"all of whom have deeper holes than ever to dig out of thanks to the Bin Laden decade, 2001 to 2011, and all of whom have less political authority than ever to make the hard decisions needed to get out of the holes."
Friedman blames the Arabs for failing over the past decade to address economic development, population growth and education. Friedman blames George W. Bush for a tax cut, Medicare prescription drug entitlement and two wars, all of which the U.S. could not afford. Friedman blames Israel for expanding West Bank settlements and destroying Israel as a Jewish democracy.
However, Friedman conveniently forgets that Obama has been President of the United States during the past two and a half years.
Observing that "Washington basically gave the Arab dictators a free pass to tighten their vise grip on their people," Friedman fails to remember that in his June 4, 2009 speech in Cairo, Obama excused the Arab states from implementing democratic reforms:
"I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other."
It skips Friedman's mind that Obama has failed to extricate the U.S. from a costly, pointless war in Afghanistan, and has even deepened U.S. involvement.
While blaming Israel for expanding West Bank settlements, Friedman fails to observe that in 2005, Israel undertook a unilateral evacuation of Gaza, which was followed by a hailstorm of missiles and rockets from Gaza directed at southern Israeli communities.
Friedman forgets that during that same bin Laden decade, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert offered Abbas an independent Palestinian state based upon the 1967 lines with land swaps, but this proposal was categorically rejected by Abbas. Does Netanyahu want to hold onto the West Bank with its 2.4 million Palestinians, as suggested by Friedman? No way, but like most Israelis, he is also unwilling to permit the return of Palestinian suicide bombings (also characteristic of the "bin Laden decade") or rocket fire from the West Bank into Tel Aviv, Haifa, Netanya and Jerusalem. Remember that Israel is only nine miles wide at its waist.
"For all these reasons, I find myself asking the same question in Cairo, Washington and Jerusalem: 'Who will tell the people?'"
I suppose Friedman thinks that he is the chosen one. Thanks, but no thanks, Tom.