The recent New Yorker piece by Ryan Lizza about the development of Barack Obama's foreign policy includes this memorable line: Obama had always read widely, and now he was determined to get a deeper education. He read popular books on foreign affairs by Fareed Zakaria and Thomas Friedman. The magazine's cartoons never make me laugh, but that is hilarious.
Tom Friedman, writing today about the Arab Spring (4/13/11–the same column Jim Naureckas critiqued for FAIR Blog here): Another option is that an outside power comes in, as America did in Iraq, and as the European Union did in Eastern Europe, to referee or coach a democratic transition between the distrustful communities in these fractured states. It's been a while since I've played an organized sport, but if any coach or referee did anything resembling what the U.S. has done in Iraq, they would be removed from the league, and probably put in jail. That analogy sounded familiar, though. Turns [...]
One thing Thomas Friedman demonstrates over and over is that you don't need to know much to be an expert. Take today's column (New York Times, 4/13/11), which is based around a contrast between the European wave of democratization in 1989 and the current "Arab spring": Think about the 1989 democracy wave in Europe. In Europe, virtually every state was like Germany, a homogenous nation, except Yugoslavia. The Arab world is exactly the opposite. There, virtually every state is like Yugoslavia–except Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. That is to say, in Europe, when the iron fist of Communism was removed, the [...]
It might be hard for you to imagine covering the democratic uprising in Egypt as a way to reflect upon all the wise things you've written in the past. But you're not Tom Friedman. He wrote today (New York Times, 2/11/11): I spent part of the morning in the square watching and photographing a group of young Egyptian students wearing plastic gloves taking garbage in both hands and neatly scooping it into black plastic bags to keep the area clean. This touched me in particular because more than once in this column I have quoted the aphorism that "in the [...]
There have been some interesting, informative TV coverage of Egypt. And then there was last night's Charlie Rose (2/3/11), with special guests Tom Friedman and Henry Kissinger.
Writing from the confines of what some Palestinians call the "Ramallah bubble" (Ha'aretz, 1/1/09), Thomas Friedman (New York Times, 6/30/10) thinks he knows how to solve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict: "quietly support[ing]" the Palestinian Authority while it builds a "real economy, a professional security force and an effective, transparent government bureaucracy." Friedman has a curious definition of a Palestinian state, which according to Friedman is 'in the West Bank and Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬Ãƒâ€šÂ Gaza is missing from this equation, and probably not by accident, as Friedman has a history of trying to dismiss Hamas-run Gaza as 'undemocratic,ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬Ãƒâ€šÂ and therefore [...]
Thomas Friedman sure knows how to flip reality on its head. In his New York Times op-ed column today, Friedman hops on the bandwagon (FAIR blog, 6/10/10) of bashing Turkey for "joining the Hamas-Hezbollah-Iran resistance front against Israel." Friedman accuses Turkish Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan of no longer promoting democracy and instead being more focused on "praising Hamas instead of the more responsible Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, which is actually building the foundations of a Palestinian state." Friedman says of Erdogan: I'd love to see him be the most popular leader on the Arab street, but not [...]
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman argued yesterday (6/13/10) that, when it comes down to it,we're all to blame for the BP disaster. And that's not all we're to blame for: We cannot fix what ails America unless we look honestly at our own roles in creating our own problems. We–both parties–created an awful set of incentives that encouraged our best students to go to Wall Street to create crazy financial instruments instead of to Silicon Valley to create new products that improve people's lives. We–both parties–created massive tax incentives and cheap money to make home mortgages available to people [...]
Thomas Friedman is upset in his New York Times column today (5/26/10) because Brazilian President Lula da Silva negotiated a nuclear deal with Iran. Asks Friedman, "Is there anything uglier than watching democrats sell out other democrats to a Holocaust-denying, vote-stealing Iranian thug just to tweak the U.S. and show that they, too, can play at the big power table?" And he answers himself: "No, that's about as ugly as it gets." Friedman quotes a source complaining that Iran had just executed "political prisoners who were tortured into confessions," but Lula "didn't mention a word about human rights." Friedman presumably [...]
In a column headlined "A Word From the Wise" (3/3/10), New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman lets us know what Intel CEO Paul Otellini thinks is wrong with the U.S. economy. And there's a certain theme that runs through his critique: "The things that are not conducive to investments here are [corporate] taxes and capital equipment credits."… "If I build that factory in almost any other country in the world, where they have significant incentive programs, I could save $1 billion," because of all the tax breaks these governments throw in…. "The cost of operating when you look at it [...]
In his New York Times column today (2/24/10), Tom Friedman presents a bizarre view of the Iraq War. Attempting to answer the question of whether Iraq is dysfunctional because of its culture (the "conservative" argument)or because of its politics (the "liberal" argument), he writes: Ironically, though, it was the neo-conservative Bush team that argued that culture didn't matter in Iraq, and that the prospect of democracy and self-rule would automatically bring Iraqis together to bury the past. While many liberals and realists contended that Iraq was an irredeemable tribal hornet's nest and we should not be sticking our hand in [...]
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman referred disparagingly this week to the praise that terrorism allegedly receives in "mainstream Arab media, like Al Jazeera." In his February 18 column, Friedman wrote: To be sure, Mumbai's Muslims are a vulnerable minority in a predominantly Hindu country. Nevertheless, their in-your-face defiance of the Islamist terrorists stands out. It stands out against a dismal landscape of predominantly Sunni Muslim suicide murderers who have attacked civilians in mosques and markets–from Iraq to Pakistan to Afghanistan–but who have been treated by mainstream Arab media, like Al Jazeera, or by extremist Islamist spiritual leaders and websites, [...]
Sometimes it's really baffling that Thomas Friedman is considered one of our nation's most important thinkers on political and economic matters. Here he is today (2/11/09) channeling what "non-Americans" have to say: Dear America, please remember how you got to be the wealthiest country in history. It wasn't through protectionism, or state-owned banks or fearing free trade. No, the formula was very simple: build this really flexible, really open economy, tolerate creative destruction so dead capital is quickly redeployed to better ideas and companies, pour into it the most diverse, smart and energetic immigrants from every corner of the world [...]