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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 Dec. 13, 2013/ 10 Teves, 5774

Ukraine's drama, Obama's weakness

By John Bolton



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Ukraine's civil conflict strikes many Americans as a distant and unimportant dispute, one hardly connected to their daily lives. Such a lack of interest in international affairs is understandable, perhaps, because of the focus on economic recovery since 2008, but it's badly misplaced given the stakes involved, not just in eastern and central Europe but around the world.

More alarming, and far less justifiable, as a cause for such inattention is the failure of America's national political leadership. President Barack Obama's inattention to national security distinguishes him from his predecessors, Republican and Democrat alike, since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Unlike them, his first thought every morning seems to be not the international threats facing the United States and its allies; rather, as he said in the 2008 campaign, his aim is to "fundamentally transform" America. Only when international affairs cannot be avoided or where potential domestic political gains are manifest (such as the killing of Osama bin Laden) does Obama emerge from his domestic policy bubble.

Republicans also often ignore Obama's indifference to national security. Perhaps they are uncomfortable with the issues, or perhaps they also see no political upside in focusing on international threats to America and our friends. Nor do the media help, giving, for example, limited coverage to a potentially stunning shift in Asia's balance of power — namely, China's aggressive bid to extend its control over contested airspace.



But none of these excuses is acceptable. Statesmen are responsible for seeing beyond today's issues to protect larger U.S. interests well into the future. And if America lacks such leaders, we face no higher priority than finding new ones, and quickly.

Ukraine's turmoil shows why. When the Soviet Union dissolved at the end of December 1991 and its constituent republics, some unwillingly, split off, the West had an enormous opportunity to bring these newly independent states into its orbit. The path was clear, as the central and eastern European states freed from the Warsaw Pact's chains demonstrated by immediately seeking NATO membership.

Russia understood the stakes from the outset, but the West did not. By 2005, Russian President Vladimir Putin was saying unambiguously that the Soviet Union's collapse was "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe" of the 20th century. His objective has consistently been re-establishing Moscow's hegemony in the former Soviet Union's space. While reannexation may not be his goal, Putin clearly wants to foreclose influence by outsiders.

The Baltic republics (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), which had never accepted being incorporated into the Soviet Union, quickly transitioned to the West. For others in Central Asia and the Caucasus, the path was inevitably harder because of their historical circumstances and ongoing conflicts among themselves, although some, like Georgia, nonetheless tried.

But the great prize was Ukraine, lying on the northern European plain, sandwiched between Russia and NATO. Democracy did not come easily to Ukraine because of decades of communist rule, and because of Russia's repeated interference on behalf of its favored political leaders. Politics is often a blood sport in formerly totalitarian countries, and Ukraine is no exception. Former President Viktor Yushchenko, for example, was poisoned, and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, the opposition leader, has been jailed on what many believe are trumped-up corruption charges.

Today's conflict erupted after incumbent President Viktor Yanukovych declined to enter a long-expected economic deal with the European Union, either beguiled or coerced by Putin's threats of economic reprisal by Russia. Given the EU's ongoing difficulties, Kiev might well want to avoid trading one set of problems for another, but the real issue is not whether the EU or Russia should be its preferred economic partner.

The real issue for Ukraine (and the United States) is security. What the Baltic republics and the former Warsaw Pact members really wanted, after shedding the Soviet Union's chains, was to join NATO, to prevent being reshackled. The EU certainly seems desirable — one more Western club to join — but it is decidedly secondary compared with avoiding being chained again by Moscow.

Thus the West collectively made a terrible mistake at the NATO summit in April 2008 by not placing Ukraine (and Georgia) on a clear path to NATO membership. Had we done so, the question of EU economic relations would doubtless have been more easily resolved. Ambiguity over Ukraine, leaving it in a no man's land between Russia and NATO, obviously didn't lead to Ukrainian stability, domestically or internationally. And the same vital question for Kiev's citizens abides: Is their future with the West or Moscow?

It is hard to imagine that Obama gives even a passing thought to Ukraine's drama, or many Republicans either, for that matter. But there should be no mistaking that tectonic plates are being realigned in Europe, for better or worse. America's passivity and indifference will not make for a better outcome.

Previously:

11/05/13: Israel, Get Ready For More Obama Leaks


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John Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, served as US ambassador to the United Nations in 2005-06. He is the author of "Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad." He wrote this for the Los Angeles Times.

© 2013, Los Angeles Times. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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