The dictators are back. The political scientist saw it coming.

‘What would happen,” Samuel Huntington once wondered, “if the American model no longer embodied strength and success, no longer seemed to be the winning model?”

The question, when the great Harvard political scientist asked it in 1991, seemed far-fetched. The Cold War was won, the Soviet Union was about to vanish. History was at an end. All over the world, people seemed to want the same things in the same way: democracy, capitalism, free trade, free speech, freedom of conscience, freedom for women.

“The day of the dictator is over,” George H.W. Bush had said in his 1989 inaugural address. “We know what works: Freedom works. We know what’s right: Freedom is right.”

Not quite. A quarter-century later, the dictators are back in places where we thought they had been banished. And they’re back by popular demand. Egyptian strongman Abdel Fatah al-Sisi will not have to stuff any ballots to get himself elected president next month; he’s going to win in a walk. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán presides over the most illiberal government in modern Europe, but he had no trouble winning a third term in elections two weeks ago.

In Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spent recent months brutalizing protesters in Istanbul, shutting down judicial inquiries into corruption allegations against his government, and seeking to block Twitter, TWTR +2.49% YouTube and Facebook, FB +2.06% the ultimate emblems of digital freedom. But his AKP party still won resounding victories in key municipal elections last month.

And then there is Russia. In a Journal op-ed Monday, foreign-policy analyst Ilan Berman pointed out that Russia had $51 billion in capital flight in the first quarter of 2014, largely thanks to Vladimir Putin’s Crimean caper. That’s a lot of money for a country with a GDP roughly equal to that of Italy. The World Bank predicts the Russian economy could shrink by 2% this year. Relations with the West haven’t been worse since the days of Yuri Andropov.

But never mind about that. Mr. Putin has a public approval rating of 80%, according to the independent Levada Center. That’s up from 65% in early February.

Maybe it’s something in the water. Or the culture. Or the religion. Or the educational system. Or the level of economic development. Or the underhanded ways in which authoritarian leaders manipulate media and suppress dissent. The West rarely runs out of explanations for why institutions of freedom—presumably fit for all people for all time—seem to fit only some people, sometimes.

But maybe there’s something else at work. Maybe the West mistook the collapse of communism—just one variant of dictatorship—as a vindication of liberal democracy. Maybe the West forgot that it needed to justify its legitimacy not only in the language of higher democratic morality. It needed to show that the morality yields benefits: higher growth, lower unemployment, better living.

Has the West been performing well lately? If the average Turk looks to Greece as the nearest example of a Western democracy, does he see much to admire? Did Egyptians have a happy experience of the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood? Should a government in Budapest take economic advice from the finance ministry of France? Did ethnic Russians prosper under a succession of Kiev kleptocrats?

“Sustained inability to provide welfare, prosperity, equity, justice, domestic order, or external security could over time undermine the legitimacy of even democratic governments,” Huntington warned. “As the memories of authoritarian failures fade, irritation with democratic failures is likely to increase.”



A Top Hospital Opens Up to Chinese Herbs as Medicines Evidence is lacking that herbs are effective

Christina Lunka appeared nervous and excited as she sat in the Chinese herbal therapy center recently opened by the Cleveland Clinic.

The 49-year-old had been to many doctors seeking help for ongoing issues that included joint pain and digestive problems. Now the Kirtland, Ohio, resident was hoping to find relief through herbal remedies.

“Do you have something for inflammation?” Ms. Lunka asked herbalist Galina Roofener during a one-hour consultation.

“Absolutely,” responded Ms. Roofener. “This is for pain, for digestion, for inflammation, all of the above,” she said, handing Ms. Lunka a bottle with capsules of an herbal combination called Xiao Yao San, which translates as free and easy wanderer. The capsules include about eight different herbs, including licorice, mint leaf and white peony root.

“Please do not expect immediate results,” said Ms. Roofener. “The first effects, three weeks. The best therapeutic potential, three months. It will be slow, tedious work.”


U.S. allies look for support against Beijing’s new aggression.

President Barack Obama lands in Japan Wednesday to kick off a week-long Asian Reassurance Tour, and not a moment too soon. Amid the summitry in Tokyo, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur and Manila, Asian leaders will be watching the showdown over an obscure speck of land in the South China Sea.

