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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 May 11, 2005 / 2 Iyar, 5765

Bush is finally trading ‘soul peering’ for open-eyed assessment

By Robert Robb

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin are engaged in an odd historical disputation.

It began with Putin's State of the Nation address in late April, in which he declared that "the collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical disaster of the century."

In the speech, he focused on the consequences for Russia and Russians: the deterioration of domestic stability and a period of economic chaos and decline; millions of Russians finding themselves adrift in the newly freed satellites.

But the phrase "geopolitical," and Putin's failure to place the problems caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union within the context of the greater good that has come from it, suggested that Putin might be making a broader point — that he was actually asserting that it would have been better, for Russia and the world, if the Soviet Union had not fallen.

Bush rejoined in a speech in Latvia last week on his way to Moscow to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, using language to describe the former Soviet Union not heard since Ronald Reagan's evil empire days.

But Bush went significantly beyond denouncing the former Soviet Union, suggesting that the United States was almost as complicit in determining the fate of Eastern Europe and the Balkans. "The agreement at Yalta," Bush asserted, "followed in the unjust tradition of Munich and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Once again, when powerful governments negotiated, the freedom of small nations was somehow expendable."

This is a gross distortion of the historical record. In fact, the Yalta agreement — reached between Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin in 1945 — explicitly committed the allies to establishing free, democratic governments in liberated countries. In his war memoirs, Churchill said that Stalin indicated that elections could be held in Poland within a month.

As George Kennan, the recently deceased diplomatic and historian, concluded in his book, Russia and the West under Lenin and Stalin, the United States and Britain did not agree to Soviet domination in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. That resulted from the military conditions on the ground and Soviet intent and duplicity.

The outcome was predictable, as Kennan points out. But changing the course of events would have required opening the Western assault earlier than particularly Britain thought prudent or confronting Stalin after the defeat of the Nazis was more certain. At the time, Russia had 12 million troops mobilized, while the United States had just 4 million in Europe with Japan left to defeat. The British had just a million soldiers in the field.

Interestingly, on the same day Bush was speaking in Latvia, Putin published an address to the French people in which he also conflated Munich and Molotov-Ribbentrop, suggesting that both indicated an unwillingness to confront Nazism. But the former was a na´ve wish for peace, while the latter was a cynical division of the spoils of conquest.

It's hard to know what to make of this historical disputation between Bush, an admittedly indifferent student, and Putin, who apparently still at least partially views history through a KGB prism.

Churchill famously described Russia as a "riddle wrapped in mystery inside an enigma." The same could be said of Putin today.

His State of the Nation speech was a strong testimony for building the infrastructure of what Michael Novak has called democratic capitalism: multiparty democracy, free markets, and an uncorrupt government impartially applying the rules.

Yet, under Putin, Russia seems to be retreating rather than advancing on these measures. Putin would argue that a strong hand is necessary to overcome the corrupting influence and effect of oligarchic capitalism that emerged under his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin. But doubts remain about whether he is accumulating power just to ultimately relinquish it.

While the focus is currently on the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran, Russia remains the spot on the globe that represents the most potential danger.

Russia currently has approximately 5,000 strategic nuclear weapons and many more tactical ones. It's in a demographic freefall, with one of the most rapidly declining populations and life expectancies in the world. Its economy is propped up by oil revenues, but is not attracting the investment or entrepreneurial activity needed for a stable footing. Its future direction is a significant cause for worry.

Bush once claimed to have looked into Putin's eyes and seen his soul. Perhaps it is at least mildly encouraging that, in addition to his eyes, Bush is now looking at the historical record and what Putin actually does and says.

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JWR contributor Robert Robb is a columnist for The Arizona Republic. Comment by clicking here.

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