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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 March 22, 2013/ 11 Nissan, 5773

The late education of Barack Obama

By Wesley Pruden




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A late education is better than no education at all, even for a president of the United States. The man who is a mighty legend in his own mind is even showing a little humility. Barack Obama, who usually finds someone else — usually George W. — to blame for every little thing that goes awry, finally admitted this week in Israel that even a synthetic messiah can make mistakes.

"I hope I'm a better president now than when I first came into office," he told reporters at one stop early in his trip. "I'm absolutely sure that there are a host of things that I could have done that would have been more deft and, you know, would have created better optics."

Now if he'll only turn from an obsession with "better optics" to the serious statecraft at hand, we can all breathe a little easier. Not a lot, but a little.

There's no more crucial place to get a late education than in the Middle East, where graduate schools abound in every nook in the brambles and crannies in the ancient rocks. This is one place where making crucial and momentous decisions on the fly risks not only disasters, but invites catastrophes. This is no place for "a man without a foreign policy," as one commentator remarked, a man with only naïve aspirations who operates on the notion that a chaotic and perilous world can be changed by "the transformative power of a good speech, but no clear path to achieve anything."

Perhaps the president burned a little midnight oil just in time. Vali Nasr, who was not so long ago a senior insider at the Obama White House, describes in his forthcoming book, "The Dispensable Nation," how decisions have sometimes been made. On Afghanistan, for example, he says Obama policy-makers were determined not to make long-reaching strategic decisions but to satisfy shifting public opinion. These policy makers, according to an advance reading of Mr. Nasr's book, comprised "a small cabal of relatively inexperienced White House advisers whose turf was strictly politics."

Campaign politics Chicago style, where every problem can be solved with a favor or an expertly placed shiv, clearly doesn't work in the Middle East. President Obama arrived in Jerusalem just when the strategic interests of the United States and the strategic concerns of Israel seemed to be on a collision course. The president has been concerned with spreading clichés and bromides, the prime minister with survival. The photographs of Mr. Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, unarmed and smiling, were staged to show everyone that despite their history of hostile relations, they could, too, get along without taking or giving a punch.

"To sensation-hungry journalists," says Zalman Shoval, who twice served as Israeli ambassador to the United Statesand learned first-hand about the hunger of American journalists for sensations and irrelevancies, "the titillating relationship between Mr. Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu is a favorite topic." He writes in the Jerusalem Post that "personal chemistry does sometimes play a role in international relations — either positive, like that between Golda Maier and LBJ and Richard Nixon, or negative, such as at least intermittently between Yitzhak Shamir and Bush 41 — [but] what really mattered then, and does now, are the respective diplomatic, strategic and often political, on both sides, interests."

Or, as Lord Palmerston, the prime minister, explained to Queen Victoria when she asked who were England's permanent friends, "England has no permanent friends, but permanent interests."

Mr. Obama, making his first trip to Israel as president, had visited Arabia first, in 2009, bowing to kings and caliphs in the vain pursuit of "resetting" American relationships with Muslims. Over time, he seems to have learned that the intractable problems of the Middle East require more than simple syrup. The president who imagines that his voice is the most reliable weapon in the American arsenal got tripped by his own tongue when he was called to account for the difference between what he said about settlements in 2009 and what he said about them this week in Israel.

Still basking in the bonhomie he enjoyed in Israel, he told Mr. Netanyahu that the Jewish settlements on the West Bank and in eastern Jerusalem were "not constructive or appropriate," but did not say, as he did in 2009, that building the settlements must cease. When he got to Ramallah the next day for a joint press conference with Mahmoud Abbas, he quickly learned that the Palestinian leader remembered the difference. Abbas launched into a familiar diatribe, the usual history of the world since the Flood. The settlements, he said, were "a hurdle and ignoble" and must be dismantled before there can be real progress toward "peace," meaning, no concessions, no return to the peace process.

The first lesson in Mr. Obama's late education is that jaw, jaw may be better than war, war, but he had best be careful to remember what he said, and where he said it.

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.

JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

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