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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 May 11, 2011 / 7 Iyar, 5771

Pact With the Devil

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Why write a newspaper column when someone else has said it so much better and shorter?

The someone in this case is Natan Sharansky, who went from unsuppressible Russian dissident to outspoken Israeli leader without skipping a beat. Now he's summed up the basic problem with American policy in the Middle East, which has just come a cropper again.

American policy continues to flounder, he contends, because it lacks sufficient respect and appreciation for man's yearning for freedom. His own faith in freedom has never faltered, even in the darkest hours, when faith such as his was considered folly.

Everybody knew the Soviet Union, aka the Evil Empire, was going to be around indefinitely and its captive nations would remain, well, captive. This view was called realism, and its adherents took it for granted -- right up to the time the Soviet Union collapsed in a heap, taking its far-flung empire with it.

Natan Sharansky, whether free or imprisoned at the time, never bought that kind of "realism." And it was his distinctly minority view that proved the accurate one. He's seen so clearly over the years because he's held to a single, saving realization: that men wish to be free. And will be.

Strangely enough, the "realists" who belittle principle in foreign policy inevitably prove unrealistic when principle -- no matter how long denied or diverted or dammed up -- breaks through like an irresistible flood, and sweeps tyranny away.

Natan Sharansky came to understand all this early. The way Solzhenitsyn did in a succession of Soviet labor camps, and Vaclav Havel in Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia. And the way Liu Xiaobo, Nobel laureate and political prisoner, does today in Communist China, wherever he is being held.

Sharansky had felt the power of The Thaw in Russia. He'd heard the ice crack, and knew that, despite all the serried ranks of tyranny, freedom would arrive unbidden some day, naturally, like the long-awaited spring.

Today it's an Arab spring, and it's broken out from Tunisia to Syria and points east. Its ripples spread every day in every way. And where they will flow next is every dictator's fear, every unbowed protester's hope.

Hope has stirred, then revolution, and soon ... well, we shall see. The only thing sure is that, when freedom reaches high tide and breaches the walls that once confined it, an American administration will, once again, be awfully surprised.

Why is that? Because we thought we had the Mideast figured, and put our faith not in freedom but in princes. And in the magic of Realpolitik. Just as all those old Middle East hands in the State Department, aka the Arabists, sagely advised us to do. They knew best, didn't they?

So we worked out a deal: We'd give the kings and oil sheikhs and bemedaled autocrats what they wanted from us -- arms, money, cover -- and they'd keep the people, that great beast, quiet. Now we can't figure out quite what's happening, or what we should do about it.

Here, let Natan Sharansky explain, as he did in the Washington Post the other day:

"For decades, the policy of the free world toward the Arab and Muslim Middle East was based on a simple principle: The overriding aim was stability, purchased by deals struck with leaders. That the leaders in question were autocrats of one stripe or another mattered little; neither did the cruelty and rank corruption endemic to their rule. To the contrary, tyranny was seen as the guarantor of stability, just as corruption guaranteed that the regimes' friendship could be bought. ... Repeatedly, however, and now definitively, that pact has been exposed as a sham, yielding not stability but its opposite."

Will we ever learn? The lesson is simple enough: No matter how long it is suppressed, freedom will break through -- and upset the best-laid plans of diplomats and deal-makers.

Ah, but tyranny can be so attractive. It's simple, understandable and seemingly permanent. That's why it's such a temptation to make a bargain with it. It's a temptation as old as Faust.

Freedom is no simple thing. It can be a slow, tricky, unpredictable process. It can percolate through a society slowly -- or hit like a flash flood. As if out of nowhere. Americans should have learned as much by now, the 150th anniversary of the great war that made us a nation. O, Freedom! It can be long in coming, but it will come. Something in man will stir, and when it does ... all deals are off.

Keeping faith with freedom will require strong nerves and constancy of purpose. Just as it does now in Egypt, where a new regime is flirting with the mullahs in Iran and trying to cloak one of the world's more notorious terrorist outfits -- Hamas, in the Gaza Strip -- in respectability. It is at such times that Washington should do even more to support Egypt's democratic parties against the Muslim Brotherhood -- just as, after World War II, when the Communists threatened to overwhelm Western Europe's political system, this country did everything it could to support the democratic parties that eventually prevailed.

Cynics will scurry about looking for complicated explanations for these latest revolutions in the Middle East when the simplest is staring them in the face: Freedom will not be denied forever. No more than it can be turned back in this Arab Spring. It may have to go underground for a time, like a fresh-water spring. Or it may recede like a river returning to its banks. But it will flow on somewhere, and one day break through to the surface, an undeniable fact. Even if it can be diverted for a time, it will come back stronger than ever, like the sea overwhelming Pharaoh's chariots.

There are some truths much too basic, even mythic, for our capital-E Experts, the Scowcrofts and Kissingers and Brzezinskis of the world, to absorb. As soon as reality overturns all their talk of Detente or a Grand Bargain or whatever today's catch phrase may be, these great thinkers don't change their minds. They just redouble their losing bets on Realpolitik, like a desperate amateur at the roulette table, and call it Statesmanship.

Or as Natan Sharansky describes the reflexive response of our intelligentsia to being caught off guard once again:

"Surveying the fall or near-fall of the Arab dictators, some in the West have reverted to habit, turning wistfully to well-organized structures within the society shaped by those same dictators: notably, the military on the one hand, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups on the other. The unspoken idea is to replicate the old pact but with a different set of players with whom the West can continue to do business on the same terms.

"Once again the goal is stability and security, rationalized now by pointing to the alleged absence of any other centers of potential leadership within Arab society, and by the 'discovery' of moderate elements within some of the region's worst actors. This is delusion squared. What is really being justified is an abdication of the free world's own ability to influence the momentous developments now gripping the Muslim world."

In the end, all these modern, up-to-date, scholarly Fausts have only their theories to assert, not any principle. That is why they are reduced to reacting to events instead of shaping them. And why, once again, an American administration has been surprised by something as fundamental as man's yearning to be free.

Foggy Bottom, the well-named locale of our State Department, has seldom looked foggier. For in the midst of this Arab Spring, American diplomacy remains icebound, without direction or determination. It does not act but reacts, and so must always play catch-up. Hewing to principle may be a difficult and perilous approach to foreign policy, but at least it's not a forever surprised one.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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