Second Thomas Shoal sits some 125 miles off the western coast of the Philippines, one of more than 750 rocks, reefs and islets known as the Spratly Islands. Today it is the site of China’s boldest attempt to forcibly exert sovereignty over the resource-rich, 1.35-million-square-mile South China Sea, through which one-third of all global maritime traffic passes.

Early last month Chinese ships blocked the Philippine military from resupplying its marines on the shoal, which is 700 miles from China’s coast and has had a Philippine military presence since 1999. This marked an escalation in China’s “cabbage strategy” of seizing Philippine territory by gradually surrounding it with layers of Chinese boats, from fishing vessels to coast guard patrols and warships.

Beijing’s move essentially dares Manila to risk a shooting war whenever it resupplies or rotates its marines, as it last did on March 29. That time a Philippine supply ship successfully reached the shoal, having maneuvered past Chinese coast guard vessels at a distance of a few hundred dangerous meters. Manila’s next supply run could come any day.

This is the latest in a string of Chinese provocations against the Philippines. In 2012, several hundred miles to the north, Beijing seized Scarborough Shoal after Philippine patrols had the temerity to try to arrest illegal Chinese fishermen. The U.S. brokered a June 2012 agreement for China and the Philippines to withdraw from Scarborough, but only Manila complied. Chinese ships have since used water cannons to keep Filipinos from fishing in the area.


Fading Gigolo,” a new film written, directed by and starring John Turturro, Woody Allen and several other top stars, has gotten short shrift from the NYTimes and the Wall Street Journal. Its premise is less funny than shaky: a going out of business bookseller finds an unconventional way for his now unemployed worker/friend to earn some extra money and get out of debt. John Turturro plays the sensitive part/time florist/book stacker who’s coaxed into male prostitution. Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara are the wealthy va-va-voom lovers who crave a menage a trois and apparently can’t find a suitable male without asking Woody Allen for a recommendation. As I said, the premise is shaky.

But the plot thickens as Woody takes the black children of his live-in partner to be de-loused by a lovely Hasidic widow of a rabbi whose books Woody had bought. We first meet Avigal wearing a turban that’s a counterpoint to the black woman’s ethnic headdress in the previous scene – New York is the mecca for cultural compare and contrast. Played by the singularly haunting Vanessa Paradis, Avigal is the one who steps out of the confines of her stereotype to surprise both John Turturro’s character and the audience. We see her meticulously pick out the lice and distinguish between the microscopic egg and the insect as naturally as if she were sorting socks. After Woody suggests that she might be re-energized by a visit with a masseur, she comes to John Turturro’s apartment where he patiently and gently begins to stroke her partially exposed back, whereupon Avigal is flooded with emotion at the recognition of how lonely she has been for a man’s touch. There is no further contact except for the offer of a tissue for her tears.

There is another visit at which she skillfully debones a cooked fish with the same down to earth know-how that she exhibited with the lice. This woman’s simplicity and and earthiness stand in contrast to the expensively clad, extensively made-up twosome of Stone and Vergara who want sex with a man as revenge against a husband or plaything for bored lesbians. When Turturro first comes to Sharon Stone’s elegant NY apartment, he brings a complicated centerpiece inspired by a Japanese master; when he is with Avigal, he brings a single rose.

The Jewish Question By Alex Markovsky

Winston Churchill called Jews, “..the most formidable and the most remarkable race which has ever appeared in the world.” We are remarkable all right. When you have a smart Jew he predominates with his intellectual prowess over the rest of the human race, but when you have a dumb Jew, he is an insult to human intelligence.

As a Jew, I was perplexed which of those remarkable Jewish-Americans voted for Obama in 2008; to me, it was completely obvious that the alternative choices for president in 2008 were clear and unambiguous. On the Republican side was a war hero, a strong supporter of Israel, an experienced politician with a strong track record and a commitment to public service.

On the other side, for the Democrats, was a young man of Muslim background, an inexperienced politician with no track record of accomplishment whose personal files were mysteriously sealed. Moreover, this man had dubious connections with anti-Semites and America-haters.

