Patterico's Pontifications


Shorter Thomas Friedman: All These Guys Really Want Is A Little R-e-s-p-e-c-t

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:03 am

[guest post by Dana]

No, it’s not satire. But then again, none of us are Pulitzer prize winners, so perhaps that explains any disbelief at Friedman’s latest wherein he advises President Obama on what is necessary to simultaneously address ISIS and Putin (two peas in a pod in Friedman’s book). According to Friedman, the president must lean in lead from within, lift the ban on our oil exports, and establish a carbon tax to strengthen us and weaken them. Yes, I know.

This sage advice is followed by a psychological assessment of ISIS and Putin by would-be psychiatrist Dr. Friedman as he seeks to explain their atrocious behaviors. Interestingly, and unbelievably, Friedman ascribes a functioning moral code to both ISIS and Putin, and assures us that they are ashamed of their actions. (Hey, if you had experienced the intense levels of humiliation that they have, you would be chopping off heads, too, and seeking to devour your neighbors.) In other words, they can’t help it. At the end of the day, all these guys really want is a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T:

I don’t know what action will be sufficient to roll back both the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, and Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, but I do know what’s necessary. And it’s not “leading from behind,” which didn’t really work for President Obama in Libya, and it isn’t simply leading a lonely and unpopular charge from in front, which certainly didn’t work for President Bush in Iraq. It’s actually reviving America’s greatest strategy: leading from within.

The most effective leadership abroad starts with respect earned from others seeing us commit to doing great and difficult things at home that summon the energy of the whole country — and not just from our military families. That is how America inspires others to action. And the necessary impactful thing that America should do at home now is for the president and Congress to lift our self-imposed ban on U.S. oil exports, which would significantly dent the global high price of crude oil. And combine that with long overdue comprehensive tax reform that finally values our environment and security. That would be a carbon tax that is completely offset by lowering personal income, payroll and corporate taxes. Nothing would make us stronger and Putin and ISIS weaker — all at the same time.

How so? First you need to understand how much Putin and ISIS have in common. For starters, they each like to do their dirtiest work wearing a mask, because deep down, somewhere, they know that what they’re doing is shameful. The ISIS executioner actually wears a hood. Putin lies through his poker face.

Both seem to know that their ideas or influence are unsellable on their merits, so they have to impose them with intimidating force — “convert to puritanical Islam or I will chop your head off,” says ISIS, and “submit to Russia’s sphere of influence or I will invade you and wipe out your regime,” says Putin.

Both are clearly motivated to use force by an intense desire to overcome past humiliations. For Putin, it is the humiliation over Russian weakness that followed the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, which he once described as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century, which left millions of Russian speakers outside the Russian state. And for ISIS, it is how modernity has left so many Arab/Muslim nations behind in the 21st century by all the critical indices of human development: education, economic growth, scientific discoveries, literacy, freedom and women’s empowerment. Preventing Ukrainians from exercising their free will is Putin’s way of showing Russia’s only real strength left: brute force. Beheading defenseless American journalists is ISIS’s way of saying it is as strong as the United States. Both are looking for respect in all the wrong places.

Our enemies count on this sort of muddle headed thinking. Our weaknesses become their strengths.

If you are so moved, you can read the piece in its entirety here.


64 Responses to “Shorter Thomas Friedman: All These Guys Really Want Is A Little R-e-s-p-e-c-t”

  1. Hello.

    Dana (4dbf62)

  2. Some people just refuse to believe there is such a thing as evil, and such a thing as good.
    Maybe they have a deep down and intense desire to refuse to deal with the implications of such moral and spiritual realities.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  3. This is all Reagan’s fault for destabilizing Eastern Europe!

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  4. “in its entirety”

    no, that’s not happening. thanks for doing the heavy lifting, Dana.

    felipe (b5e0f4)

  5. MD, you and I are of an age. Remember “If the Russians Love Their Children?”

    The West is so narcissistic it cannot conceive of people with different agendas than what seems cool and hip and proper.

