The World is Round

Tom Friedman is the most maddening columnist of all time - why, because exactly half the time he is totally on target with his analysis and the other half he is totally wrong. Yesterday I watched him on Meet the Press and he explained why he had called George Bush "Radioactive" in last weeks Op/Ed piece. After conceding that "some of it’s excessive, this dislike, this distaste, this hatred of George Bush" - he presses on to dig a little deeper.

"But what’s it about? Whenever you see something that excessive, you know?

And the way I explain it is this way: Foreigners love to make fun of Americans. Our naivete, our crazy thought that every problem has a solution, that silly American notion, that silly American optimism. But you know what, Tim? Deep down, the world really envies that American optimism and naivete. And the world needs that American optimism and naivete.

And so when we go from a country that, historically, has always exported hope to a country that always exports fear, what we do, and what this administration has done, is actually stolen something from people. Whether it’s an African or a European or an Arab or Israeli, it’s that idea of an optimistic America out there. People really need that idea, and the sort of dark nature of the Cheneys and the Bushes and the Rices, this, this sort of relentless pessimism about the world, this exporting of fear, not hope, has really left people feeling that the idea of America has been stolen from them. And I would argue that that is the animating force behind so much of the animus directed at George Bush."

This is what passes for analysis on the Sunday morning news shows! There was no follow up from Russert - nothing like:
"Do you really think it's in our national interest to be perceived as a naive country worthy of ridicule?"
"Many critics claim that it is George Bush who is naive so why isn't that aspect of his character viewed favorably by the world community?"
"Can you describe the kind of fear that our country is now exporting under the Bush/Cheney regime? Do you mean the fledgling democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq?"
"You claim that an African or a European or an Arab or Israeli really needs the idea of an optimistic America, but why?"
"Aside from the fact that they don't listen to your advise, do you have any evidence of the dark nature of the Cheneys and the Bushes and the Rices?"
"You say that Bush is hated by the world because 'the idea of America has been stolen from them' but the idea of America was never theirs to begin with so why should we care?"

Friedman's answer for the Middle East is more of the same old shit they've been living with for the past 30 years. He loves to watch the spectacle from the window of his jet plane as he fly's in and out of the capital cities that still have working airports. Israel's nightmare is his bread and butter and he has no interest in long term answers.

Thanks for your thoughts Tom, but I think I'll leave it to Condi Rice to figure out this mess and leave you to your goofy ideas.


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