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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 7, 2013/ 27 Iyar, 5773

Statecraft as malpractice

By Rich Lowry




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Someone had to take the fall for President Barack Obama thoughtlessly drawing a "red line" threatening serious consequences if Syria used chemical weapons. It turns out that it is the president himself.

Senior officials explained to The New York Times that last August, the president's advisers had no idea he was going to boldly issue a red-line warning. The president was "unscripted," according to one official. In this perilously untelepromptered state, he accidentally made a statement that sounded like it was fraught with foreboding.

"We have been very clear to the Assad regime," the president said, "but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus." The phrase "red line" is a term of art usually denoting the trigger for the use of force.

We are now told by the officials that the red line was merely a gaffe, although evidently a serial gaffe. In March, Vice President Joe Biden said, "We've set a clear red line against the use [or] the transfer of those weapons." A couple of weeks later, the president drew the red line again. "We will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons," he said, adding, "The world is watching; we will hold you accountable."

With intelligence indicating that chemical weapons were used in Syria, the president has been crab-walking away from his formerly stalwart stance. Trying to contort himself out of a falsehood in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Bill Clinton infamously insisted, "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is." For Obama, it depends on the meaning of "red," "line" and "accountable." All these words present such complex definitional challenges that it is impossible for the layman to grasp the subtleties of his pensees.

Yes, perhaps chemical weapons were used in Syria, but were "a bunch" used, or even more importantly, "a whole bunch"? Who is to say that the president's calculus, in keeping with his fearsome warnings, hasn't "changed"? He used to think about what to do if Syria deployed chemical weapons, and now he is thinking about what to do when it possibly has used chemical weapons. The president said, "The world is watching," and true to his word -- the world is watching.

For the president to issue a red line without thinking about what he would do if it's crossed is statecraft as malpractice. It speaks to the solipsism of a president who likes the sonorousness of his own voice and who is so used to striking a pose that it comes as a shock when the world doesn't cooperate.

White House spokesman Jay Carney insists that the president meant exactly what he said. He just didn't say anything. "What he never did and it is simplistic to do so is to say, 'If X happens, Y will happen," Carney explained. Well, he's never said that if the Iranians get a nuclear weapon, he will do Y, either. The phantom Syria red line exposes all his declarative statements as potentially rhetorical fluff. Why wouldn't he litigate his way out of them, as well, when they become inconvenient?

This possibility is noted by friend and foe alike. Surely the Iranians will be even more likely to discount the president's Churchillian statements of resolve in stopping their nuclear program. Surely the Israelis, who just bombed Iranian missiles in Syria making their way into Lebanon, will be even more likely to believe in no red line except their own. Our other allies around the world, who depend on security guarantees that, at the end of the day, are based only on our word, will wonder, too.

Syria presents no good options, and it is important that we have confidence in the intelligence about chemical weapons (it is possible the rebels used them). But the president should never write rhetorical checks that he can't or won't cash. The whole world is always watching.

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© 2012 King Features Syndicate

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