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 August 31, 2006 / 7 Elul, 5766

Why should America commit resources to help reform a dysfunctional Middle East?

By Victor Davis Hanson

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The Palestinian prime minister, Hamas' Ismail Haniyeh, is shocked. He claims that without his government's knowledge, the until-now unknown terrorist group Holy Jihad Brigades kidnapped two Western journalists (who have since been released) in Gaza.

Have Haniyeh and Hamas forgotten their own terrorist habits? When they were out of power, Hamas "militants" kidnapped and bombed without permission from the Palestinian Authority. That irony of wanting it both ways recalls the ancient historian Thucydides' warning not "to annul those common laws of humanity to which all trust for their own hope of deliverance should they ever be overtaken by calamity; forgetting that in their own hour of need they will look for them in vain."

The same freelance terrorism goes on in Lebanon despite the grumbles of the country's "government." Who, if anyone, is responsible for disarming Hezbollah terrorists? And what faction in Lebanon can officially make peace — or even war — with the Israelis?

At the other end of the spectrum, a similar problem of illegitimacy arises when a few thugs, not various tribes, run things. Strongmen in Syria, the Gulf, North Africa and Egypt may enforce order, but they are as illegitimate as the chaotic non-state militias and terrorists that sometimes succeed them. When a country is in a state of perpetual martial law, no one really knows the sentiments of the silenced population.

So, should the United States be tough or friendly with law-and-order types like Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, the Gulf sheiks or Libya's Muammar Gaddafi? Lecturing them risks the short-term anger of their state-run media, which slander America. But such pressure also offers the hope that someday the people in these leaders' countries will appreciate the principled American support for reformers.

When Middle-Eastern dictatorships like Iran or Syria hate us, their savvy people seem to like us. But when we prop up Egyptian or Gulf autocracies, their citizens scapegoat the United States.

Messy democracy is probably coming one way or another to the region. Sticking to the bitter end with authoritarians will only eventually usher in a more extreme reaction. But by supporting the rule of constitutional law, we have the best chance of seeing moderates like Hamad Karzai in Afghanistan or Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq come to power.

Why should the United States commit resources to help reform a dysfunctional Middle East? Many reasons — both practical and humanitarian — come to mind.

First, Islamic terrorism, as we learned well enough five years ago, has a global reach. Even just a few operatives are able to destroy the foundations of Western air travel, finance and civic trust. These terrorists are encouraged by their patron autocrats, who manage to shift the blame for their failures onto the West.

Second, the tyrannies of the Middle East export much of the world's oil. The amount of petroleum they are willing to pump and sell can determine the pulse of the world economy. And much of the funding for terrorism worldwide has come out of the billions in annual petro-profits, which through private and public channels are paid covertly to terrorists both in admiration and as blackmail.

Third, both militias and dictatorships — whether led by the Taliban, Iranian mullahs, Saddam Hussein or the late Hafez al-Assad — have butchered thousands of innocents.

And fourth, tiny Israel is a successful, humane, democratic Western state that would be overwhelmed if the U.S. left the region.

The Middle East's long-term health is, thus, critical to the security of the West. True, it is easy now to call the supporters of democracy in the Middle East naive — given the savagery in Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan; the elected terrorists on the West Bank; and the deeply entrenched tribalism, fundamentalism and gender apartheid that thwarts liberal change so violently.

But a word of caution: We long tried almost everything else. Accepting dictators on their own terms did not bring stability, but constant war, oil embargoes and terrorism from the 1960s onward. Replying to two decades of terrorist attacks, from the Iranian hostage taking in 1979 to the attack on the USS Cole in 2000, with indictments and a few cruise missiles only emboldened the jihadists. And staging coups or propping up authoritarians in Iran or the Gulf simply radicalized the Middle East.

In truth, fostering democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq was not our first, but last choice. It was not a good option, only a bad one when the other alternatives had proven far worse. What the U.S. is trying to do in the Middle East is costly, easily made fun of and unappreciated. But constitutional government is one course that might someday free Middle Easterners from kidnappings, suicide bombers and dictators in sunglasses.

That's in our interest and theirs alike.

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.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and military historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Comment by clicking here.


© 2006, TMS