In this issue

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 June 23, 2008 / 20 Sivan 5768

Americans should count their blessings

By Paul Johnson

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | One of history's great lessons that everyone in business ought to learn is that nothing is permanent. The world and its component parts are changing all the time, and this year's league tables are outdated by the time they're compiled and published.

The U.S.' long period of expansion has ended, and a time of turbulence and recession has begun. How long will this last? My view is that within a year the worst will be over — unless the country indulges in a spasm of "reforms" that impose restrictive controls on the banking industry and businesses. Overreaction to downturns and adversity is always damaging. The Enron scandal, for example, encouraged an antibusiness and antiwealth culture in the Department of Justice that has done nothing but harm. We must guard against allowing the recent mistakes of bankers to generate an antibanking climate or the excesses of the real estate market to persuade the public that investing in property is foolish. As long as the U.S. maintains its creative traditions of freedom, especially in the conduct of business, it has nothing to fear in the medium or long term. It will still — insofar as such distant projections can be made — be the world's strongest and richest society by midcentury and, indeed, by century's end. The U.S. works — so let's not try to fix it!

A decade ago Russia looked to be almost down and out. Now it's riding the crest of the oil boom with arrogance and a disposition toward reviving its imperialist ambitions in the Caucasus and central Asia. However, I am reminded of that famous mid-19th-century saying, often attributed to Austrian statesman Metternich: "Russia is never as strong as it looks; Russia is never as weak as it looks." Oil prices go up and up, but when they come down they often do so surprisingly fast and without much warning. A country that pins its strength on the current value of one important but volatile commodity is not wisely led.

Of more serious long-term import is the quantitative and qualitative deterioration of Russia's population: its very low birth rates; some of the world's highest abortion figures; and worrying indicators in many areas of health and the tendency of Russians, especially males, to die in late middle age from alcohol-related problems suggest a society that is collectively sick in ways that could become catastrophic if not attended to. What will Russia look like by midcentury? It's frightening to contemplate.

China looms large on the eastern horizon, flooding the world with its cheap exports; producing impressive figures in production, investment and modernization; and striding confidently about the world stage. It's planning a tremendous show at this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing, which will in all probability create an impression of strength and efficiency.

But Mother Nature has reminded us that China remains vulnerable. The recent earthquake drew attention to much that is gimcrack about modern China — from the quality of the concrete used in buildings, especially in the housing and schools of the poor, to the organization of its emergency services, which are better at posing in smart uniforms for propaganda shots than at getting aid to where it's needed.

The earthquake also brought into question the wisdom of constructing huge dams to provide electricity and water for rapid industrialization in a country where such powerful earthquakes are common. Building impressive dams, regardless of consequences, is a characteristic of Communist societies. When the U.S.S.R. collapsed, the outside world became aware of how ecologically destructive and economically inefficient the Soviets' Big Dam policy in central Asia was. China seems determined to make similar mistakes.

For these reasons I am skeptical of Russia's current strength and China's relentless expansion.

What of Europe? Traveling Americans are wont to compare the strength of the euro with the weakness of the dollar, drawing critical conclusions about the way Washington runs things. But Europe isn't exactly a group of healthy societies.

  • Britain is undergoing turbulence similar to that in the U.S. but will likely take much longer to emerge from it. Its political parties are in complete disarray.

  • France is beset by strikes, high unemployment and bitter public feeling over rising prices and the lack of opportunities for the young. The vast number of 18-to-25-year-olds migrating to the London area tells its own tale of disillusionment and despair.

  • Italy seems even more desperate in its search for honest and effective government.

  • Spain, having enjoyed a decade of rapid expansion, is sliding backwards again under its weak Socialist regime.

  • Germany is in better economic shape, which is the principal reason that the euro has maintained its strength. But Germany also struggles with high unemployment, much bitterness and low public morale.

There are no political leaders of greatness on the horizon. Angela Merkel has proved a grievous disappointment. Gordon Brown has been branded a total failure after a year in office. Nicolas Sar-kozy is emerging as a lightweight. The fact that in April Italy again elected Silvio Berlusconi premier reminds me of what Dr. Johnson said of second marriages: "the triumph of hope over experience."

But the world continues to change. Some countries rise, others fall, and nothing is static. Americans have no good reason to doubt their future — and should count their blessings.

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.


Click HERE to purchase it at a discount. (Sales help fund JWR.).

Eminent British historian and author Paul Johnson's latest book is "American Presidents Eminent Lives Boxed Set: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant". Comment by clicking here.


05/20/08: Pajamas for Presidents
05/13/08: Literary woodlice boring needless holes in biographical bedposts
04/01/08: When markets come crashing down, send for the man with the big red nose
04/01/08: Quality for dinner. Pass the Fairy Liquid, Old Boy
03/25/08: In search of an American President with brains and guts
03/18/08: Technological warfare against mice won't work. Try cats
03/11/08: What is a genius? We use the word frequently but surely, to guard its meaning, we should bestow it seldom
03/03/08: Fiction as a crutch to get one through life
02/26/08: Impatience + Greed = Trouble
02/13/08: Shakespeare, Neo-Platonism and Princess Diana
02/07/08: Where Industry Has Failed Us
12/19/07: People who put their trust in human power delude themselves
12/12/07: What is aggression?
12/04/07: Pursuing success is not enough
11/07/07: Are famous writers accident-prone?
10/31/07: Courage needed to disarm Iran
09/20/07: Who Will Say ‘I Promise to Lay Off’?
07/24/07: Greed is safer than power-seeking
04/02/07: Benefactors must be hardheaded
03/07/07: American idealism and realpolitik
11/28/06: Space: Our ticket to survival
10/24/06: Envy is bad economics
10/11/06: Better to Borrow or Lend? Rethinking conventional wisdom
08/22/06: Don't practice legal terrorism
08/08/06: A summer rhapsody for a pedal-bike
08/03/06: Why is there no workable philosophy of music?
07/11/06: Historically speaking, energy crisis is America's opportunity
07/06/06: The misleading dimensions of persons and lives
06/06/06: First editions are not gold
05/23/06: A downright ugly man need never despair of attracting women, even pretty ones
04/25/06: Was Washington right about political parties?
04/12/06: Let's Have More Babies!
04/05/06: For the love of trains
03/29/06: Lincoln and the Compensation Culture
03/22/06: Bottle-beauties and the globalised blond beast
03/15/06: Europe's utopian hangover
03/08/06: Kindly write on only one side of the paper
02/28/06: Creators versus critics
02/21/06: The Rhino Principle

© 2006, Paul Johnson