It is a sorry reflection on those who read and follow Thomas Friedman, op-ed writer in the New York Times and author, that his take on the world is so America-centric. Bottom line, in the main Friedman is plain wrong in his analysis of the world.
Glenn Greenwald, writing on Salon takes Friedman to task.
In The New York Times today, Tom Friedman argues that the only thing that could save Syria is if that country is lucky enough to have the U.S. do to it what the U.S. did to Iraq, and in the process, says this:
And, for me, the lesson of Iraq is quite simple: You can’t go from Saddam to Switzerland without getting stuck in Hobbes — a war of all against all — unless you have a well-armed external midwife, whom everyone on the ground both fears and trusts to manage the transition. In Iraq, that was America..
But Thomas Friedman wants you to know that Iraqis were so very fortunate to have an occupying military force — America — that “everyone on the ground” in Iraq “trusted” to “manage the transition.” And Syrians should hope and pray they are so lucky.
This is to say nothing of the warped imagery Friedman often uses of the invading U.S. as a “midwife” — as though Muslim countries are our little babies who need and pray for our parental imperial guidance out of their primitive wombs. The reality is that almost everything Tom Friedman says on Iraq is designed to make people forget his actual, candidly expressed views about why he thought the war was just — probably the most viscerally repellent comments anyone with a large mainstream platform has spouted in the last decade.
I say this with all sincerity. If I had to pick just a single fact that most powerfully reflects the nature of America’s political and media class in order to explain the cause of the nation’s imperial decline, it would be that, in those classes, Tom Friedman is the country’s most influential and most decorated “foreign policy expert.”