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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 May 26, 2011 22 Iyar, 5771

Back to the Pre-American World

By Victor Davis Hanson



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Is America's preeminent world role over?

That's what a recent New Yorker essay, based on interviews with presidential advisers, claimed. It characterized the new Obama foreign-relations style as "leading from behind" -- given the supposed inevitable American decline and growing unpopularity. The president is said to agree with pundits such as Fareed Zakaria and Tom Friedman, who have often outlined the parameters of what the post-American world would look like.

But if American abrogates its preeminent leadership position of the last 65 years, wouldn't the world look a lot like it did in the pre-American days of the 1930s? Then, a Depression-era United States was just one of many powers and reluctant to assert leadership abroad.

Eighty years ago, a newly Westernized and anti-democratic Japanese powerhouse, in the fashion of today's rising China, was carving out uncontested Asian spheres of influence. An oil-, rubber- and iron-hungry imperial Japan claimed it needed more natural resources to fuel its industrial revolution, and so spread an authoritarian Asian co-prosperity sphere of influence as an alternative to alliance with an economically depressed and psychologically withdrawn America.

Most Americans then were tired anyway of overseas commitments. Our ancestors felt that their considerable sacrifices in World War I either had gone unappreciated or had solved little -- not unlike the way we are becoming exhausted by Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya.

A newly confident, united and ascendant Germany was growing angry at other European countries. It nursed a long list of financial grievances over feeling used and abused. Sound familiar? A weak Britain and France had almost no confidence in their own declining militaries -- sort of like the sad spectacle of their impotence in Libya that we have witnessed over the last two months.

Much-vaunted international institutions, like the bankrupt League of Nations, were about as effective in the role of world watchdogs as the corrupt United Nations is today. Europe and America were emerging from the nightmare of financial insolvency.

The so-called international community cared as much in the 1930s about rising, aggressive totalitarian states in Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia as it does today about ascendant China or Iran. Millions of Jews, then as now, heard crazy threats of their annihilation, and desperately -- and in vain -- looked to the protection of the United States.

In other words, the post-American world could look a lot like the rather terrifying pre-American version of seven decades past. Why in the world would we wish to return to it?

The declinists insist we have no choice. Globalization has spread power. America has depleted its resources, both natural and financial. And our prior leadership abroad is something worthy of apology rather than pride anyway. Think of receding postcolonial Britain around 1946 as our model, not the confident, rising postwar United States of Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

But decline is always a choice, not an inevitable fate. America's known fossil-fuel reserves -- natural gas, oil, coal, shale, tar-sands -- are larger than ever. The problem is not finding more energy but marshaling the will to use the vast new sources of energy we have recently discovered.

Our military is not just larger than the alternatives, but vastly larger and ever more lethal. Given the enormous size and productivity of the U.S. economy, we have the means -- but not yet the will -- to rapidly pay down our huge debt. In a world short on food, America is the world's greatest agricultural producer.

Other industrialized populations age and decline; ours is still growing. America is widely criticized abroad even as it remains by far the favored destination of global immigrants. Diverse religious practice is still vibrant in the United States. Elsewhere, it is fossilized in Europe, nonexistent in China, and intolerant in the Middle East.

While riots, strikes or revolutions sweep southern Europe and the Middle East, the United States remains stable and quiet -- despite far greater racial, ethnic and religious diversity. Globalization is still mostly a phenomenon of American innovation and originality to be licensed and outsourced abroad.

There have been plenty of thugs who threatened their neighbors over the last 30 years. Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic, Manuel Noriega and the Taliban were all deposed from rule only by American power. The "lost" war in Iraq resulted in a democratic and, for now, still viable government in place of genocide. Afghanistan is depressing, but the medieval Taliban still have remained out of power for nearly a decade.

In short, the old pre-American world was as unstable and dangerous as would be a new post-American update. But both retrenchments were choices that an unsure and depressed United States made -- not symptoms, then or now, of inherent weakness or inevitable decline.

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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