    Even a cursory reading of history would demonstrate this. But we don’t really teach history anymore, and I do not think that is by accident.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  6. Sounds like Friedman is another one of those “experts” the left trots out to “prove” their already decided and constantly wrong policies. Another Harvard yes man with his head up his butt.

    Hoagie (4dfb34)

  7. Friedman ain’t takin’ care to TCB.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  8. Shirley, he can’t be serious.

    nk (dbc370)

  9. ok let’s lift the ban on oil exports

    but taxing carbon is gayer than the annual Putin/ISIS croquet tournament I think

    happyfeet (a785d5)

  10. The Limelighters had this covered way back in the 60’s. Gunslinger

    Gunslinger, Gunslinger, why you act so strange? When you were a child did the Cheyenne and Souix, refuse to plaay nicely with you, did you come from a broken home on the range, Gunslinger?

    Gunslinger, gunslinger, where did you go wrong? When you were a child were you forced to compete with brothers that you never could beat? Did you always feel you didn’t belong, Gunslinger?

    Don’t wear your guns in town today, Old Buddy, cause last night you cried out Mommy Dear, You got a recurrent dream in your craw, and that dream of your Maw will inhibit your draw, Old Buddy. Yippi yi ay, yippi yi yo.

    Gunslinger gunslinger, please take my advice. You know in your mind that you’re plumb insecure, and that killing a man is real immature, it is just an attention-getting device!

    There you lie dead in the dust, Old Buddy…Old Buddy, and now your myth begins… Out in the West its generally believed you faced and killed the toughest hombres of your day, but time has revealed your feet of clay.

    Recent research has clearly shown that 99% of the gunmen you killed were simply accident prone, Old Buddy, Gunslinger!!

    bobathome (5ccbd8)

  11. people like Tom are lucky breathing is autonomic, because they’re too stupid to breathe on their own.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  12. Doctor Friedman needs to think about healing himself before he takes on the ills of ISIS and Vladimir Putin.

    First (Friedman) need(s) to understand how much (he,) Putin and ISIS (all) have in common. For starters, they (all) like to do their dirtiest work wearing a mask, because deep down, somewhere, they know that what they’re doing is shameful. The ISIS executioner actually wears a hood. Putin lies through his poker face,(and Friedman pretends to be a knowledgeable and respected American journalist with the nation’s best interests at heart).

    (All) seem to know that their ideas or influence are unsellable on their merits, so they have to impose them with intimidating force (after the target has been softened up by propaganda and disinformation) — “convert to puritanical Islam or I will chop your head off,” says ISIS, and “submit to Russia’s sphere of influence or I will invade you and wipe out your regime,” says Putin. (Or “bow down now and show your future masters some respect, or else” says Friedman.)

    Poor Vlad just can’t get over the USSR’s collapse back in 1991 because it refused to deviate from the totalitarian economic dogma of an outworn political creed strikingly similar to the one Dr Friedman, piously mouthing Barack Obama’s words, seeks to impose on the USA today. And, beheading American journalists is just ISIS’s own unique little way of showing us they’re just as good and just as tough as the big boys who splash water in the face of bloodthirsty terrorists and imagining they’re torturing bad guys. Oh! The Horror. The Horror.

    So, what’s Dr Friedman’s prescription for making the world safe for socialism? Why, raising taxes, that’s what. But, not to worry, Friedman knows that brand of snake oil is unsellable on its merits, he knows any new taxes will have to be imposed by force, rammed down the throats of an obstinate and decidedly unwilling citizenry. That’s why he includes a bright shiny carrot: oil exports. That’s the ticket, Friedman says we can bring down the price of oil by selling ours overseas thereby making it more expensive here at home. Yep, that’s just what the Dr ordered.

    Friedman didn’t mention it, but since we’re flush with black gold right here in our own back yard, we won’t need to build the Keystone pipeline either. If Friedman’s right, it makes me wonder why the Canadians ever wanted to sell us their oil in the first place. You know, since we already have more than enough already.

    ropelight (90dc89)

  13. Friedman never disappoints. One might think that he’s dug a hole so deep that there’s no place left to go, but then he starts tunneling up on the other side of the earth.

