Opinion: Thomas Friedman Never Knows When to Quit
New York Times writer Thomas Friedman has been an apologist for and defender of the Left since he wrote his magnum opus, "From Beirut to Jerusalem.” He has constantly called for Israeli concessions, despite suicide bombings and showers upon showers of Hamas rockets.
Now, in an attempt to prop up one of America's weakest presidents, Friedman is at it again in his op-ed on Sunday, March 16, entitled, "The Three Faces of President Obama.” The article does little to boost the President's sagging ratings and does even less to buff up his foreign policy escapades.
Friedman writes that "Barack Obama is surely the first President to be accused of acting in foreign policy like Pollyanna, John Wayne, and Henry Kissinger in the same month.” I am sure Henry Kissinger would beg to differ with that assessment, and I daresay John Wayne would have a difficult time seeing any resemblance to himself in President Obama.
Pollyanna – defined as "unreasonably or illogically optimistic," and referring to Pollyanna Whittier, the child heroine of Eleanor Porter's epic 1913 work – gets a little closer to an apt depiction of the President. However, the President is a lot smarter than Pollyanna Whittier and yet continues to fumble the football on foreign policy.
It is far beyond an unreasonable optimism that gets the President into trouble. In a recent interview with Bloomberg columnist Jeffrey Goldberg on the eve of Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit to America, Obama told Goldberg that if Israel does not cut a deal with the Palestinians soon, "our ability to manage the international fallout is going to be limited.”
He added: "And that has consequences.” That statement, Goldberg noted, was a "veiled threat.”
Caroline Glick responded to this in the Jerusalem Post by observing that "indeed Obama has achieved a comfort level with implementing ant-Israel policies." This is not a Pollyannish view of the world. It is something totally different. As one seizure after another occurs in the Arab world, all Obama can focus on is pressuring Israel into an agreement that is essentially meaningless. This is beyond belief. This is pathological. This is not Pollyanna Whittier.
Putin reads Obama like Bashar al-Assad, Ayatollah Khamenei, and every other leader who has taken a penchant to defying him. They defy him because they are not afraid of him and have little respect for him. Putin would never have dared to invade the Ukraine if President Reagan were President today.
Friedman tries to paint Obama as a saint in a troubled world. Both Friedman and President Obama should learn from their mistakes, and not just try to sugarcoat them. Unfortunately, the Obama learning curve, which has been slow, is further thwarted by apologists like Thomas Friedman. He should know when to quit.