Saturday, December 5, 2009

Poles Jews and the Politics of Nationality or The End of Alliances

Poles, Jews, and the Politics of Nationality: The Bund and the Polish Socialist Party in Late Tsarist Russia, 1892-1914

Author: Joshua D Zimmerman

The Jewish experience on Polish lands is often viewed backwards through the lens of the Holocaust and the ethnic rivalries that escalated in the period between the two world wars. Critical to the history of Polish-Jewish relations, however, is the period prior to World War I when the emergence of mass electoral politics in Czarist Russia led to the consolidation of modern political parties. Using sources published in Polish, Yiddish, Hebrew, and Russian, Joshua D. Zimmerman has compiled a full-length English-language study of the relations between the two dominant progressive movements in Russian Poland. He examines the Polish Socialist Party (PPS), which sought social emancipation and equal civil rights for minority nationalities, including Jews, under a democratic Polish republic, and the Jewish Labor Bund, which declared that Jews were a nation distinct from Poles and Russians and advocated cultural autonomy. By 1905, the PPS abandoned its call for Jewish assimilation, and recognized Jews as a separate nationality. Zimmerman demonstrates persuasively that Polish history in Czarist Russia cannot be fully understood without studying the Jewish influence and that Jewish history was equally infused with the Polish influence.

Table of Contents:
Maps, Tables, Figures, and Illustrations
Note on Transliterations, Dates, and Terms
1Industrialization and the Rise of the Polish Socialist Party in Tsarist Russia, 1892-979
2The First Sproutings of the Jewish Socialist Movement, 1890-9536
3Into the Polish Heartland: The Spread of the Jewish Movement to Warsaw, 1895-9769
4Organizational Breakthrough: The Formation of the Jewish Labor Bund, 1897-9883
5Ideological Transformation: The Turn to a National Program, 1899-1901106
6Polish Socialism Responds: The First Years of the PPS Yiddish Press, 1898-1902126
7Toward a Recognition of Jewish Nationality: The PPS and Its Jewish Section, 1902-4165
8The 1905 Revolution in Russia and the Transformation of PPS-Bund Relations191
9From Politics to the New Yiddish Culture: The Bund in the Period of Revolutionary Defeat, 1907-11227
10The PPS and the Jewish Question on the Eve of the First World War255

Interesting book: Appetites or Yoga for Living

The End of Alliances

Author: Rajan Menon

Why should the United States cling to military alliances established during the Cold War when the circumstances are now fundamentally different? In The End of Alliances, Rajan Menon argues that our alliances in Europe and Asia have become irrelevant to the challenges we face today. The United States must be actively involved beyond its borders, but by relying on coalitions whose membership varies depending on the issue at hand. While a strategy that ceases to rely on alliances will mark a dramatic shift in American foreign policy, he reminds us that states routinely reassess and reorient their strategies. The United States, which studiously avoided alliances for much of its history only to embrace them during the Cold War, is no exception. The End of Alliances predicts that the coming change in American strategy will force our traditional allies to rethink their choices and create new patterns in world politics. The controversial argument advanced by Menon will provoke debate among foreign policy specialists and the general public.

The New York Times - Mick Sussman

…Menon is a level-headed analyst, and though his prescription for an updated grand strategy is tentative, his diagnosis of the ills besetting the current one is persuasive.

Foreign Affairs

Alliances have been the cornerstone of U.S. foreign relationssince the 1940s. Even now, they remain the foundation for global security cooperation. But in this provocative book, Menon asserts that such formal military ties are destined to fade away. It is not a return to isolationism that will drive the dissolution of alliances but rather a slow -- and, to Menon's mind, welcome -- strategic reorientation of the United States' global position, with more informal and shifting alignments of states. Menon's thesis is based partly on his reading of the past: the United States has always been ambivalent about security commitments and maintaining a long-term overseas military presence, a national orientation only temporarily overcome by the Cold War. The new security environment, Menon goes on to argue, marked by the rise of terrorism and the absence of threatening great powers, makes alliances dispensable. Moreover, Washington's European and Asian allies are now economically revived and able to provide for their own security. In the end, Menon offers a clear picture of the global shifts that have thrown the role of alliances into question, but his argument that the costs of alliances are rising relative to their benefits is less convincing. Nor does he explore the role of the U.S. alliance system in facilitating cooperation among the advanced democracies. Today's alliances may have outlived their historical causes, but their usefulness remains.

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