I think most sensible people understand that the current uproar in Afghanistan over the desecration of the Quran isn’t really just about the defiling of a holy book. But if there’s sense in the world, there’s also nonsense. Enter Tom Friedman’s New York Times column today (2/29/12): U.S. troops accidentally burned some Qurans, and President Obama apologized. Afghans nevertheless went on a weeklong rampage, killing innocent Americans in response–and no Afghan leader, even our allies, dared to stand up and say: “Wait, this is wrong. Every week in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq, Muslim suicide bombers kill other Muslims–holy people created […]
For years prominent corporate media pundits have told us that the world–and the media–would embrace a dramatic, non-violent Palestinian resistance movement. If only such a movement–perhaps led by a Gandhi-like figure–were to finally emerge, we are told, the media coverage will come, and sympathy from across the world will strengthen support for the Palestinian cause. This is nonsense–there has been non-violent Palestinian resistance for years. But that fact hasn’t stopped pundits like Time‘s Joe Klein, as recently as last year, from wondering why Palestinians haven’t found their Gandhi. Or New York Times columnist Tom Friedman from writing a column (5/24/11) […]
Today New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman (12/21/11) gives readers a sense of what the Iraq War was all about: Iraq was always a war of choice. As I never bought the argument that Saddam had nukes that had to be taken out, the decision to go to war stemmed, for me, from a different choice: Could we collaborate with the people of Iraq to change the political trajectory of this pivotal state in the heart of the Arab world and help tilt it and the region onto a democratizing track? Huh. A collaborative effort with the people of Iraq? […]
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman (11/9/11) went to India in order to appreciate how the grassroots movement to stamp out political corruption there is superior to Occupy Wall Street. Still, he sees a common thread: The world’s two biggest democracies, India and the United States, are going through remarkably similar bouts of introspection. Both countries are witnessing grassroots movements against corruption and excess. The difference is that Indians are protesting what is illegal–a system requiring bribes at every level of governance to get anything done. And Americans are protesting what is legal–a system of Supreme Court-sanctioned bribery in the […]
Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie isn’t running for president after all. This is bad news for the journalists who seemed so eager to promote his candidacy, but also for establishment pundits like New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, who thought a Christie/Obama contest would have been a victory for…. wait for it… centrism! He writes today (10/5/11): Had Christie–a moderate on gun control, climate change and immigration who has also backed Simpson/Bowles–run and won significant support, he would have forced Obama back to the center. Then, instead of a race between the Democratic left and the Republican right–in which […]
Politicians beware: Thomas Friedman is still threatening to launch a third party. In his New York Times column today (9/21/11), Friedman moans: One would hope that our politicians would rise to the challenge by putting forth fair and credible recovery proposals that match the scale of our debt problem and contain the three elements that any serious plan must have: spending cuts, increases in revenues and investments in the sources of our strength. But that, alas, is not what we’re getting, which is why there remains an opening for an independent third party candidate in the 2012 campaign. Hmm, spending […]
In the debt ceiling debate, Republicans and corporate media have somewhat similar strategies: The GOP can’t reach an agreement with the Democrats, because that would be a win for Obama. The media, meanwhile, can’t say that the Democrats are doing the right thing, even when they’re doing exactly what media pundits demand that they do because that would make the media seem like they were on the Democrats’ side. Thomas Friedman‘s column today (7/27/11) is a great example of this. Aside from what sounds like a call for a series of Tom Friedman impersonation festivals (i.e., “a series of hearings […]
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 […]