Yesterday, Thomas Friedman wrote another of his grand columns, Go Big, Get Crazy. It’s one where you can imagine him delivering it from a podium with big hand gestures that proclaim, “We will expand this great system of ours and let freedom ring…” On Mars or something. Actually, Friedman’s idea this week is for America to become energy independent to spite Putin. Instead of his old “Suck on this!” it is more “Suck on the ground to get them hydrocarbons!”
But Friedman wants to do it in an environmentally friendly way. But he’s no fool. He realizes that compromises must be made! And just like the “third way” moderate he is, all he thinks it will take is a little leadership™ on the part of Obama:
I think I have a new name for the man: Rip Van Friedman. Because he sounds like he’s been asleep for six years. Obama is not a Republican so there will be no compromise by the opposition. Remember the budget deal where John Boehner got 98% of what he wanted? That was the deal he turned down. This deal would be one that was overwhelmingly on the Democratic side. I don’t think there is a major environmentalist around who wouldn’t exchange Keystone for a carbon tax. The kind of deal that the Republicans would take would be Keystone in exchange for maybe some day considering a debate about the possibility that maybe we might want to think about global warming after Manhattan is under water.
Dean Baker was quick to hit back on the ridiculous economics in Friedman’s article, Thomas Friedman’s Big Deal on Fracking and Global Warming:
But the whole article is predicated on the idea that we must do something about Ukraine. Now, I don’t like what’s happening in Ukraine either. But it is a whole lot more justified than the United States’ invasion of Iraq. And Thomas Friedman was not only a big supporter of starting that war, he was a big supporter of it long after things had gone terribly wrong. I just don’t see how he is in any position to complain about Russia at this point.
After the Ukrainian revolution, Thomas Friedman was on the Sunday talk shows to gush about how great it all was. He said, “The West didn’t do this. The United States didn’t do this. The EU didn’t do this. The Ukrainian people did this.” Not really. Patrick Smith explained in Slate at the time:
It’s interesting that Mr Globalization is also Mr Nationalism. But it isn’t surprising. That’s the thesis of Ha-Joon Chang’s Bad Samaritans (my last discussion of it: Bad Samaritans). The whole free trade business is really about enriching the advanced countries and keeping down the developing countries. But even apart from that, Friedman should shut up. He has no credibility to complain about Russia doing something that is more justified than policies he’s recent led cheers for.