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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 Aug 17, 2012 / 29 Menachem-Av, 5772

What did Obama promise the Kremlin, and why isn't it a topic in the campaign debate?

By Clifford D. May








JewishWorldReview.com | National security and foreign policy have received short shrift in the 2012 presidential-election campaign. Mitt Romney made a quick swing through Britain, Israel, and Poland to suggest he would repair strained relations with America’s closest allies. President Obama has repeatedly reminded voters that he gave the order to kill Osama bin Laden. That’s about it.

For the most part, each campaign has sung a single note: Romney has tried to convince voters he can fix the broken economy. Obama has tried to convince voters that Romney is a heartless, plutocratic tax cheat and, possibly, a murderer to boot.

Consequential international issues should be part of the debate. Among them: In Seoul on March 26, Obama was caught on tape assuring then–Russian president Dmitri Medvedev, Russian strongman Vladimir Putin’s factotum, that he would have “more flexibility” after the U.S. presidential election. He stressed that this would be “my last election” — implying that once that chore was out of the way he would no longer need to worry about voters and what they think.

What was Obama promising to be more flexible about? The microphone picked up the phrase “these issues — but particularly missile defense.” Putin, of course, has long insisted that the U.S. leave itself permanently vulnerable to a Russian missile attack, that the U.S. not utilize its cutting-edge technology to protect people and property from offensive missiles that might be fired by Russians.

Even good reporters persistently get this wrong. They talk about Putin’s “fears” that American missile defenses would be “aimed” at Russia. But American missile defenses can be aimed at only one thing: missiles targeting America or America’s allies. You aim a spear; you don’t aim a shield.

There are Americans who agree with Putin, arguing that the Cold War doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) worked well and should be maintained. On the other side are those who contend that we now have the technological know-how to prevent offensive missiles fired by any nation from reaching their intended victims, and that we should put this knowledge to use — for both strategic and moral reasons.

This is a hugely consequential policy choice — all the more so following the revelation this week that a nuclear-powered Russian attack submarine recently operated undetected in the Gulf of Mexico. About the same time, a Russian strategic bomber flew into U.S. airspace near California, where it was met by U.S. interceptor jets. And recall that, in May, General Nikolai Makarov warned that Russian forces might consider preemptive attacks on U.S. and allied missile defenses in Europe. Shouldn’t Obama and Romney at least be talking about such matters?

Medvedev, at the time of the March exchange, two months away from amiably returning the Russian presidency to Putin, told Obama: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir and I stand with you.” Medvedev stands with Obama? How should we interpret that?

The major media didn’t really try. The New York Times described the conversation as a “private moment of political candor.” Reuters called it an “unusually frank exchange.”

Few journalists asked for more information, and those who did seemed satisfied with boilerplate responses such as that delivered by White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes: “I think as you saw from their remarks, there was a very positive tone. . . . President Obama and President Medvedev agreed that it was best to instruct our technical experts to do the work of better understanding our respective positions, providing space for continued discussions on missile defense cooperation going forward.”

As for Romney, he said he found all this “alarming and troubling,” adding: “This is no time for our president to be pulling his punches with the American people.”

I’m not even sure what that means. It certainly avoids the most disturbing questions. Among them: Is it acceptable for an American president to promise to accommodate despots on vital matters of national security, cutting the American people out of the discussion?

Several of Romney’s foreign-policy advisers did send Obama an open letter , but it contained a laundry list of complaints — which served to blur rather than sharpen the focus. Since then, neither Romney nor the super PACs supporting him have given much attention to the Obama/Medvedev exchange. There is one ad, available on YouTube only, not broadcast on TV, that makes light of the affair, showing the president as a James Bond/Austin Powers character assigned to a diabolical mission.

Senior political operatives have told me that to air a serious commercial with enough repetition to have a chance of engaging independent voters — even just in swing states — would cost no less than $8 million, funds Romney’s advisers think it unwise to divert from the economic issues weighing most heavily on voters’ minds.

Maybe so. But politics aside, election campaigns are meant to be great battles of ideas. Surely decisions about the strategy for defending American lives are worth a speech or two. One also has to wonder: If, a year or so from now, Americans learn what Obama was telling the Kremlin and don’t like it, will they ask why no one — not the “watchdogs” in the major media, their representatives in Congress, or even the president’s opponent — made a serious effort to warn them?


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Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism. A veteran news reporter, foreign correspondent and editor (at The New York Times and other publications), he has covered stories in more than two dozen countries, including Iran, Pakistan, Sudan, Ethiopia, China, Uzbekistan, Northern Ireland and Russia. He is a frequent guest on national and international television and radio news programs, providing analysis and participating in debates on national security issues.




Previously:


08/02/12: After the Fall
07/19/12: Why are we still tolerating terrorists?
07/12/12: Talk to Iran: But this time talk to the people --- not their oppressors
07/05/12: New York Times v. Adelson
06/28/12: Lose LOST
06/21/12: The Trouble with Multiculturalism
06/07/12: The Battle of Syria
05/31/12: Whose Middle East Policy Is It, Anyway?
05/24/12: What Iran's Rulers Want
05/17/12: Missile Defense Is for Wimps
05/10/12: The Real Palestinian Refugee Problem
05/03/12: The Foggiest War
04/19/12: Law Games
04/19/12: Liberate 'Zones of Electronic Repression'!
04/12/12: Dare we actually listen to the Islamists?
04/05/12: Lone-wolf terrorists are a growing threat. Moderate Muslims are among those in the crosshairs
03/29/12: The Diplomats' Dilemma
03/22/12: 'Destroy All the Churches'
03/15/12: A Guide for the Perplexed Fareed Zakaria
03/08/12: How to Stop Putting Gas in the Islamist Tank
03/01/12: (War) Crimes and Punishment
02/24/12: Al-Qaeda's Big Fat Iranian Wedding
02/16/12: Listening to the Syrian Resistance
02/09/12: Are Sanctions Working? If the purpose is to penalize Iran's rulers for their crimes and discourage civilized people from buying blood oil, yes
01/26/12: If Pakistan fails it, there must be consequences
01/19/12: How terrorists lose their stigma
01/12/12: Muslims Attacked! But they are the wrong types of Muslims, so who cares?
01/06/12: The Historian, the Diplomat, and the Spy
12/29/11: Iran and Al-Qaeda: Together again for the first time
12/22/11: The Case for Palestinian Nationalism
12/15/11: What's Islam Got to Do with It?
12/09/11: Buried Treasure
11/24/11: What Would the Gipper Do?
11/17/11: Appease, temporize, posture and gesture?
11/11/11: Brave New Transnational Progressive World
11/03/11: What's Wrong with Economic Justice?
10/27/11: Autocracies United
10/20/11: The most critical threat confronting America
10/13/11: We've Been Warned
10/06/11: Anwar Al-Awlaki's American Journey
09/22/11: Cheney Got It Right on Syrian Nukes
09/15/11: The European Caliphate
09/08/11: Disoriented: The state of too many Western leaders ten years after 9/11/01
09/01/11: Palestinian Leaders to Seek the UN's Blessing . . . for a two-state solution. For a two-stage execution
08/25/11: Better understanding of Islamist experience needed
08/18/11: The Arab Spring and Europe's fall
08/11/11: Borrowing from Communists to pay Jihadis?
07/28/11: Who's to Blame for Terrorism?
07/28/11: Do Somali pirates have legitimate gripe?
07/21/11: Why Bashar al-Assad matters to the West--- and what the Obama administration still doesn't grasp
07/07/11: MAD in the 21st Century





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