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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 June 16, 2005 / 9 Sivan, 5765

Warm and cool allies

By Victor Davis Hanson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Japan's prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, is busy trying to strengthen the American alliance. In recent months, members of his government have announced new joint military arrangements with the U.S. and announced to the South Koreans that, unlike Japan, they are not to be trusted with sensitive American intelligence.

Meanwhile, France's Jacques Chirac and Germany's Gerhard Schroder have been doing just the opposite. They proudly talk up an all-European military force to vie with NATO and insist their stagnant economies will not resort to the American model.

Of course, we saw these markedly different approaches to relations with the U.S. most starkly over the war in Iraq. Japan sent troops immediately, while Germany and France actively opposed American efforts to topple Saddam Hussein.

Japan, however, hasn't always been so warm nor Europe so cool to the U.S., and current global strategic realities largely explain their quite different attitudes to America. Like the trans-Atlantic relationship, the Japanese-American partnership arose from the ashes of World War II, and in the 1970s and 1980s Japan was every bit as prone to fits of anti-Americanism.

Japanese leftists once pushed for withdrawal of American troops. The right in Japan used to lecture us about the superiority of Japan Inc. and brag of a new defiant generation "that could just say no" to American nagging about fair trade.

Fury over our bases in Okinawa always seemed to exceed the European inconvenience about American troops in Germany. Japan had far less cultural resonance with the United States than did Europe.

Why, then, is Japan suddenly warm while Europe is so cool? Is the Bush administration clumsy in Berlin and adept in Tokyo?

No. Rather, the answer is the rise of China and the collapse of the Soviet Union. For the Japanese government, China and its nuclear patron, North Korea, are not abstract threats. Indeed, they are within tactical missile range.

If Europeans dream that Chinese break-neck capitalism means only lucrative business, the Japanese fear that such dynamism will more likely lead to a new bully in their own backyard.

If Japan was once experiencing bouts of anti-Americanism when its neighbor China was sleeping, then Europe was relatively friendly to us when we kept out 300 Soviet divisions from its borders.

The moral? Trashing the United States can be a fun sport for some when one nearby Communist enemy disappears but not so for others when another is ascendant and close by.

Of course, domestic politics, trade issues and clumsy American diplomacy also help to fashion the image of the U.S. abroad. Still, a government's anti-American rhetoric is often predicated on its perceived self-interest.

For all the furor over George Bush's "smoke 'em-out" rhetoric, there are a variety of historical and geographical factors beyond our control that determine the relative popularity of the U.S internationally.

The small countries Denmark and Holland were invaded twice last century by a German-speaking Reich. Eastern Europe was swallowed up and nearly ruined by the nearby Russians. As a result, these places will always be more receptive to the U.S. than a larger and more secure post-Cold War France and Germany.

New Zealand, meanwhile, tucked safely behind a shielding Australia tends to embrace anti-Americanism. If a naked New Zealand faced Communist China, Islamic Indonesia and Malaysia and nuclear North Korea, then it might be more receptive to the visits of U.S. warships.

In calmer times, South Korea heralded its "Sunshine" policy of engaging the North. Predictable anti-Americanism followed.

But after a failed policy of appeasement, the shocking disclosure of North Korean nuclear capability and some scary rhetoric by Kim Jong Il, trashing the United States fell out of fashion in Seoul. That South Korean about-face was understandable when the U.S. announced it was sending some American soldiers off the DMZ and down to Pusan — or home.

Perceptions of the U.S. are also in constant flux. Greece, for example, was once the most anti-American state in Europe, nursing understandable wounds over past American support for creepy dictators in Athens.

But the European Union is no longer a cash cow and still without military muscle — and thus of dubious value in a scrape. At the same time Greece's age-old rival, Turkey, shows disturbing signs of Islamic fundamentalism, conducts provocative flights in the Aegean, and talks tough on Cyprus. Suddenly for the Greeks, the conciliatory and militarily powerful United States and its Sixth Fleet don't seem so hegemonic after all.

Then there's India, once the Third-World reservoir of anti-Americanism. But given easily imported American jobs, fears of a rival China and worries about radical Islam, both at home and across the border in nuclear Pakistan, India no longer views the United States as a potential adversary.

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Through all of this vacillating, the behavior of the American superpower stays about the same. And despite all the shouting and angry editorials, a nation that is strong, democratic and willing to help does not look too bad.

After Iraq, we think that the loud hostility of Germany, France and the Arab autocracies represents a global consensus. It doesn't.

The world changes as we speak. With new economic powerhouses like China and India, universal concerns about terrorism and Muslim fundamentalism, and the public recognition of how weak both the European Union and the United Nations are in a real pinch, expect easy, fashionable anti-Americanism to recede.

Indeed, it had already has. Just ask a warm Japan — and look soon for the same change of mood in a once cool but now increasingly vulnerable and worried Europe.

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 military historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Comment by clicking here.


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