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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 May 2, 2011 / 28 Nissan, 5771

On Foreign Policy, Obama Leads From Behind

By Michael Barone




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Sometimes a sympathetic and perceptive journalist paints a more devastating portrait of a public figure than even his most vitriolic detractors could. A prime example is Ryan Lizza's New Yorker article titled "The Consequentialist" and subtitled, "How the Arab Spring remade Obama's foreign policy."

Lizza's article, characteristically well reported and well written, reads less like the story of an adult politician's evolving view of foreign issues and more like the story of the wildly oscillating opinions of a college student now in his junior year.

As Lizza points out, Obama didn't think much about foreign policy during his years as a community organizer and Illinois state senator — no more than the typical good pupil does in the years between kindergarten and eighth grade.

As it became clear that he was going to be elected to the U.S. Senate, he started reading and seeking out foreign policy experts of varying views — Thomas Friedman and Fareed Zakaria, Anthony Lake and Susan Rice and Samantha Power — much as a curious high-schooler starts reading interesting books he finds on the shelves.

Arriving in the Senate in 2005, when it was clear that things were going sour in Iraq, Obama took the side of "realists" who always advised caution about military involvement abroad rather than the "idealists" who had backed such involvements in the Bill Clinton years and after.

This served his own interests as he moved toward running for president against Hillary Clinton, who had taken the "idealist" view and voted for the Iraq war resolution in 2002. This looks a lot like the freshman and sophomore brown-noser seeking to upstage a rival by embracing a cause widely popular with both the faculty and student body.

As Lizza records, this hugely impressed "realists" like Zbigniew Brzezinski, who saw Obama as a trustworthy acolyte. And Obama's scornful dismissal of George W. Bush's "idealist" calls for advancing democracy around the world had something in common with the adolescent discovery that "Dad is wrong about everything!"

Of course, when Obama got to college, er, the White House, he found that Dad was right about some things. The surge in Iraq was allowed to continue succeeding, and something like a surge was ordered in Afghanistan. Guanatanamo remains open, and CIA interrogators are not going to be prosecuted. Robert Gates was kept in the Pentagon, and Hillary Clinton installed at State.

But Obama clung to his "realist" policy on Iran, treating the mullahs' regime respectfully and showing cool detachment if not cold indifference when the Green Movement rose against the mullahs' election fraud in June 2009.

But by sophomore year, the unreality of the "realist" strategy had become apparent. Lizza quotes a five-page memorandum on the Middle East Obama sent to his top foreign policy advisers in August 2010 noting "evidence of growing citizen discontent with the region's regimes" and instructing them to come up with "country by country" strategies on political reform.

A three-member task force "was just finishing its work" in December when the Tunisian vegetable vendor set himself on fire. In responding to the uprisings there and in Egypt, Lizza reports, "Obama's instinct was to try to have it both ways. ... Obama's ultimate position, it seemed, was to talk like an idealist while acting like a realist."

It's not uncommon for college students to have wildly oscillating views on issues as the months go by. It's more consequential for a president to do so. As foreign policy analyst Walter Russell Mead notes: "President Obama likes to hedge. If he puts four chips on black, he almost immediately wants to put three chips on red."

Lizza gives a detailed account of how Obama and his advisers have been putting chips on black and red in Egypt and Libya over the past two months. And he provides a revealing summing up. "One of his advisers described the president's actions in Libya as 'leading from behind,'" he writes.

"It's a different definition of leadership than America is known for, and it comes from two unspoken beliefs: that the relative power of the U.S. is declining, as rivals like China rise, and that the U.S. is reviled in many parts of the world."

"That's not," Lizza, who often writes on domestic politics, interjects, "a slogan designed for signs at the 2012 Democratic National Convention." No, it's not. But it's one you may hear about from Republicans.

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JWR contributor Michael Barone is senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner.




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