I take issue with Thomas L. Friedman's article on "Taking a pass on a new cold war." I maintain that he is wrong on at least two counts, maybe more:
It is true this is not a "cold war" we have entered between Russia and the West. He explains why in his article below. I am not convinced, however, that we won the cold war and thus can be smug about doing so. In the enemy's eyes, his job is to find another way to beat us even if he changes the rules.
Putin wants to be all powerful and he needs other states to help him achieve the resources he needs and, to force them to do so, he has the backing of his "nukes". He does not care about his people being prosperous. Fair enough.
America and many countries in the west are focusing on being prosperous. But here's one problem -- America is bungling it big time. And in so doing, is making itself either an irrelevant "non-player" in games that others play differently (i.e. Putin and his grab for power), or ultimately an easy target for takeover. Already, through the help of the current President, America has been taken over psychologically -- more and more not seeing it as the great country it used to be. And the fall? Well, as the song says, "We've only just begun."
Meanwhile Friedman's third category of states, the ones who find themselves in "disorder" continue to struggle and even grow in numbers. Bottom line, the Russia-type players take advantage of them and the new-American types just can't be bothered with them. All makes for a wonderful world, doesn't it?
Friedman asks the question, "So what do we do?" But, alas, his answer is lame. He simply declares the U.S. incapable of providing a fix to these situations albeit because of the things he has listed. But he fails to mention one more -- the unwillingness of the current administration to stand up to the bullies. Great leaders of the world stand up to bullies in defense of the weak. And they don't threaten them with noodles like barring them from a G8 they never really cared for.
Friedman has no solution. He would only agree with a solution that is "self-sustaining". Well, I have news for you Thomas -- bullies are raised in every generation. They are a constant thing to be dealt with. Your easy and everlasting fix, short of a Divine Intervention, does not exist.
And he ends by simply saying, we should have learned to let them (the weak, the disordered ones) solve their own problems. Not exactly the position the enemy is taking these days, is it?
I was bullied as a kid once and chased home regularly after school. Then one day my dad happened to be home. He saw my distress and picked up a broom and just stood behind me, ready to do what every father does who loves his kid. He didn't have to do much, as I found my courage with him at my side. And I also found my fists and my legs, reversing the chase. The bully never bothered me again and actually protected me on occasion. In my books, the best deterrent to bullies is a good shellacking or the threat of one.
But hey, you're likely a liberal and may well want to read Friedman on this. So here's his column:
"Don't Just Do Something. Sit There." Actually, the title says it all.
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