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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Thomas Friedman, "Foreign Policy by Whisper and Nudge": Or More Accurately Stated, Whimper and Fudge

Americans "can't wait for the start of the N.F.L. season" and are indifferent to the human tragedy unfolding in the Muslim Middle East? This is what Thomas Friedman claims in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Foreign Policy by Whisper and Nudge" (

Friedman goes on to say:

"For instance, if it is proved that Syria has used chemical weapons, American officials are rightly considering using cruise missiles to punish Syria. But we have no hope of making Syria united, democratic and inclusive without a much bigger involvement and without the will of a majority of Syrians."

Friedman fails to observe that it was proven a year ago that the Assad regime had used chemical weapons against the rebels, and notwithstanding Obama's declaration of a "red line" pertaining to such use, the US did absolutely nothing in response. Small arms promised to the rebels by the US were never delivered.

Friedman then condones Obama's foreign policy leadership by concluding:

"But it does explain why his foreign policy is mostly 'nudging' and whispering. It is not very satisfying, not very much fun and won’t make much history, but it’s probably the best we can do or afford right now. And it’s certainly all that most Americans want."

Yup, last week more than a thousand Syrian civilians were murdered with chemical weapons by the Assad regime, and, according to Friedman, selfish Americans couldn't care less.

Sorry, but I don't ascribe such cruel indifference to horrific war crimes by a people known for their generosity and caring.

If only Friedman was capable of feeling ashamed of himself. . . .

But wait! Is it possible that Friedman is correct? As reported by Reuters (

"The Reuters/Ipsos poll, taken August 19-23, found that 25 percent of Americans would support U.S. intervention if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces used chemicals to attack civilians, while 46 percent would oppose it. That represented a decline in backing for U.S. action since August 13, when Reuters/Ipsos tracking polls found that 30.2 percent of Americans supported intervention in Syria if chemicals had been used, while 41.6 percent did not."

Welcome to a brave new world of narcissism and isolationism, walking hand in hand.

Meanwhile, Iran is warning the US of "a ball of fire that would burn not only Syria but the whole Middle East" if Obama acts against the Assad Regime (see:

Obama sure as heck has this situation under control . . .


  1. Foreign policy experts and the Think Tanks they work with really ought to take a look at some of the research developed at the Technion that can predict future events based on mining of Web data.

    Perhaps they're already using these algorithms but erroneously inputted 20 years of Friedman's op-eds into the program. Or, as taught in every Computer Science 101 course: Garbage in, garbage out (GIGO).

  2. and, somehow, no one in America has noticed this outcome of R2P in Libya (linked from a more general article on the failure of the Arab Spring at the Daily Telegraph, UK from a report published in Algeria)

    "Libya’s Government Losing Control of Oil Fields to Jihadist Groups"
    First Published: August 20, 2013
    Posted on: August 21 2013
    Translated by: Rani Geha

    Yes, really, let us have 'foreign policy by poll data'