A bad Friedman day
: I call myself a “Tom Friedman Democrat.” But today I call Tom Friedman way wrong.
He starts today’s column endorsing the dangerous deadend doctrine of diplomacy by popularity.
We are in danger of losing something much more important than just the war in Iraq. We are in danger of losing America as an instrument of moral authority and inspiration in the world. I have never known a time in my life when America and its president were more hated around the world than today. I was just in Japan, and even young Japanese dislike us. It’s no wonder that so many Americans are obsessed with the finale of the sitcom “Friends” right now. They’re the only friends we have, and even they’re leaving.
It’s bad enough that he also tried way too hard to make a pop-culture reference and conveniently join the Friends hooha — looking rather like a doughy middle-aged guy trying to wear clothes out of H&M while rapping. But that’s a literary criticism.
The real problem is that this is the same argument opponents made to the war in Iraq — the same war that Friedman supported: It wouldn’t make us any friends. Well, first off, experience shows that having friends doesn’t do us much good in time of need. France, Germany, and Russia have proven to be fairweather friends at best. With friends like those, who needs friends? Second, if making friends were our goal, we’d take on all kinds of horrid positions: We’d drop Israel like a hot knish; we’d go the FCC one better and endorse censorship of all our amoral media; we’d play trade policy like an episode of Queen for a Day; we’d ignore human rights violations of China and North Korea and too many Arab nations. Third, if we did as Friedman suggests and bowed before the altar of the U.N. as if it were an authority on what’s right we’d truly give up any pretense of world leadership and we’d give it up to an organization that has proven itself to be morally unreliable. It’s not about making friends.
Friedman then joins the lynch mob forming on the left against Donald Rumsfeld:
This administration needs to undertake a total overhaul of its Iraq policy; otherwise, it is courting a total disaster for us all.
That overhaul needs to begin with President Bush firing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld