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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 Sept. 7, 2011 / 8 Elul, 5771

Obama, Abroad, Is Adrift

By Jonah Goldberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Since President Obama has been having a rough time lately, let me belatedly congratulate him on his apparently successful policy of regime change in Libya.

Initially, I favored a more robust and decisive intervention when Obama seemed to dither, and then I criticized how he ultimately committed the United States to a so-called leading-from-behind strategy. But fair is fair; whatever happens next -- a big question -- Obama has succeeded in toppling one of the most loathsome creatures on the international stage.

Obviously, he didn't do it alone. Our NATO allies and, of course, the rebels deserve the lion's share of the credit. And there are quibbles and critiques one can offer. We may even grow nostalgic for the devil we knew, though I doubt it.

Still, if Obama were a Republican, he would be getting considerably more praise from the right for pursuing a relatively low-cost and low-risk NATO-led strategy that resulted in long-desired regime change in Libya. (Of course, had he been a Republican, many on the left would have denounced yet another neocon war for oil).

Obama also deserves kudos for taking out Osama bin Laden and for his mounting successes in killing other members of al-Qaeda.

And yet, there's something peculiar about Obama's foreign policy: There doesn't seem to be one. Talking about Libya, Ben Rhodes, the director for strategic communications at the National Security Council, told the New York Times: "We've resisted the notion of a doctrine, because we don't think you can impose one model on very different countries; that gets you into trouble and can lead you to intervene in places that you shouldn't."

This strikes me as wildly overstated, even bizarre. A doctrine, in and of itself, doesn't compel anyone to do anything. Moreover, some doctrines -- isolationism, for instance -- can lead you to not intervene in places you should.

Rhodes' anti-doctrine stance reflects an irony about the Obama presidency. Shortly after Obama's swearing-in, and his initial executive order to end coercive interrogation techniques and his (failed) vow to shutter the Guantanamo Bay prison, the conventional wisdom in Washington quickly jelled around the view that Obama didn't much care about foreign policy, or at least he preferred to keep it out of the headlines while he concentrated on his "transformative" agenda at home.

His administration committed itself to downplaying the war on terror. Remember the effort to rebrand 9/11-style terrorist attacks as "man-caused disasters"?

The surge in Afghanistan barely appeased hawks, while his rhetoric about withdrawal barely pleased doves. Former CIA super-lawyer John Rizzo tells PBS in an upcoming episode of "Frontline" that with the exception of ending the interrogation program, Obama "changed virtually nothing with respect to existing CIA programs and operations."

In fact, to the chagrin of many on the left, Obama has strengthened these programs by making them bipartisan and uncontroversial.

Even Obama's momentous decision not only to continue but massively expand the policy of targeted killings has an oddly cautious flavor to it. If you obliterate terrorists with a drone, you don't have the messy political question of how to arrest, jail, interrogate or prosecute them.

Obama's Libya policy may not amount to a doctrine, but it did establish two principles. In March, Obama explained that we must intervene when there's a risk of massacres or genocide, but we can never do so alone unless Americans are directly at risk.

At face value, I find this borderline repugnant. America shouldn't be the world's policeman, but neither should we make it a matter of principle to say we won't stop genocide when and where we can simply because no one will join our posse.

One has to marvel at the audacity of Obama's cautiousness. It buys bravery on the cheap by saying we must do something, and then exempts us from having to do anything if we're alone in our principles. Cross your fingers and Belgium will save us from acting by ourselves!

This principle means that we can do diplomatically or politically easy things (like Libya), but if it's hard to get support for something -- like Syria -- we're off the hook.

More broadly, it's remarkable how Obama's reactive and risk-averse foreign policy has racked up political successes, while by concentrating all of his talents on domestic affairs, he's made a colossal political mess for himself at home by concentrating his energies and talents on a bold agenda. Maybe his domestic policy shop could take some lessons.

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