    Joe Miller (00407a)

  14. “Our enemies count on this sort of muddle headed thinking. Our weaknesses become their strengths.”

    Words to live by.

    gary gulrud (46ca75)

  15. “The ISIS executioner actually wears a hood. ”

    That’s so when they come home to plan a domestic head cutting off spree, you don’t stop them at the border.

    Mike K (90dfdc)

  16. Another example of wishful thinking, inverting cause and effect:

    The collapse in your standard of living is good, trust us. Gaia will lovingly embrace your bones.

    gary gulrud (46ca75)

  17. I think the hood might be so his English Rose pining away back in The Midlands won’t know it was her betrothed with the knife in his hand.

    ropelight (90dc89)

  18. Respect in Friedman’s view is submission to arbitrary dictates. Specifically, we “earn” respect by following his looney prescriptions. Failing to “earn” this respect leads logically to beheadings and conquest by external forces. Since Friedman’s method of understanding the world seems to be by looking into his own heart, I wonder what he would like to do to those who disagree with him? They obviously aren’t showing the right sort of respect.

    bobathome (5ccbd8)

  19. What an AH!

    If obama knew anything more than community organizing, he wouldn’t have to take advice from idiots like this. But, then, obama already stated he knew more than his advisers, he was a better speech writer than his speech writers, in fact, he was the best of the best, so all these problems created may be because he was his own counsel.

    Jim (145e10)

  20. I am surprised that friedman doesn’t mention obama “lies through his poker face.” obama is only killing the US economy and constitution, so I guess that doesn’t count.

    Jim (145e10)

  21. Simon J., there is something worse than not teaching history, it seems:

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  22. Is there anything that a carbon tax isn’t the solution for? Global cooling. Global warming. ISIS. Global climate change. Russia. China.

    JD (8997a8)

  23. Other than living in a house the size of a shopping mall, do we have any proof “Thmas Friedman” actaully exists? He could be a left wing column generator matrix. It would look exactly the same, with the same wrong-headed kumbaya cliches and economically illiterate gibberish.Yeah, India, Russia and China CAN’T WAIT to hamstring their economies with a world carbon tax, and the Arabs just need a little “respect” to calm down. And of course, more taxes and more and bigger fedral government.

    Bugg (3a2abd)

  24. it’s the floor wax/dessert topping, jd, the Russians have a ongoing war in the Caucasus, they pulled out most of their troops, and put in a proxy, Kadyrov, whose a brutal corrupt thug, whose behavior has blowback to Domedovo airport, and Watertown, Massachussets, Volodya has dispatched much of the Chechen leadership in inventive ways, poisoned letter (Khattab) exploding cargo, (Basayev) grenade under the jeep (Zandarbichev)

    narciso (ee1f88)

  25. Bugg, it’s all boiler plate leftist dribble. They are so devoid of new ideas they just continue to repackage the same old tripe and hope it sells. I just read on Drudge that the LGBT groups are having civil disobedience rallies in Washington In support of illegal immigration. Now what, may I ask, do gays have to do with immigration? Nothing! But they all seem to be in the “Let’s tear America down” camp with other leftists. This whole country is going to crap.

    Oh and JD, you forgot that carbon taxes could be the answer to vaginal mesh problems.

    Hoagie (4dfb34)

  26. yes, I feel really confident about this endeavour, don’t you

    narciso (ee1f88)

  27. Carbon taxes are a lot easier to swallow if you first brine them overnight, then fry ’em in butter, and serve ’em over cheese and sausage grits, with an egg on top along with a few dashes of Louisana hot sauce.

    ropelight (90dc89)

  28. I wonder how much money Vlad spends funding anti-fracking green weenies and other lefty science deniers in Europe and elsewhere to prop up the market for Russian energy. Having Europe by the energy huevos generates all the respect Putin needs to accomplish his ends.

    Plus, whatever happened to Friedman’s admiration of China as a model for the U.S.?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  29. I neglected to mention that recipe works equally well on fish ducks.

    ropelight (90dc89)

  30. A lot of criminals know what they are doing is wrong – the thing is they don’t believe in not doing something wrong, but they may believe in hiding it. Or hiding something.

