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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Thomas Friedman, "ISIS, Boko Haram and Batman": Send Psaki and Harf on a Hand Holding Mission!

With every passing week, I marvel more at the wondrous know-it-all wit of would-be Middle East expert Thomas Friedman. Needless to say, his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "ISIS, Boko Haram and Batman" does not disappoint.

First, Friedman provides us with a psychological profile of the persons who fill the ranks of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL:

"Their barbarism comes from a dark place, where radical Islam gives a sense of community to humiliated, drifting young men, who have never held a job or a girl’s hand."

Who would have ever thought? Their obsessive need to behead and crucify enemies stems from their past failure to hold hands with young women! Let's quickly send Jen Psaki and Marie Harf to Syria and Iraq on a hand holding mission!

But in fact, Friedman has a better solution. After providing us with a dialogue between Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth from "Batman: The Dark Knight" (anything that pops into Friedman's head is of earthshaking importance), Tom provides us with "a strategy for dealing with the world of disorder":

"Where there is disorder — think Libya, Iraq, Syria, Mali, Chad, Somalia — collaborate with every source of local, regional and international order to contain the virus until the barbarism burns itself out. These groups can’t govern, so ultimately locals will seek alternatives.

Where there is top-down order — think Egypt or Saudi Arabia — try to make it more decent and inclusive.

Where there is order plus decency — think Jordan, Morocco, Kurdistan, the United Arab Emirates — try to make it more consensual and effective, again to make it more sustainable.

Where there is order plus democracy — think Tunisia — do all you can to preserve and strengthen it with financial and security assistance, so it can become a model for emulation by the states and peoples around it."

Fascinating! But consider the following representative news items from these various Muddle Eastern locales, purportedly providing order of one kind or another:

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Tunisia are going to provide order to a "world of disorder"? Yeah, right.

Kurdistan? Well, that's a horse of a different color. The Kurds have consistently shown themselves to be friends of the United States. On the other hand, the Obama administration is being very careful not to assist the Kurds in their ground battle with ISIS, so as not to offend Turkey.

Go back to sleep, Tom.

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