A Classic Friedmanism

Today’s look back at the column that ran 20 Friedman units ago is a classic. Friedman, of course, will jump at any opportunity to brag about some exotic locale he has visited — and preferably in which he also talked to a cab driver. He also loves to take two seemingly dissimilar things and show how they are exactly alike. In today’s example, he manages both in just two sentences.

“The best part of this job is being able to step outside of your routine and occasionally look at the world through a completely different lens. The Peruvian Amazon rain forest is such a lens, and looking at the world through this dense jungle has given me new perspectives on two issues — Middle East violence and the spread of the Internet.”

We could go on, but why mess with perfection?

Friedman, Thomas L. 2006. “The Age of Interruption.” The New York Times. July 5: A17.

Planting seeds for a perennial

Idle speculation about the prospects for some kind of viable third-party movement are an evergreen — or as we learned 20 Friedman units ago — a “Geo-Green.”

“To be sure, Geo-Greenism is not a complete philosophy on par with liberalism or conservatism. But it can be paired with either of them to make them more relevant to the biggest challenges of our time. Even if Geo-Greenism couldn’t attract enough voters to win an election, it might attract a big enough following to frighten both Democrats and Republicans into finally doing the right things. ”

Friedman, Thomas L. 2006. “Seeds for a Geo-Green Party.” The New York Times. June 16: A31.tmw2011-08-03colorlowres1.

Standing by…

Don’t give up yet!

“When we don’t see Iraqis taking the risk to build a progressive Iraq, then it is indeed time to pack and go. That moment may come soon. It’s hard to tell. I won’t hesitate to say so — but not yet.”

Friedman, Thomas L. 2006. “Standing by Stand-Up Iraqis.” The New York Times. May 26: A21.

Five Minutes to Midnight

As Iraq plunged deeper into sectarian civil war 20 Friedman units ago, Thomas L. Friedman confronted the reality of Iraq’s “slide into medieval barbarism.”

“If a national unity government is not formed soon, and if these identity-card murderers gain more momentum, any hope for building a decent Iraq will vanish.

“It is five minutes to midnight.”

Friedman, Thomas L. 2006. “Iraq at the 11th Hour.” The New York Times. March 31: A19.

Nuclear Iran

“Well, there’s another Sputnik that just went up: Iran. It’s going to make a nuclear bomb, no matter what the U.N. or U.S. says, because at $60-a-barrel oil, Tehran’s mullahs are rich enough to buy off or tell off the rest of the world.”

To be fair, oil today is trading around $30 a barrel. On the other hand, it was still hanging around $90 a barrel when Iran began serious negotiations with the P5+1.

Friedman, Thomas L. 2006. “The New ‘Sputnik’ Challenges: They All Run on Oil.” The New York Times. Jan. 20: A17.

Bought Off in Europe?

“Iran today has so much oil money to sprinkle around Europe, it doesn’t worry for a second that the Europeans would ever impose real sanctions on Tehran for refusing to open its nuclear program. … [T]hree more years of $60-a-barrel oil will undermine everything good in the world that the U.S. wants to do – and that’s no myth.”

Europe did take its time imposing sanctions on Iran, but in 2012, it imposed additional sanctions beyond those already approved by the United States and the United Nations – and specifically targeting Iranian oil exports. At the time, oil prices were hovering around $100 a barrel.

Friedman, Thomas L. 2005. “A Shah with a Turban.” The New York Times. Dec. 23: A27.

The Next Next Six Months

“The only thing that I am certain of is that in the wake of this election, Iraq will be what Iraqis make of it – and the next six months will tell us a lot. I remain guardedly hopeful.” So that must mean that we would have a pretty good idea of Iraq’s future course by the end of June 2006, right?

Friedman, Thomas L. 2005. “The Measure of Success.” The New York Times. Dec. 21: A39.

What is a subdivision of a Friedman unit?

Time will tell:

“So Mr. Bush’s new public relations offensive on Iraq is a test. Are the news media still too cowed, too addicted to articles that contain little more than dueling quotes to tell the public when the administration is saying things that aren’t true? Or has the worm finally turned?

“There have been encouraging signs, notably a thorough front-page fact-checking article — which even included charts showing the stagnation of oil production and electricity generation! — in USA Today. But the next few days will tell.”

The next few days, indeed.

Friedman, Thomas L. 2005. “Bullet Points over Baghdad.” The New York Times. Dec. 2: A27.