Thomas Friedman´s foreign policy sandbox (WND-WORLD NET DAILY COMMENTARY) DAVID LIMBAUGH 01/28/05 1:00 a.m. Eastern)
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Can someone please explain to me why New York Times columnist Thomas
Friedman considers certain European criticism of President Bush and
America "touching"? I find that offensive.
First, in fairness
to Mr. Friedman, let me try to provide the context
of his statement. This enlightened Europhile, "having spent the last
10 days traveling to Britain, France, Germany and Switzerland,"
believes that President Bush should deliver only one three-word
speech "when he comes to Europe to mend fences next month ... Read my
Translation: Donīt say anything just listen. The
Europeans are so
thoroughly disgusted with President Bushīs decision to attack Iraq
there is nothing he can say "that will change their minds about him
or the Iraq war or U.S. foreign policy. Mr. Bush is more deeply
disliked in Europe than any U.S. president in history." Friedman
hasnīt met one person who has "a good thing to say about [President
How would it benefit President Bush (or America) if he
Friedmanīs advice? Well, he would deprive Europeans of the ammunition
to make fun of, mock, laugh and sneer at him.
If that doesnīt
persuade you, consider this bit of vicarious
patronizing Friedman issues on behalf of his beloved Bush-hating
Listening is also a sign of respect. It is a sign that you actually
value what the other person might have to say. If you just listen to
someone first, it is amazing how much they will listen to you back.
Most Europeans, though, are convinced that George Bush is deaf that
he cannot listen or hear. Just proving that he is not deaf, and
therefore the Europeans donīt have to shout, would do wonders for Mr.
Just for fun, letīs consider if Friedmanīs theory is likely to work
in practice. One might reasonably assume that the opposition party in
the presidentīs own country would be more receptive to his goodwill
overtures than his detractors in Europe, no? So if President Bush
were to try this method out on the Democrats, it ought to usher in an
unprecedented era of bipartisan harmony.
Didnīt Mr. Bush employ
that very approach when he came to office,
doing everything he could to set "a new tone"? He treated Ted Kennedy
like a king, giving him almost everything he wanted in the "No Child
Left Behind" bill. But did that mollify Teddy and his colleagues?
To the contrary, theyīve been calling Bush an election thief
liar about weapons of mass destruction for years. They have even
accused him of being niggardly with federal education dollars, though
he has allocated more of them than any of his predecessors in either
Why? Because they donīt want to get along they are
are entrenched. They are determined to obstruct. How much more so
European liberals who distrust him on their own even without the
persistent encouragement from their counterparts in America.
Friedmanīs mushy advice on the virtues of listening sounds just
peachy, but underlying it is the presumption that President Bush has
not considered the full spectrum of ideas on Iraq. It naively assumes
that if he would just develop an open mind not just open ears he
would inevitably change his foreign policy.
Why is it that
liberals conclude that if you donīt agree with them,
you just donīt have an open or competent mind? The answer is
simply their stunning arrogance. The president would have to have
lived in a cave not to have heard a thousand times all the arguments
against his foreign policy.
But what if Mr. Bush followed
Friedmanīs advice? What if he listened
to the European ingrates but still didnīt change his mind? Would that
make them love him? No. They will only be satisfied, just like
American liberals, if they are calling the shots ... if Bush does
exactly what they say. This nonsense about open-mindedness and
listening is just puerile psychobabble.
But even more annoying
is Friedmanīs affectionate portrayal of the
European criticism: "Some of it is very heartfelt, even touching."
Why so? Because deep down they envy us and "want America to be that
open, foreigner-embracing, carefree, goofily enthusiastic place that
cynical old Europe can never be." They think Bush has turned America
into "a strange new land that exports fear more than hope ... a place
whose greeting to visitors has gone from īGive me your tired, your
poorī to īGive me your fingerprints.ī They look at Mr. Bush as
someone who stole something precious from them." Now Iīm touched.
This is almost too much to take. But even if you have the
swallow this nonsense, do you think the European attitude Friedman
describes would remotely change if President Bush "would just listen"
Weīre not playing in the sandbox, Mr. Friedman.
Foreign policy is for
adults. (Đ 2005 Creators Syndicate, Inc. 01/28/05)
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