Home
In this issue
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 July 15, 2010/4 Menachem-Av, 5770

The high price of American hubris

By George Will



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The story mocks a cliche: As they were leaving the Garden of Eden, Adam said to Eve, "Darling, we live in an age of transition." The first sentence of Barack Obama's letter introducing his new strategic review says Americans have often coped with "moments of transition" such as today's "time of sweeping change." Such boilerplate makes one weep -- and yearn for serious, meaning unsentimental, assessments of America's foreign policy tradition.

One is at hand. Taken to heart, Peter Beinart's "The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris" might spare the nation some tears.

In the Greek myth, Icarus is given wings in the form of feathers affixed by wax to a wooden frame. He also is given a warning: Do not fly too high lest the sun melt the wax. In the ecstasy of soaring, he forgot, and fell to his death.

Beinart discerns three varieties of highflying foreign policy hubris in the past 100 years, beginning with Woodrow Wilson, who injected the progressives' faith in domestic policy expertise into foreign policy. He exemplified the hubris of reason, which supposedly could bring permanent, because "scientific," peace to Europe. The political science professor told his wife they should draft a constitution for their marriage, then "make bylaws at our leisure." As president, he created the Inquiry, a bevy of intellectuals using reason to revise the borders that history had given to Old World nations. Colonel Edward House, Wilson's aide, said he and the president received the Inquiry's report on Jan. 2, 1918: "We actually got down to work at half past ten and finished remaking the map of the world, as we would have it, at half past twelve."

Wilson said, in effect, "Stop the world, America wants to get off." He actually said America would "in no circumstances consent to live in a world governed by intrigue and force." And so the next war came, on Sept. 1, 1939, when dignitaries were in Geneva, birthplace and cemetery of the League of Nations, unveiling a statue of Wilson.

The First World War -- a.k.a. the war to end all wars -- was followed by the Second World War, and then the Cold War and the hubris of toughness. America, which Beinart says needed "a wider menu of analogies," now saw every foreign policy challenge through the retrospective prism of Munich:


FREE SUBSCRIPTION TO INFLUENTIAL NEWSLETTER

Every weekday NewsAndOpinion.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily update. It's free. Just click here.


"In 1939, few American politicians believed that a Nazi takeover of Warsaw constituted a grave danger to the United States. By 1965, many believed we couldn't live with a North Vietnamese takeover of Saigon. In the 1980s, Americans lived peacefully, albeit anxiously, with thousands of Soviet nuclear warheads pointed our way. By 2003, many Washington commentators claimed that even Iraqi biological or chemical weapons put us in mortal peril."

The postwar belief that U.S. "credibility" was crucial, perishable and at stake in far-flung crises "meant," Beinart says, "that unimportant places were important after all," and turned the doctrine of containment into an uncontained, hence hubristic, impulse. As the restraining memory of Korea faded -- a memory that helped President Dwight Eisenhower conduct a prudent foreign policy -- the (in John Kennedy's inaugural formulation) "trumpet" calling on America to "pay any price, bear any burden" summoned the country to worry perhaps excessively about involvement in Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, America's supremacy -- ideological, military and economic: the stock market doubled in value between 1992 and 1996 -- fed, Beinart says, a hubris of dominance. Using only air power, America compelled Serbia to remove its soldiers from part of Serbia -- the province of Kosovo. In Bosnia, America acted in response to ethnic cleansing. In Kosovo, Beinart argues, America acted to preempt ethnic cleansing: "Kosovo nudged open an intellectual door, a door George W. Bush would fling wide open four years later, when he cited 'preemption' to justify his invasion of Iraq."

Events eventually pop what Beinart calls "hubris bubbles." This may soon happen in Afghanistan, where Obama is in a tenuous, uneasy alliance with those Beinart calls "dominance conservatives."

Generational envy has, Beinart believes, propelled some Americans' searches for Hitlers to not appease. Boredom born of Cold War success caused them to find some. Hubris is a vice arising from ambition, which is, in moderation, a virtue. Hubris is a byproduct of success, of which America has had much. By producing folly, of which America has had too much, hubris is its own corrective. There is, however, a high tuition paid for such instruction.


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

George Will's latest book is "With a Happy Eye but: America and the World, 1997-2002" to purchase a copy, click here. Comment on this column by clicking here.

Archives

© 2006 WPWG

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles