Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

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 Sept. 30, 2008 / 30 Elul 5768

Not just a metaphor: Lehman Brothers was economic's 9/11

By Anne Applebaum

Applebaum
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It's very odd to be an American abroad at the moment, reading the headlines in the Herald Tribune, watching CNN report live from Wall Street, waiting for the next piece of bad news.


Ever since the dollar started sinking a year or two ago, those of us who live outside the country have felt as if we were slowly being abandoned by the Mother Ship. Would there be anything left when we next paid a visit to our native land? Or would the world's new wealthy, from Dubai and China, have bought the place up?


But now the ship isn't just sinking, it might well be gone. And it isn't easy to find words to describe how this makes Americans feel, whether they are at home or abroad.


The September 11 metaphor is a weary one: too many events, in recent years, have been described as "a new September 11", or "England's September 11", or even "football's September 11". Still, it might be worth rescuing the phrase one last time.


For if September 11, 2001 was the day that we had to reassess our ideas about America's role in world politics, September 15, 2008, the day Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, may well be remembered as the day we had to reassess our ideas about America's role in the world economy. It's that cataclysmic, that decisive, that irreversible.


Yet while they may eventually be seen as equally damaging, the two events have had a diametrically different impact on our national psyche.


September 11 inspired a national display of unity: Americans mourned together, waved flags together, supported their politicians' attempts to come up with a proper response. In retrospect, it was an extraordinarily bipartisan, even apolitical moment: in the autumn of 2001, there were no significant differences between Democrats and Republicans in their attitudes to the terrorist attacks, though of course those did emerge later on.


September 15, by contrast, divided Americans, immediately and bitterly.


I don't think there's been such a torrent of abuse lobbed at Wall Street since the 1930s. "Greedy" was the nicest thing being said about the "speculators" and "asset-strippers" who are reckoned to have caused the whole mess.


While Democrats blamed "eight years of irresponsibility", furious Republicans, damning Bush's proposed bail-out as "un-American", took aim at their own president, and the presidential candidates became embroiled in the mess.


The fury reached a pinnacle on Friday when Congress suddenly rebelled and refused to rubber-stamp the proposed $700 billion deal. Surely the climax of the day, and possibly the low point in the eight years of the Bush administration, was the moment when the Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, got down on his knees in front of Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and begged her not to block the plan.


There are many reasons why the Wall Street spectacle has created so much antagonism while the World Trade Centre attacks created so much unity, but two matter in particular.


The first concerns what can only be called comprehensibility. Everyone watched those planes hit the skyscrapers, and everyone understood what it meant. By contrast, I don't believe many American congressmen, let along many American voters, really understand the credit crisis, or why it is unravelling so fast.


Nor, let's face it, do many people really understand the proposed bail-out deal. What does a sum like $700 billion, a number apparently plucked out of the air, actually mean? And why didn't the people who now say they know how to spend it do something to prevent the current crisis from happening in the first place?


Things might be different if the nation were led, at the moment, by an administration with a reputation for honesty and competence.


But this, too, is different: in 2001, President Bush still had the support of the majority of the nation, and thus had a wide mandate to deal with the post-9/11 crisis. He no longer has that support and he no longer has that mandate. No one any longer trusts his administration's military and foreign policy leaders. Why should we trust his administration's financial appointees either?


Myself, I think it's too early to say that these events spell the end of American economic dominance: it's just as likely, after all, that they spell an end to the era of post-Cold War prosperity, not just for the US but for everyone else too.


The whirlpool that appears to be sucking down the world's financial companies, one by one, will eventually engulf even China and Dubai, if for no other reason than that Americans are going to stop buying the consumer goods and burning the oil they can no longer afford.


If only fixing the problem were as simple as invading Kabul, or bombarding Osama's headquarters at Tora Bora. But it's not.

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.

APPLEBAUM'S LATEST
Gulag: A History  

Nearly 30 million prisoners passed through the Soviet Union's labor camps in their more than 60 years of operation. This remarkable volume, the first fully documented history of the gulag, describes how, largely under Stalin's watch, a regulated, centralized system of prison labor-unprecedented in scope-gradually arose out of the chaos of the Russian Revolution. Fueled by waves of capricious arrests, this prison labor came to underpin the Soviet economy. JWR's Applebaum, a former Warsaw correspondent for the Economist and a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, draws on newly accessible Soviet archives as well as scores of camp memoirs and interviews with survivors to trace the gulag's origins and expansion Sales help fund JWR.

Comment on JWR contributor Anne Applebaum's column by clicking here.


Previously:

09/04/08: Class of '64
08/28/08: Did Hillary really help the Barack cause?
08/27/08: ‘Show of Power,’ Indeed
08/19/08: What Is Russia Afraid Of?
08/13/08: When China Starved
08/11/08: Two of the world's rising powers are strutting their stuff
08/05/08: How Alexander Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago changed the world
07/29/08:‘The Hour of Europe’ Tolls Again But are European politicians up to the task?
07/15/08: Why Does Obama Want To Campaign in Berlin?
07/01/08: Citizen Athletes: How did a guy who can't speak Polish end up scoring Poland's only goal of Euro 2008?
06/24/08: Why do we expect presidential candidates to be kind?
06/17/08: Pity the Poor Eurocrats
06/12/08: Is the World Ready for a Black American President?
05/28/08: The Busiest Generation: America seems to value its children's status and achievements over their happiness
05/20/08: Leave Hitler Out of It: The craze for injecting the Nazis into political debate must end
05/13/08: A Drastic Remedy: The case for intervention in Burma
05/07/08: A Warning Shot From Moscow?
04/23/08: Radio to stay tuned to
04/17/08: China learns the price of a few weeks of global attention
04/01/08: Head scarves are potent political symbols
03/26/08: The Olympics are the perfect place for a protest
03/19/08: Could Tibet bring down modern China?
03/12/08: Have political autobiographies made us more susceptible to fake memoirs?
03/05/08: Why does Russia bother to hold elections?
02/20/08: Kosovo is a textbook example of the law of unintended consequences
02/06/08: A Craven Canterbury Tale
02/06/08: French prez' whirlwind romance reminds voters of his political recklessness




© 2008, Anne Applebaum

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles