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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Thomas Friedman, "From Putin, a Blessing in Disguise": Was Hitler's Annexation of the Sudetenland Also a Godsend?

Does Putin's annexation of Crimea have a silver lining? Thomas Friedman seems to think this is the case.

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "From Putin, a Blessing in Disguise" (, Friedman says that if there is to be "a new cold war," he wants to see an "earth race," as opposed to a "space race," which will bring about a new American energy policy. Tom Terrific writes:

"I want America to lead in developing an energy policy that will weaken the oil-and-gas-autocracy of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and, as a byproduct, produce the technologies that will mitigate climate change, make America a global technology and moral leader and ensure that the next generation can thrive here on Earth."

His conclusion:

"I would hate to see Obama spend the next two and half years just counting sign-ups. He needs to recognize that Putin’s Crimea adventure has created the opportunity for a legacy project of moving America into a clean energy future — a move that would make us stronger, Putin weaker and the world safer."

Whoa! Less than a month ago, Friedman told us that the Cold War was forever over (

"The Cold War was a unique event that pitted two global ideologies, two global superpowers, each with globe-spanning nuclear arsenals and broad alliances behind them. Indeed, the world was divided into a chessboard of red and black, and who controlled each square mattered to each side’s sense of security, well-being and power. It was also a zero-sum game, in which every gain for the Soviet Union and its allies was a loss for the West and NATO, and vice versa.

That game is over. We won."

Well, even Tom now seems to recognize that the "game" is not over, and in fact Putin has Obama caught in a devastating pincer movement, given Obama's dependence upon Russian goodwill involving the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal and Iran's nuclear weapons development program.

Regarding Friedman's call for "an energy policy that will weaken the oil-and-gas-autocracy of Russian President Vladimir Putin," there is of course no mention by Tom of Solyndra or the US national debt, which Obama has taken to an unsustainable $17.5 trillion.

All of which is not to say that Obama cannot pressure Putin. As I observed in a previous blog entry (, freeing Europe from dependency upon Russian gas need not take much time at all. If Friedman were to spend a few minutes reading a Commentary article entitled "Will Israel Be the Next Energy Superpower?" ( by Arthur Herman, he would quickly realize that salvation is to be found in Israel's enormous gas discoveries off its Mediterranean coast.

However, channeling Israeli gas to Europe might also demand that Obama put an end to his ideological war with Netanyahu, and this might be too much to demand of a president who has made the weakening of America's alliance with Israel a keystone of his foreign policy. Note Obama's luncheon with Palestinian Authority President Abbas, during which Obama called for "a state that allows for the dignity and sovereignty of the Palestinian people," but refused to acknowledge the necessity of a neighboring nation which safeguards the existence of the Jewish people (see:

Interestingly enough, even Friedman in this op-ed seems to understand that the Affordable Care Act is headed for disaster and will not provide Obama with the legacy that he is so desperately seeking.

But I digress from the thesis of Tom's opinion piece, i.e. Putin's annexation of Crimea is "a blessing in disguise." I can only wonder, if we were back in 1938, whether Friedman would also regard Hitler's annexation of the Sudetenland as a godsend . . .

1 comment:

  1. Just in...President Obama calls Vladimir Putin to discuss the situation in Ukraine;-)