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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 26, 2012/ 4 Iyar, 5772

Decline or decadence?

By Victor Davis Hanson



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Almost daily we read of America's "waning power" and "inevitable decline," as observers argue over the consequences of defense cuts and budget crises.

Yet much of the new American "leading from behind" strategy is a matter of choice, not necessity. Apparently, both left-wing critics of U.S. foreign policy and right-wing Jacksonians are tiring of spending blood and treasure on seemingly ungrateful Middle Easterners -- after two Gulf wars, the decade in Afghanistan, and various interventions in Lebanon and Libya.

We certainly have plenty of planes and bombs with which to pound Syria's Bashir al-Assad. Never in the last 70 years has the U.S. military been so lethal.

But chaos in Libya followed the death of Muammar Gadhafi, and the anti-American Muslim Brotherhood seems poised to replace Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. Most Americans assume that if we were to remove the murderous Assad dynasty in Syria, the rebels would either show us no gratitude or install a replacement regime not much better.

So much of our sagging profile abroad is simply a growing realization that the Middle East is, well, the Middle East: You can change the faces, but the regimes end up mostly the same -- as innate reflections of the volatile mix of tribalism, vast infusions of oil money, radical Islam, and generations of dependency.

Can decline be better measured by our vast debt of $16 trillion, growing yearly with $1 trillion deficits? Perhaps. But Americans know that with a new tax code, simple reforms to entitlements, and reasonable trimming of bloated public salaries and pensions, we could balance federal budgets. The budget crux is not due to an absence of material resources, but a preference for not acting until we are forced to in the 11th hour.

Do high gas prices and huge imported-oil fees reflect an energy-short America? Not really. There are 25 billion barrels of oil sitting right off California's central coast, and much more in Alaska, the Midwest, the Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern shore. At some point, when gas hits $5 or $6 a gallon, a new generation of Americans will be cured of its smugness and decide to tap trillions of dollars in natural riches.

In other words, the manifest symptoms of decline -- frustration with the Middle East, military retrenchment, exorbitant energy costs and financial insolvency -- are choices we now make, but need not make in the future.

If our students are burdened with oppressive loans, why do so many university rec centers look like five-star spas? Student cell phones and cars are indistinguishable from those of the faculty.

The underclass suffers more from obesity than malnutrition; our national epidemic is not unaffordable protein, but rather a surfeit of even cheaper sweets.

Flash mobbers target electronics stores for more junk, not bulk food warehouses in order to eat. America's children do not suffer from lack of access to the Internet, but from wasting hours on video games and less-than-instructional websites. We have too many, not too few, television channels.

The problem is not that government workers are underpaid or scarce, but that so many of them seem to think mind readers, clowns and prostitutes come with the job.

An average American with an average cell phone has more information at his fingertips than did a Goldman Sachs grandee 20 years ago. Over the last half-century, bizarre new words entered the American vocabulary -- triple-dipping, Botox, liposuction, jet set, COLA (cost of living adjustment), three-day weekend, Medi-something compounds (Medicare, Medicaid, Medi-Cal) -- that do not reflect a deprived citizenry. In 1980, a knee or hip replacement was experimental surgery for the 1 percent; now it is a Medicare entitlement.

American poverty is not measured by absolute global standards of available food, shelter and medical care, or by comparisons to prior generations, but by one American now having less stuff than another.

As America re-examines its military, entitlements, energy sources and popular culture, it will learn that our "decline" is not due to material shortages, but rather arises from moral confusion over how to master, rather than being mastered by, the vast riches we have created. If decline is fighting just two wars at a time rather than three, just budgeting what we did in 2008, tapping a bit more oil offshore, or having our colleges offer more grammar courses and fewer rock-climbing walls, then by all means bring it on.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.


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