    Sammy Finkelman (728434)

  31. wth is a fish duck don’t make me have to learn these things on the street

    happyfeet (a785d5)

  32. “Transmission of the Ebola virus in Liberia is already intense and the number of new cases is increasing exponentially,” the WHO statement read.

    “WHO has said more than 3,600 people have been infected with Ebola in this West African epidemic, and 2,000 have died, but the organization predicts as many as 20,000 will be sickened before it’s over,” NBC News reported.

    what’s even more worrisome is that the UN losers in charge of ebola don’t know what “exponentially” means

    happyfeet (a785d5)

  33. feet, most ducks are largely vegetarians who also opportunistically eat bugs and the occasional young frog and the like, but some ducks, fish ducks, have evolved to hunt and feed almost exclusively on fish. Their distinctive toothed beaks identify them (the teeth slant back toward the throat to catch and hold slippery critters). Regular, (Donald type) ducks lack this identifying feature, otherwise the optics are rather similar.

    The fish diet makes fish ducks taste like fish. Processing them as suggested improves the culinary experience.

    ropelight (90dc89)

  34. oh great now we have carnivorous ducks

    this just gets better and better

    happyfeet (a785d5)

  35. If you’re interested type Merganser into your search engine.

    ropelight (90dc89)

  36. those are beautiful creatures i like the hooded ones

    happyfeet (a785d5)

  37. Now, you’re ready for the Wood Duck, enjoy.

    ropelight (90dc89)

  38. respect (of or for a person, company, nation …) the feeling that the object of respect is reliably acting in a praise-worthy fashion. (made up by me on the spur of the moment.)

    There is little (mostly nothing) that any of those are doing that is worthy of praise. To lthink that there is enough that they are respectable … don’t make me vomit.

    As a corollary to that definition, anyone who demands respect, or that others demand respect for, is rarely due respect.

    htom (412a17)

  39. Perhaps Mr. Friedman would be willing to test his theory out–all he needs to do is to meet with the ISIS folks and assure them that he respects them and feels sorry for their past humiliations–before they hand him his head on a platter–literally.

    rochf (f3fbb0)

  40. oh great now we have carnivorous ducks

    this just gets better and better

    how do you feel about carnivorous squirrels?

    we have at least one squirrel that comes up on the back porch and eats the dry food out of the yard cat’s dish…

    also, i’ve seen them using old steak bones they found out back to gnaw on to w*rk on their teeth. it’s scarey, but not half as scarey as where they’ve been using the rungs of an aluminum ladder for the same purpose…

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  41. before they hand him his head on a platter–literally.

    what makes you think he’d notice?

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  42. 35. oh great now we have carnivorous ducks

    this just gets better and better

    happyfeet (a785d5) — 9/9/2014 @ 11:08 am

    You probably don’t want to know how sometimes they gang together and go on “rape flights.”

    Steve57 (685cca)

  43. and it isn’t simply leading a lonely and unpopular charge from in front, which certainly didn’t work for President Bush in Iraq

    Uhh, it wasn’t lonely or unpopular til the end

    Lord Nazh (21d9ca)

  44. Well, these guys are getting all the R-E-S-P-E-C-T they need from Obama:

    “I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”

    He will, will he? Then he’s an anti American Moslem enabler.

    “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

    Then it doesn’t belong to me or any other God fearing proud American. Islam is a phony religion cloaking an evil, disgusting political criminal enterprise. Nothing more.

    Hoagie (4dfb34)

  45. #43, Steve, yep, I’ve seen in up close and it ain’t pretty, dolphins do it too.

    ropelight (90dc89)

  46. If you want to see something truly frightening, go over and read the comments to Friedman’s piece–judging by the comments, if ISIS ever attacks the US, they should start in California, or Portland, Oregon–I think those residents would all have a group hug and sing Kumbaya while having their heads removed at the neck.

    rochf (f3fbb0)

  47. 48 …group hug and sing Kumbaya …

    Would that we would be so lucky. There’d be whining and complaining and hashtags and demands that the government “do something” and …. Then members of ISIS would sue because they’d caught Hep C or AIDS or genital herpes or crabs or … and we should a) pay for their treatment and b) compensate their families.

    htom (412a17)

  48. When I read the rants of liberal self-hating-apologists I wonder whether Western civilization has the will to survive. The savage monsters that roam the Middle East walk with self-confidence, and an abiding conviction in the rightness of their divine mission to rid the earth of the infidel. You cannot reason with them. You cannot run from the fight they choose to bring to us.

