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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 August 2, 2013/ 26 Menachem-Av, 5773

How to be an emir

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The year was 1898. He was a 23-year-old subaltern fresh out of Sandhurst serving the British raj on the Northwest Frontier of the Indian subcontinent. Always restless and eager for action, and bored playing polo back at base, he volunteered with the cavalry when the Pashtun tribes grew restive near the Hindu Kush, long a pressure point in the Great Game that empires had been playing in that part of the world going back to the Mongols. And even Alexander. A deadly serious game that goes on to this day.

The eager young officer of the Queen's Own Hussars was soon "mentioned in despatches," and even wrote his own memoir of that campaign: The Story of the Malakand Field Force. It turned out to be a best-seller, full of high drama and swashbuckling adventure -- not to mention a lot of close calls that might have deprived the Empire of the figure who would one day take command at its most imperiled and, as it turned out, finest moment. His first book would turn out be only a harbinger of the many best-sellers he would write in what would prove a long and varied career. His name was Winston Churchill.

That first book even included a bonus -- some free advice to the greybeards in Her Majesty's foreign service about how to conduct the Great Game in those distant parts now known as Afghanistan. The neophyte author offered his superiors three alternate courses they could choose to follow from in that part of the world:

The first course he summed up as that of "bad and nervous sailors" skittishly trying to steer clear of any danger till they grow disgusted and abandon the whole enterprise altogether, the Devil take the consequences. Which is pretty much what Old Ned will do at his first opportunity, creating even more havoc than he found, and inevitably drawing the great power back into the bloody maelstrom once again.

Today we call this policy withdrawal, which seems to be the preferred "strategy" of our current commander-in-chief. With predictable consequences. Afghanistan grows shakier every day, its nominal government unable to contain the fanatical tribesmen out in the hinterlands distant from the capital, who are now called Taliban. The regime contracts almost daily into just Greater Kabul.

Meanwhille, in Iraq, where the American withdrawal has been completed, the question becomes not whether we will have to go back but when. For the country is falling apart again. Except for Iraqi Kurdistan, aka The Other Iraq. Here's hoping we won't abandon the Kurds again. For a small, valiant people make the most dependable of allies for a great power. And whom else can they depend on? Cf. Israel.

The second alternative that young Churchill examined, and also found wanting, has been tried in those distant parts, too. He called it Full Steam Ahead -- a massive military intervention that would overwhelm the region and pacify it by sheer force, leaving it "as safe and civilized as Hyde Park." Good luck with that.

The first alternative course of action -- today it's called bugging out -- may only delay our return, not prevent it. It's likely that this second vision of how to achieve Peace in Our Time in those exotic parts will fail, too, for it requires an open-ended expenditure of time, money, resources and blood that not even a great power may long accept.


A massive show of fear-and-awe and a long campaign to go with it may look simple enough to a secretary of defense like Don Rumsfeld sitting in a nice air-conditioned office back in Washington and churning out pat slogans. ("Plans are nothing; planning is everything.") But that kind of "planning" has proved as far from reality as it is from the dust and dirt, ambushes and IEDs, corruption and byzantine intrigues of present-day Afghanistan.

Rudyard Kipling, who knew the Great Game when it was still young, could have summed up any number of imperial misadventures in that part of the world when he wrote: And the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of the late deceased,/ And the epitaph drear: "A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the East."

Our form of government has its roots deep in our own past, going back to centuries of colonial rule. It cannot be easily duplicated, exported and imposed on a people with an even longer history of their own that goes even deeper into a different past. Why would we expect them to desert their customary institutions and traditions, and -- just like that -- adopt ours? Talk about form without substance.

Nor do most of us know very much about how the successful empires of the past -- the Romans, the British, even the Ottomans -- played the Great Game. They make us look like the amateurs at it that we are. We not only don't know much about that part of the world, we don't even know we don't know much about it. And we've paid dearly for our ignorance -- and presumption.

Young Churchill did suggest a third and much more modest, and respectful, course in the borderlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan: "a system of gradual advance, of political intrigue among the tribes, of subsidies and small expeditions."

In short, a strategy that included the indispensable component of the Surge that David Petraeus, our most successful and innovative general in Iraq, did not overlook: alliances with a shifting array of the local tribes. Which is why opening our own negotiations with the Taliban is a hopeful sign, much as it has reduced Afganistan's nominal leader to sputtering in rage. He's free to choke on his rage; we have our own objectives to pursue, mainly to make certain that Afghanistan never again becomes a seedbed for the kind of terror we experienced September 11, 2001.

We may not be interested in the Middle East, but be assured that every hate-filled group there seeking a focus for its venom is interested in us.

We may yet learn to act like just another emir -- warlord, if you like -- who knows enough never to abandon his allies or leave his enemies to prosper. And nothing more. No grand millennial vision imposed on others from above, but no retreat into the mirage called isolationism, either. If we adopted that middle course, we'd be just another player in the Great Game with modest goals, but no compromising them. And our eyes would stay open.

Yes, conceded the young author of "The Story of the Malakand Field Force," such a third course between two opposite extremes might be "undignified," but it has the great advantage of demonstrating what so often has been lacking in our foreign policy: a constancy of purpose underlying a flexibility of means.

Even back then, at the turn of an earlier century, Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill at age 23 had some things to teach the "experts."


Paul Greenberg Archives

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