I was even more baffled in 2012. This time, the choice was between Obama and Romney, a friend of Benjamin Netanyahu, supporter of Israel, and a man with impeccable business and civil service credentials. What could Obama do for Jews that Romney couldn’t or wouldn’t do? What was it in the Democratic Party platform that was so appealing to the Jews? What was I missing?

After the shocking outcome of each election, I asked “Why?” many times, of many Jews.

The typical answer I received was “I did not (???) vote for him, but I am not going to vote for him this time.” You ask a Jewish question, you get a Jewish answer. But they lied, and did vote for him again in 2012.

As prominent Zionist Zev Jabotinsky once said, “Logic is an art of the Greeks; a Jew has his own logic. Jewish logic is the logic of catastrophe. Jews do not detect danger; they face it when it comes.”


The headline shouted, “All citizens of Jewish nationality!” The document ordered all Jews over the age of 16 to register or face deportation, calling them “hostile to the Orthodox Donetsk Republic.”

The words stunned Jewish residents of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on the first night of Passover, when masked men carrying a Russian flag started handing out sheets with the chilling announcement to community members as they left the synagogue. “Evasion of registration,” it warned, “will result in revocation of citizenship and . . . confiscation of property.”

Was the threat real? Was it a hoax? Was it an effort to intimidate Jews, to smear pro-Russian activists?

The fliers bore the seal of the “Donetsk People’s Republic,” an entity just announced by Moscow loyalists trying to break away from Ukraine’s pro-Western government in Kiev. It accused the Jews of supporting the “Junta” in Kiev, and therefore being disloyal to the Donetsk separatists. It was signed Denis Pushilin, the leader of the Donetsk “Republic,” but Pushilin denies he had anything to do with it.

Until now there is no sign that anyone intends to enforce the apparent decree. Still, it would be wrong to dismiss the incident and the flier as a meaningless forgery.

Both sides in the dispute between Ukraine and Russia have accused the other of anti-Semitism, and they have each called the other fascists. The truth is that anti-Semitism has a long history there.

It is no accident that the Jews are caught in the middle.

Jews have lived in Ukraine and Russia for more than a thousand years. After hundreds of generations, you would understand why they feel they live in their country and have a right to participate in civil life. But many in the community urged the young people to stay out of the demonstrations on either side, lest Jews become yet again the convenient scapegoats.

Boston Marathon a Case Study in Lessons Learned Following Last Year’s Bombing Tragedy: Steve Lasky

Things were different at the Boston Marathon this year. Meb Keflezighi became the first American man to win the Boston Marathon since 1983 and the second oldest runner to ever take the crown. And unlike past races where it was a virtually open venue for both spectators and participants alike, strict physical security measures and a robust police presence made for long security lines, barricaded race routes, random searches, bans on backpacks and a zero tolerance for rouge runners who used to be part of the Marathon’s charm – remember Rosie Ruiz? The Marathon also accommodated more than 9,000 additional runners who failed to cross the finish line in 2013 because of the horrific terrorist bombing at the finish line of last April’s Marathon.

This year’s race also figured to be a lot different for Bonnie Michaelman, the Director of Police, Security and Outside Services at Mass General Hospital. The devastating attack put Michaelman and her entire facility on the frontline in 2013, as Mass General was the designated primary hospital for the race. Her facility wound up treating close to 300 casualties as a result of the bomb attacks.

“The preparations for last year’s event were prudent and appropriate for both the city and my facility. No one could have ever anticipated the unforeseeable nature and horror of this event. You can never plan for every contingency, for every event, and this was by far a startling example of that,” said Michaelman, who pointed out that the situation was made even more difficult due to the longitudinal nature of the event.

“This was an extremely disruptive disaster for many organizations, including mine. It wasn’t a four or five hour disaster – it was a multi-day disaster. We went into to Tuesday still gathering evidence, looking for the suspects, trying to reunite families, trying to identify comatose patients; and then on Thursday we had to ramp up for a Presidential visit,” she continued. “So we had a huge emergency preparedness response to those dignitary visits. Then Friday, we had an unprecedented city lockdown that created all sorts of issues for the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I have 8,500 employees here at Mass General that takes public transportation to work, which was completely shut down.”

