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 July 14, 2014 / 16 Tammuz, 5774

A word for the Kurds

By Paul Greenberg




JewishWorldReview.com | It's an old saying: Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it. In spades. The latest illustration of that adage is provided by our own vice president, for Joe Biden is finally getting his wish. He made it back in 2006, another time when Iraq was falling apart in a swirl of blood and explosions. He was Sen. Biden back then but already fancied himself some kind of foreign-policy guru, and his response to Iraq's collapse that year was simplicity itself: Just go ahead and let it fall apart -- one part for each of its ethnic/religious components: Sunni, Shi'a and Kurds. The old Iraq would be balkanized, all would get what they wanted, and peace would reign! Problem solved.

Now, headline after headline, we're seeing just how the Biden Plan would have played out as Iraq slides into the same kind of bloody chaos that was rampant in 2006 -- before a president and commander-in-chief named George W. Bush woke up, fired his secretary of defense, and got himself a general with a new and this time effective strategy.

That president's 180-degree turnabout saved the day -- and Iraq. The new commander in the field would be David Petraeus, who had pretty much written the book on what's called counterinsurgency warfare, and his strategy was nicknamed The Surge. It proved surprisingly successful in a surprisingly short time -- with a surprising minimum of American casualties. The result: Iraq held together. Till now.

But this new president and nominal commander-in-chief decided to abandon Iraq by 2011, and abandoned it was -- right on schedule. And right on schedule it's now fallen apart. Although it might have taken only a modest American force to keep it together and stabilized. The same kind of American force -- it's called a deterrent -- that has stood guard in Europe and on the Korean peninsula for years, for decades.



Anyone who knew anything about the Middle East, even a little, could have foreseen what leaving the Iraqis to their own deeply divisive devices would lead to: bloody chaos. Which is just where it now has led.

Welcome to Obamaland, where a president's fondest dreams can come true -- and be revealed as cruel illusions.

Barack Obama seems to assume that the world is the simple place he wants it to be, and not as it sadly is -- full of treacherous dangers that defy simple "solutions." His has been the familiar isolationist dream and lure: All that America has to do is withdraw from the world, and we'll live happily forever after. That's not a foreign policy; it's a fairy tale. And one that Americans have regularly paid a high price for. At least since the isolationist Thirties led predictably enough to the ferocious Forties and the greatest war in history.

Now, five years into Barack Obama's reset of American foreign policy, his dream world has turned into a nightmare scenario -- see Ukraine and what has happened in Crimea, and is still happening in Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan and ... anywhere else this president has chosen to ignore. A world without American involvement, it turns out, is a world without peace.

The whole Arab Spring, once so full of bright hope, has shriveled and turned into darkest winter. At this juncture in the creation of Barack Obama's not so brave new world, it is too late to restore the old Iraq; not all the king's men and all the king's armored divisions can put it back together again. By now it has broken into at least three parts, each of which may splinter soon enough.

Told to choose between Sunni and Shi'a in Iraq, I'd take the Kurds. They've been betrayed time and again in their tragic history -- at least since they were promised independence after the First World War and then denied it by a succession of imperial, and imperious, world-shapers. From our own Henry Kissinger, master of unreal Realpolitik, to both the shah of Iran and Iraq's late and unlamented Saddam Hussein. Let's not betray the Kurds yet again.

Now is finally the Kurds' time. Having sided with a succession of dictators in the Middle East, why not finally ally ourselves with a long oppressed people who have built a homeland of their own where democratic principles are increasingly honored instead of being trashed -- including a decent respect for women's rights, the rule of law and private property. Even the Turks, the Kurds' old oppressors, now see the wisdom of supporting them. Why don't we?

One of the persistent tragedies of modern Arab history has been that, whenever a budding moderation has been challenged by the latest form of Arab fanaticism, the fanatics have a way of winning out. That fatal flaw in the nomadic character was noted by the still redoubtable T.E. Lawrence ("of Arabia"), the Englishman who adopted, maybe even invented, Arab nationalism. Col. Lawrence would diagnose that trait in his magnificent, romantic, poetic, consistently amusing, and still deeply insightful history of the Arab Revolt he led with such success, not to mention Úlan. He called his book "Seven Pillars of Wisdom," and here is one of them:

"Arabs could be swung on an idea as on a cord; for the unpledged allegiance of their minds made them obedient servants. None of them would escape the bond till success had come, and with it responsibility and duty and engagements. Then the idea was gone and the work ended -- in ruins.

"Without a creed they could be taken to the four corners of the world (but not to heaven) by being shown the riches of earth and the pleasures of it; but if on the road, led in this fashion, they met the prophet of an idea, who had nowhere to lay his head and who depended for his food on charity or birds, then they would all leave their wealth for his inspiration. They were incorrigibly children of the idea, feckless and color-blind, to whom body and spirit were forever and inevitably opposed. Their mind was strange and dark, full of depressions and exaltations, lacking in rule, but with more of ardor and more fertile in belief than any other in the world. They were a people of starts, for whom the abstract was the strongest motive, the process of infinite courage and variety, and the end nothing."

All around the Middle East, minorities on its periphery wait to rise and escape the latest wave of Arab fanaticism, which sweeps over what used to be Iraq even now as the "Islamic State of Syria and the Levant" overflows out of the long-neglected chaos in Syria, and threatens to swamp not just the unsteady regime in Baghdad but neighboring Jordan and everything else in its violent wake.

Christian Maronites in Lebanon and Copts in Egypt, Jews in Israel and, yes, Kurds in a reborn Kurdistan are but a few of the groups that make up the periphery of peoples around the Arab heartland, and that offer the one thing the state formerly known as Iraq always lacked: cohesion. And hope, even the hope of reasonable rule. Why not give them all a fighting chance not only to survive in that dangerous neighborhood but to thrive?

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Paul Greenberg is the Pulitzer prize-winning editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Paul Greenberg Archives

© 2014 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles

Quantcast