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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Thomas Friedman, "The World According to Maxwell Smart, Part 1": It's Not All Obama's Fault!

Imagine what would happen in the United States if Cuba was to suddenly announce its intention to attack New York with a new class of missiles at 9 p.m. Would New Yorkers stream out of the city? Would the US Air Force carpet bomb Havana? Would Obama take a break from playing golf and declare a state of emergency?

Well, a mere three hours ago Hamas announced that it would be firing a barrage of new J-80 missiles at the heart of Tel Aviv within 50 minutes, and indeed, at 9:05 p.m. Israeli time, seven rockets were fired at Israel's second largest city. The results: all of the rockets were destroyed by the Iron Dome anti-missile system. After taking two five-minute breaks in nearby bomb shelters, Tel Avivians were back sipping coffee at sidewalk cafes.

Hamas also fired at a number of other Israeli cities, but also to no avail. One of the rockets fired at Jerusalem hit the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the West bank.

Obama? Two days ago, he finally got around to calling Netanyahu to offer his assistance in brokering a cease fire with Hamas. This was after the White House's Middle East coordinator, Philip Gordon, gave a lecture at a conference in Tel Aviv - interrupted by a Hamas missile attack - scolding Israel for being unready "to make the difficult decisions required for [a peace] agreement."

Gordon made no mention of the Hamas charter, which calls for the murder of all Jews, not just Israelis. But why should such a charter pose a roadblock to peace, given the starry-eyed world view of Gordon's boss?

Which brings us to Thomas Friedman's latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The World According to Maxwell Smart, Part 1" (, in which this would-be Middle East expert ignores the war between Israel and Hamas. Instead, Friedman would have us know "that the post-post-Cold War world is cleaving into the world of 'order' and the world of 'disorder.'" Friedman informs us:

"Well, just as I’ve argued that 'average is over' for workers, now 'average is over for states,' too. Without the Cold War system to prop them up, it is not so easy anymore for weak states to provide the minimums of security, jobs, health and welfare. And thanks to rapid advances in the market (globalization), Mother Nature (climate change plus ecological destruction) and Moore’s Law (computing power), some states are just blowing up under the pressure.

. . . .

So, please spare me the 'it’s all Obama’s fault.' There are plenty of reasons to criticize Obama, but everything is not about what we do. There are huge forces acting on these countries, and it will take extraordinary collaboration by the whole world of order to contain them."

Question for Tom: When US national debt nears $20 trillion toward the end of Obama's second term in office, and when China and Japan ask for the repayment of their loans, will America belong to the world of "order" or the world of "disorder"?

Stay tuned.

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