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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 April 13, 2005 / 4 Nissan, 5765

Good things take time

By Mort Zuckerman

Mort Zuckerman
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The euphoria that set in after the elections in Iraq is over. Weeks and months go by with the winners fighting so bitterly there's no prospect of forming a government anytime soon. There's so much squabbling, in fact, that the writing of a constitution and the next round of elections may be delayed as much as six months. Should we be worried? Not really.

The failure of the factions to compromise is a disappointment, but what's being attempted is of such historic scale that reverses and disappointments are inevitable. No society has ever made the transition from authoritarianism to freedom easily. See Russia. In the Middle East, there are obstacles of tradition, religion, and vested interests that U.S. foreign policy sustained for decades until President Bush decided that the way to drain the pestilential swamp of Islamic extremism was through political liberalization. See Iraq.

We had long supported Arab regimes, and even excused oppression, in the interest of regional stability and security, but, as the president put it, "oppression became common, but stability never arrived." No single member of the Arab League is a democracy. The legitimacy of Arab regimes has stemmed not from the people but from military power or religious rule. How often we have witnessed nonelected Arab leaders underscoring the religious dimensions of their policies and including religious messages in their public rhetoric, all to gain greater legitimacy from the public; or scapegoating the Israeli-Palestinian dispute instead of meeting the challenge of their deteriorating social and economic conditions?

Thirst for freedom. These same rulers resisted our too-polite requests for political reform with the argument that it might empower the radicals hostile to the West. Well, 9/11 washed out that excuse. And the events in Iraq— and now Lebanon— have exposed a deep popular thirst for freedom. The removal of Saddam Hussein permitted change to come from the bottom up in a region historically governed from the top down. In Beirut, for the first time ever, a mass demonstration of people unafraid of the power of their rulers forced a government to resign—a dramatic change from the typical toppling of governments in the region by the military or the intelligence services, or a foreign military force. So to those who were skeptical of President Bush's language and policies, I'd say ask Bashar Assad of Syria, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, and, yes, Saddam in Iraq if there isn't something to his ideas.

Still, we must see the struggle for what it is. Is it between proponents of western liberalism and backward Muslim zealots? Or is it really between authoritarian Arab regimes and extremist Muslim movements, neither of which is committed to democracy? The historic reality is that in these countries civil society has long been suppressed while citizens dependent on the state have largely kept quiet. The new Arab middle class, understandably, saw this relationship as preferable to the prospect of a Khomeini-like coup that might well bring into power the only organized and functioning opposition in most Arab countries, to wit, Islamist fundamentalists. Democratization has been feared by these same middle classes as a source of worse enslavement, particularly in states like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which lack the power to root out radical Islamist groups. They worried that the Arab world would not replicate the collapse of communism, symbolized by the breaching of the Berlin Wall in 1989, but, rather, the crushing of democracy in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

These states all face a demographic tsunami: Roughly half the Arab world is under 25, and these young people will need 100 million jobs over the next few decades. Economic growth of that scale requires a market economy, which in turn requires the rule of law, pluralism, property rights, a public life for women, and accountability. Such reforms can be achieved only at the expense of the entrenched elites— the hereditary monarchs, the perpetual presidents, and the revolutionary mullahs. These men will use their security forces to quell the opposition while using their state treasuries to buy off certain sectors of their societies in the hope of avoiding the kind of upheaval seen in Iran, where the shah's draconian policies united all the opposition forces.

Our strategy to push for democratization is admirable. But let's recognize that the social and cultural conditions of the Middle East mean it will take time. We will have to be patient—and resolute—as the region absorbs and develops the essential political values of freedom of speech, human rights, and the rule of law.

The basis for optimism lies with the awareness of the Arab people of the backwardness and poverty into which their countries have fallen when compared not only with their own glorious past but with the progress other parts of the world have made. With luck, such comparisons will prompt them to ask the question, how did we get into this mess, and how do we get out?

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JWR contributor Mort Zuckerman is editor-in-chief and publisher of U.S. News and World Report. Send your comments to him by clicking here.

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