Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tom Friedman Takes On The World

Author and columnist Thomas Friedman wrote this article Some Countries Are So Popular and So Spineless - in the New York Times today, July 16, 2008 . Friedman takes umbrage at the behavior of many countries that have rose colored glasses when it comes to repression in their own back yard. Friedman writes about America's role, and what the world would be like without it's leadership.

Friedman, is full of moral outrage and rightly so. But, much of his previous writing have fueled the fires of foreign opinion and contributed to the knee jerk reactions against American power that he now says the world would miss had we not exercised that power. Tom Friedman, is an important voice that has gotten much coverage due to his successful books, his voice on this matter may resonate with those who have thrown verbal and moral stones at America, and give them pause to consider what he warns a world without a strong America would be like.

Friedman begins by commenting on the recent popularity of America.

Much ink has been spilled lately decrying the decline in American popularity around the world under President Bush. Polls tell us how China is now more popular in Asia than America and how few Europeans say they identify with the United States. I am sure there is truth to these polls. We should have done better in Iraq. An America that presides over Abu Ghraib, torture and Guantánamo Bay deserves a thumbs-down.

But America is not and never has been just about those things, which is why I also find some of these poll results self-indulgent, knee-jerk and borderline silly. Friday’s vote at the U.N. on Zimbabwe reminded me why.

Friedmans final thoughts on the matter.

So, yes, we’re not so popular in Europe and Asia anymore. I guess they would prefer a world in which America was weaker, where leaders with the values of Vladimir Putin and Thabo Mbeki had a greater say, and where the desperate voices for change in Zimbabwe would, well, just shut up.

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