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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 8, 2014 / 8 Iyar, 5774

What do the Putins of the world want?

By Victor Davis Hanson




JewishWorldReview.com | Vladimir Putin's Russia is a disaster of a declining population, corruption, authoritarianism, a warped economy and a high rate of alcoholism.

Why, then, would Putin want to ruin additional territory in Crimea and Ukraine the way that he has wrecked most of Russia?

Doesn't Russia have enough land for its diminishing population? Are there not enough minerals, timber, gas and oil for Putin's kleptocrats?

In the modern age, especially since Karl Marx, we rationalize the causes of wars as understandable fights over real things, like access to ports, oil fields, good farmland and the like. Yet in the last 2,500 years of Western history, nations have just as often invaded and attacked each other for intangibles. The historian Thucydides wrote that the classical Athenians had won and kept their empire mostly out of "fear, honor and self-interest."

Maybe that was why most battles in ancient Greece broke out over rocky and mountainous borderlands. Possession of these largely worthless corridors did not add to the material riches of the Spartans, Thebans or Athenians. But dying for such victories did wonders for their national pride and collective sense of self.

Why did the Argentine dictatorship invade the British Falkland Islands in 1982? The great Argentine novelist Jorge Luis Borges dismissed the entire Argentine-British dispute over the isolated, windswept rocks as a pathetic fight between "two bald men over a comb."

Taking the "Malvinas" apparently was critical to restoring the Argentine dictatorship's lost pride. In contrast, the descendants of Lord Nelson were not about to allow a few peacock generals to insult the honor of the British Royal Navy.

Doesn't China have enough land without starting a beef with Japan over the uninhabited Senkaku Islands? While there may be some oil in the vicinity, apparently both sides see these desolate mountainous islets as symbols of more important issues of national prestige and will. Lose the Senkaku Islands and what larger island goes next?

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Saddam Hussein had enough land without invading Iran in 1980. But his impoverished Iraqis grew terrified of revolutionary Shiite Iran and lashed out. Iraq also had enough oil without taking Kuwait in 1990. But occupying it made Iraqis proud at home and feared in the Middle East neighborhood.

The Obama administration has tried to psychoanalyze Putin as lashing out because of weakness. Or he is supposedly an unruly kid cutting up at the back of the classroom. Or he is acting out a tough-guy "shtick," as President Obama put it.

Maybe. But it would be wiser to review the historical causes of war, especially why conflicts break out. Aggressors often attack their weaker neighbors to restore a sense of pride. They calibrate self-interest not so much in getting more stuff as winning greater honor, feeling safer and instilling more fear.

Bullies such as imperial Persia, Napoleonic France, imperial Germany, Hitler's Third Reich and Stalin's Soviet Union did not really believe that their peoples would starve without annexing someone else's lands. Despite their pretexts, these empires all privately knew that they had sufficient living space.

These autocracies acted out emotionally satisfying ideas such as crushing an upstart weak Greece, or extending French culture across Europe, or reminding European states that the proud German Volk was as superior as it was underappreciated, or reassuring Russians that the New Soviet Man was at last safe, respected and feared abroad.

Just as importantly, history's aggressors embraced their fears and sense of honor because they thought they could get away with doing so scot-free -- given the perceived loss of deterrence.



Putin, like Hitler in 1939, may be weak in geostrategic terms. But as long as he does not provoke an American and European collective response, he can assume that Russia is far stronger than any one of his next targets.

Like Hitler, Putin does not know exactly which future aggressive act will prompt an American and European reaction. But until then, he is willing to continue gambling that he can restore some more of the lost empire of the czars and commissars -- and with it more Russian honor, influence and pride -- without consequences.

If history is any guide, these emotions are driving Putin to grab things that are not his. Putin acts now because in the era of failed reset diplomacy and recent empty American deadlines, red lines and step-over lines, he feels the old U.S. deterrent is absent or dormant. And he will keep up his aggression until he senses that the increasing risks no longer warrant the diminishing returns of absorbing his neighbors.

We should stop trying to psychoanalyze Putin, arguing that he is really weak or is an adolescent showing off his machismo -- much less that he has legitimate grievances.

Instead, Putin believes that the more he grabs from others, the prouder his otherwise downtrodden citizens will become, the more respect they will earn abroad, and the less likely others will fool with him.

Until that is no longer true, Putin will continue.

Victor Davis Hanson Archives

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

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution and Stanford University.


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