Michaelman has been a long-time key player in the region’s disaster preparedness efforts. The city of Boston regularly conducts disaster and emergency preparedness exercises throughout the year, with a major training event each May. There are also numerous table-top exercises conducted among the public-private partners, MEMA and FEMA.

‘Easy Meat’: Inside the World of Muslim Rape Gangs, Part II — on The Glazov Gang

‘Easy Meat’: Inside the World of Muslim Rape Gangs, Part II — on The Glazov Gang
Gavin Boby unveils a horrifying segment of Islamic Jihad terrorizing the U.K.


Others have already pointed out the absurdity that gay marriage is becoming a right in places where plastic bags and large sodas are becoming against the law. This sort of next wave civil rights step is only an expansion of freedom if you aren’t paying attention.

All the arguments over the differences between civil unions and marriage are largely meaningless. Once gay marriage is recognized, then marriage becomes nothing more than a civil union. The real casualty is the destruction of the word “marriage”, but the left is adept as destroying language and replacing meaningful words with meaningless words.

There was no word in Newspeak for freedom. We can look forward to an English language in which there is no word for marriage. And what does freedom mean anyway in a country where most things are banned, but we are constantly throwing holidays to celebrate how free we are?

But if marriage is no longer refers to a natural social institution, but now means a civil union recognized by the state, then why stop at two? Gay rights advocates insist that there is some magic difference between polygamy and gay marriage. There isn’t any difference except the number. And if we’re not going to be bound by any antiquated notion that marriage is an organic institution between man and woman, then why should we be bound by mere number?

Surely in our enlightened age and time, it can be possible for large groups of consenting adults to tie their confusing knots together in any number from 2 to 2,000.

True marriage equality would completely open up the concept. But it’s not actually equality that we’re talking about. It’s someone’s idea of the social good. And the social good is served by gay marriage, but not by polygamy.

The Progressive Paradigms Lost By Bruce Thornton

The progressive mind functions in terms of fossilized paradigms into which every crisis and problem are fitted, no matter how many qualifying or contradictory facts are left behind. These paradigms are part of a worldview, a picture of human existence that gives it coherence and meaning, and a narrative that gives people an identity and a morality. With these paradigms we can sort out the good from the bad, the saved from the damned, the political goals we should pursue, the ones we should avoid––and who gets the power to decide.

Every human community from the most primitive tribe to the most advanced civilization functions in terms of some sort of worldview. For nearly 2000 years Christianity provided the dominant paradigms of Western civilization. Modernity, however, developed a new and dangerous twist on this eternal human behavior. With the rise of the natural sciences, people began to dream of a new paradigm based on science, not the irrational myths and superstitions of religion. Whole new disciplines arose to teach and institutionalize these new “scientific” truths about human identity and behavior. Soon anthropology, psychology, sociology, and political science displaced the old philosophical, traditional, and theological understanding of human life.

Isaiah Berlin describes this historical process and its consequences: “The success of physics seemed to give reason for optimism: once appropriate social laws were discovered, rational organization would take the place of blind improvisation, and men’s wishes, within the limits of the uniformities of nature, could in principle all be made to come true . . . The rational reorganization of society would put an end to spiritual and intellectual confusion, the reign of prejudice and superstition, blind obedience to unexamined dogmas, and the stupidities and cruelties of the oppressive regimes which such intellectual darkness bred and promoted.” The progressive worldview is easily recognizable in this description. Just let technocrats armed with science and backed by the coercive power of the state take over the organization of society from the myths of religion and the superstitions of tradition, and we will achieve the utopia of prefect freedom, justice, and equality.

This whole notion, of course, is itself a myth, one whose bloody consequences stain every page of modern history with genocides and gulags. Humans are not material things in the world that can be understood by the laws of nature so reliably that people can be organized and controlled like the cogs and wheels in a watch. People are too complex and intricate, too mysterious in their motives, too spontaneous in their actions, and too unpredictable because of their radical freedom to chose. Yet from Freud and Marx down to today’s evolutionary psychologists, this myth of the “human sciences” is marketed as real science, beyond discussion or qualification as much as the laws of gravity or the heliocentric solar system.