    We must rise as a people and harden ourselves to what must be done. Those that comprise this scourge must be hunted down and destroyed with ruthless zeal. Our forefathers understood what it took to build a civilization with blood and steel, and what it truly takes for that civilization to survive. Look only to Britain to see how a once great people softens and then crumbles. I say this. Harden yourself. Harden your children. Profess what must be done to your neighbors, your friends and your politicians. Accept the utter truth that we must bring a war of destruction to ISIS and any group that holds its sick and twisted belief system.

    Give Them Roman War (092219)

  49. The thing is, the Islamotwits are going to keep pushing, and the Liberal Left is going to continue its shuck-and-jive, right up the the moment that the American people collectively decide they have had. Enough. Of. This. Shit.

    When that happens, all of a sudden being part of the Islamic Revolution isn’t going to be much fun anymore. Lots of explosions are going to go off in the Middle East. Lots of traitorous, but inconsequential, Lefty Academics will get jailed. People stupid enough to object will get the back of Uncle Sam’s hand across their mouth, and depending on how stupid they are may also get the boot put in.

    i’m not looking forward to it. It will be the beginnings of an Imperium that I will not live to see the end of. And it won’t be nice, for us or for the people we run roughshod over. It will benefit us materially, in the short term, and cost us our remaining freedoms.

    But we will be able to enjoy watching the Hobby Protesters getting the shit kicked out of them, as they have been begging for for so many years.

    C. S. P. Schofield (848299)

  50. Dana – On the topic of R-E-S-P-E-C-T, I noticed a something over at Ben Shapiro’s Truth Revolt blog which could use some more exposure for important journalistic purposes – Flaunt Your Breasts To Fight Sexism.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  51. Too bad we don’t have another Reagan in the wings–at least the thugs in the Middle East wouldn’t know if he would take the fight to them or not, whereas with the idiot we have now, they’re certain he won’t do anything to them.

    rochf (f3fbb0)

  52. Barely related topic: one of the top aricles at the BBC is Is Britain really becoming more racist?
    The author starts off with these bits of insight:

    Journalists like their stories to fit into an accepted current narrative…

    But today’s figures are not evidence of rising racism.

    So it seems someone over there has finally gotten a glimpse of reality.

    Ibidem (3d4a5c)

  53. I still find it astonishing that anyone pays attention to the vapid meanderings of Friedman. The man is an utter idiot.

    SPQR (c4e119)

  54. wood ducks i know

    mallards and such

    when i was little we lived on a little river in minnesota

    then we moved to texas

    my lil brother now lives on a little river in minnesota

    how weird is that

    he’s miles away from even the barest most rudimentary concept of an artisanal jelly donut and yet he seems perfectly happy

    but anyway today i learned that ducks are whores

    happyfeet (a785d5)

  55. (not just rapists)

    happyfeet (a785d5)

  56. the Chauncey Gardiner of Western journalism…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  57. Shorter Friedman,

    “War is peace.” “Freedom is slavery.”

    And to paraphrase his last remarks, “No matter the problem, the answer is always more leftist policies that will not affect me or my ilk.”

    Friedman is as stupid as he is predictable.

    njrob (a70742)

  58. Daley,

    Just checked out your link. So sure these chicks and their breasts will get all the R-E-S-P-E-C-T they’re clamoring for. Uh-huh. Gender shaming knows no limits.

    Dana (ebb245)

  59. Dana – I am 110% in favor of that initiative! Seems like we’ve gone full circle in 40 years. Ninnies.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  60. You’re a giver, Daley!

    Dana (ebb245)

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