In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
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 March 28, 2006 / 28 Adar, 5766

Let's get it right about what has gone wrong

By Niall Ferguson

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As the song says, sorry always seems to be the hardest word. It takes courage to admit you got it wrong. So it's tempting to applaud Francis Fukuyama for the bout of self-criticism he is currently engaged in. In his new book, "America at the Crossroads," Fukuyama, who had become famous for declaring the "end of history," has repudiated his support for the invasion of Iraq.

Though scarcely the man who ordered the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, Fukuyama made it plain long before 2003 that he favored such action. Even before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Fukuyama had begun to argue that the American model of democracy was poised to become a kind of global standard.

Dictators who clung to authoritarian rule were therefore standing in the way of the progressive march of history. The United States, enjoying as it did after 1989 a position of unrivaled military power, was well placed to give history a helping hand. Three years on, Fukuyama is a chastened man. With the benefit of hindsight, he now sees that he and other neoconservative proponents of regime change in Iraq were naive. If that country today is an ungovernable mess, then their naivete is in large measure to blame.

What did the neoconservatives get wrong? First, says Fukuyama, they succumbed to the illusion that America's "benign hegemony" would be welcomed as such abroad. Second, they were too confident about what could be achieved by unilateral action. Third, they embraced a doctrine of preemption that depended on greater knowledge of the future than was possible. Above all, they underestimated the risks of democracy in the Middle East — namely, that Iraq would fragment or that radical Islamists would win elections.

Fukuyama is not the first proponent of the war to repent. The liberal interventionists, who justified deposing Hussein on humanitarian grounds, long ago ate crow. Yet Fukuyama's is the better-timed U-turn. It coincides with a discernible sea change in the public mood.


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Those who from the outset opposed the war in Iraq now appear vindicated, no matter how dubious their arguments. We are rapidly reverting to the default setting of the Democratic left — that it is preferable to leave tyrants in power than to sully the republic with the taint of imperialism. Better a multitude of Attilas abroad than Rome at home.

I agree that the neocons got it wrong, but my reasons are different from Fukuyama's, and they do not lead me to conclude that the left was correct all along.

The first big neocon error was their abandonment of realism. In particular, there was a failure to grasp the implications of toppling Hussein for the Middle Eastern balance of power. Henry Kissinger was right when he said of the Iran-Iraq war: "A pity they both can't lose." By getting rid of Hussein, the United States unwittingly handed Iran a belated victory.

Second, there was a woeful lack of historical knowledge. Too many people in Washington bought the idea that the postwar reconstruction of Iraq would be akin to the post-communist reconstruction of Poland.

But the third and perhaps worst sin of omission was a lack of self-knowledge. In assuming that the United States enjoyed "full-spectrum dominance" and was therefore in a position to do as it pleased in Iraq, the neocons failed to appreciate four deep-seated American weaknesses.

First, the U.S. has a chronic financial deficit, which is making it increasingly dependent on foreign capital and strapped for resources when it comes to nation building. Second, the U.S. has a chronic manpower deficit, which means it cannot deploy enough soldiers to maintain law and order in conquered territory. Third, the U.S. has a chronic attention deficit because after two years of even quite low casualties, American voters lose their enthusiasm for small wars in faraway places. Fourth is the chronic legitimacy deficit from which the United States now suffers. The most recent findings of the Pew Global Attitudes Survey — a compendium of international opinion polls — reveal just how precipitously the standing of the United States has fallen in the eyes of foreigners in the last six years.

And yet the logical conclusion to be drawn from all this is not that the United States should pack up and go home. For what, precisely, is the alternative to American hegemony, benign or blundering?

When people in other countries are asked, "Would the world be safer if another country were as powerful as the United States?" they generally say no. Only the French say yes. Admittedly, the Brits and the Turks are evenly split, but a majority of Russians, Germans and even Jordanians, Moroccans and Pakistanis think the world would be less safe with a second superpower. Hmm. I wonder what other country it is that they're worried about. Could its name perhaps begin with "C"?

What all this tells us is not that American hegemony is finished and should be wound up. It tells us that there is no better alternative available. The United States does not need to say "sorry" for getting rid of Hussein. What it needs to do is to be more realistic, better historically informed and less fiscally profligate; and to get more boots on the ground.

I'm all for admitting to error. But let's get it right about what has gone wrong.

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Click HERE to purchase it at a discount. (Sales help fund JWR.).

Click HERE to purchase it at a discount. (Sales help fund JWR.).

Niall Ferguson is a professor of history at Harvard University. He is the author of "Empire" (Basic Books, 2003) and "Colossus" (Penguin, 2004). Comment by clicking here.

03/21/06: Congress is trying to give the world a globotomy
03/14/06: Lame ducks can still bite back
03/07/06: A 19th Century critique of a 21st Century president
02/28/06: The crash of civilizations
02/21/06: Not the president, but close
02/14/06: Want historic trouble? Look south
02/07/06: Greenspan advising Britain? It's housing bubbles, deficits and potential meltdowns all over again
01/31/06: Missing the Cold War
01/24/06: It's a sick, Thick World
01/17/06: Tomorrow's world war today
01/03/06: Scotland, it's over, but keep the accents
12/20/05: History, democracy and Iraq
12/20/05: History, democracy and Iraq
11/22/05: Ghost of Napoleon haunts Tony Blair
11/22/05: Can it happen in Britain too?
11/15/05: Red plus blue equals purple
11/10/05: The fires of disintegration
11/01/05: Triumph of an über-wonk

© 2006, Los Angeles Times Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate