We’re mad as hell, Friedman!


Our enemies are not our friends. The world is not flat.

Thomas Friedman is a widely read pundit and an optimistic chap. Wrong most of the time, but optimistic, and very thorough in explaining the madness of U.S. foreign policy.

He doesn’t endorse this policy but he doesn’t condemn it either, even though he concedes, for example, that some of the money the U.S. gives Pakistan “is killing our own soldiers.”

Friedman was a cheerleader for Dubya’s war on Iraq but these days he downplays that fiasco and focuses on arguing for globalization, the myth that our future prosperity depends on the grand-scale economic interdependence of nations. It is the be-all and end-all of his ideology.

Peter Finch as Howard Beale

I couldn’t help but think of Friedman during a recent viewing of Network, the 1976 movie in which Howard Beale, the Mad Prophet of the Airwaves, is reprimanded by Arthur Jensen, the owner of the TV network that broadcasts Beale’s show. Beale had been telling his fans that they are being lied to by the mainstream media, that they are confusing these lies with what’s going on in the real world. Jensen shouts at Beale:

“You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West! There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast… multi-national dominion of dollars. … It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and subatomic and galactic structure of things today! And YOU have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and YOU WILL ATONE!”

Maybe Network was one of the inspirations for The World Is Flat, Friedman bestselling ode to globalization, written before the economic collapse exposed the rotten core of the world financial system and the naivete of those who see something benign in this system.

THE WORLD IS ROUND, Tom. We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take you anymore. ATONE!

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