Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
US Zionist Editorialist Thomas Friedman’s
"Festival of Lies"
By Lawrence Davidson
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, April 2, 2012
Lawrence Davidson explains why Thomas Friedman, one of the most
widely read editorial writers in the United States, pretends to be confused
when it comes to the Middle East.
Like other Zionists in the Zionist-controlled media, Friedman
distracts his readers to any other issue except the elephant in the room,
the Israeli-Zionist invasion of the Middle East, which is behind all the
wars and disturbances in the region and the world.
In a piece entitled "A
festival of lies" published in the New York Times on 25 March,
editorialist Thomas Friedman expressed his frustration with American foreign
policy in the Middle East. "It’s time to rethink everything we are doing out
there," he proclaimed. To be sure, he is not the only one frustrated by this
situation, but in Friedman’s case it is best to ask just what it is he finds
disconcerting about US behaviour?
Actually, he doesn’t formulate a
list of his own, but instead latches on to one put together by the historian
Victor Davis Hanson (a military historian whose specialty is ancient
warfare) and published in the National Review. This is neither here
nor there because Friedman tells us that Hanson is correct in all his
particulars. So here are some examples of what Friedman via Hanson find
frustrating about US policy in the region:
1. Giving all that military assistance (when we really should be helping
the Arabs build schools)
2. Mounting punitive attacks (but then
letting the results fade away because we "fail to follow through")
"Keeping clear of maniacal regimes" (which then allows these regimes to
either acquire nuclear capabilities, commit genocide or create "16 acres of
rubble in Manhattan")
4. Propping up dictators (which is "odious and
Friedman notes the obvious: these sort of "policy options" cannot change
the Middle East for the better. According to both him and Hanson, the region
is a perpetual "mix of tribalism, Shi’i-Sunni sectarianism, fundamentalism
and oil – oil that constantly tempts us to intervene or to prop up
All this might make sense to some readers of the New
York Times, but it seems superficial and confused to me. After all, I
am an historian too. My speciality is the development of US foreign policy
in the Middle East. So what do I find frustrating about Friedman’s
1.To reduce the Middle East to
tribalism, sectarianism, fundamentalism and oil is just stereotyping and
inappropriate reductionism. You might as well reduce the US to Christian
fundamentalism, Tea Party fanaticism, south-west-east sectional animosity
and gas guzzling pickup trucks. Are they there? Yes. Are they the sum total
of the USA? No. It is the same for the Middle East.
2. It is
certainly a very good idea to stop giving so many of the region’s armies
American weapons and training (and so stop "propping up the dictators), but
before you go using the savings to build "community colleges across Egypt"
as Friedman suggests, you better consider that Egypt and many other nations
in the region are awash in college graduates who cannot find employment. The
economies of the Middle East suffer from structural problems, part of which
have to do with their ties to a Western-controlled world economy.
I can only imagine what Hanson and Friedman mean by "punitive interference
without follow-up" being bad policy.
– Maybe they mean that when Ronald Reagan put troops in Lebanon in 1982
in support of the minority Maronite Christian attempt to subvert the
country’s constitution there should have been sufficient military follow-up
to decimate their rivals, the majority Lebanese Shi’is. Keep in mind that a
similar follow-up in Iraq in 2003 killed up to a million people.
perhaps when that same president (darling of all neocons) attacked the home
of Muammar Gaddafi in 1986 ... setting in motion a chain of events that led
two years later to the Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie Scotland, he should
have immediately followed through with a full scale invasion of Libya.
– Or when George Bush Senior chased Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait in 1991
he should of followed-up with an invasion of the country then and there
instead of following through with draconian sanctions that eventually helped
kill up to a million Iraqi poor children.
Supposedly all of these "follow-ups" represent policy options that would
have resulted in a better, happier and more American-friendly Middle East.
This sounds doubtful to me.
4. And what about the supposed mistake of
"staying clear of maniacal regimes" which in turn allows for "nuclear
acquisition or genocide – or 16 acres of rubble in Manhattan". What the heck
does this mean? It was not a "maniacal regime" that launched the 9/11
attacks; the US did not stay clear of the "maniacal regime" of Saddam
Hussein but instead sold it the poison gas used against the Kurds; and the
Iranians (who are arguably less "maniacal" than the Israelis) have no
nuclear weapons programme.
What all this points out is that Thomas Friedman, one of the most widely
read editorial writers in the country, is confused and unreliable when it
comes to the Middle East. And, his relying on a conservative military
historian venting in the National Review does nothing to sharpen
his perception. What is worse is that none of this prevents Friedman from
telling us that the US government, which he has just accused of utter
failure for decades, now has the responsibility to tell the people of the
Middle East some "hard truths". And what might they be?
“In truth, the US has not and does not give a damn for
either good government or good behaviuor in the Middle East.
What it cares about are governments that cooperate with us
in terms of trade, acceptance of Israel and now hostility
1. Tell the Afghans that the Karzai government is corrupt and will be
abandoned by most of its troops as soon as we stop paying them. Alas, the
Afghans already know this. What Friedman actually should be suggesting is
that the US government tell the US people this hard truth.
the Pakistanis that they are "two-faced" and the only reason that their
military is not "totally against us" is because, again, we pay them. Alas,
the Pakistanis know this. What Friedman actually should be suggesting is
that the US government tell the US people this hard truth.
the Saudis that they are a bunch of Wahhabi religious fanatics and dictators
and that we don’t want their oil. But wait, it is not the US that should be
telling the Saudis this. It should be the European and Japanese governments
because they are the ones who buy Saudi oil. We get most of ours from Mexico
4. Tell the Israelis that they are a bunch of Jewish
fundamentalist fanatics who are putting their (alleged) democracy in danger
with all that settlement building on the West Bank. Before you can tell the
Israelis that, you will have to tell the US Congress to forego the largess
of certain special interests, or even better, tell the American people that
they must change the lobby-based nature of their government.
Friedman ends by lamenting that the US
government has chosen to tell the easy lie that all is OK to the Middle
Eastern regimes it supports rather than tell them the hard truth. However,
he has it wrong. Sure, we haven’t gone around telling the corrupt,
dictatorial, fanatical leaders of those regimes that they have made a mess
of the place – largely because we helped them do it. The people of the
Middle East know this. It is the people of the US who do not. We have not
been lying to the people of the Middle East so much as to ourselves.
And it appears that Thomas Friedman also doesn’t know these hard truths.
Hence his contradictory conclusion: "...we must stop wanting good government
[for them] more than they do, looking the other way at bad behaviour..." It
is a contradiction to say that you want good government for this region
while simultaneously turning a blind eye to bad governmental behaviour that
you yourself have underwritten.
But the contradiction is there only
in Friedman’s version of history. In truth, the US has not and does not give
a damn for either good government or good behaviuor in the Middle East. What
it cares about are governments that cooperate with us in terms of trade,
acceptance of Israel and now hostility toward Iran.
One has to wonder
about Thomas Friedman. He seems to have periodic problems thinking straight.
But in an oblique fashion he is on to something. There are lies aplenty when
it comes to US actions in the Middle East. However, they are not lies we
tell to others but rather to ourselves. And from that, nothing good can