II, Muslims are looking with some trepidation at his successor, wondering whether Benedict will take any steps that could undo the Vatican's interfaith reconciliation efforts of recent years. Even a slight misstatement could be interpreted in hostile terms by radical Islamists, and fan at least some fires for the jihadist movement.

However, this seems an overblown fear. The former Cardinal Ratzinger was a philosophical and theological soul mate of John Paul II, and reportedly was the physical author of all major papal documents as Parkinson's disease and other ailments increasingly incapacitated John Paul. A reversal of the late pope's broader agenda would be exceedingly unlikely.

But beyond this, the impact of the papal election will be felt mostly at the level of domestic politics for traditionally Catholic countries, and within the United States.

Considering that, like his predecessor, Benedict is close to the archconservative Opus Dei organization, rifts between the Vatican and more liberal Catholic voices in the United States and elsewhere likely will become more obvious during his tenure.

Again, the significance of the question of succession owes more to the person of John Paul II, a notable catalyst in undermining the Soviet bloc during the Cold War, and the long duration of his papacy than to the Vatican's own relevance in international politics. At certain periods of history, the election of popes has been a relatively routine affair, as the elderly Holy Fathers died in short order. Furthermore, it has been several hundred years since Catholicism — a religion built upon an empire — played an active role in the affairs of national governments or cultural developments. When it did, it was every bit the geopolitical force that Islam, which by definition does play that activist role, is today.

By and large, the global issues that concern the Vatican under Pope Benedict XVI will remain unchanged: eradicating poverty, easing the global debt burden on poor countries, promoting governmental policies of social welfare over those that seek growth at any cost, and opposing conflicts like the Iraq war.

From any logic, the 78-year-old Benedict will be a transition pope, one who focuses on matters of theology rather than politics and works to strengthen the Church internally during his time in office. And therein lies the next intriguing (and thus far unanswerable) question, from a forecaster's perspective: Strengthening itself for what?

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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.


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