Friedman becomes a Separationist, sort of
[Written December 2, 2006.)
Incredibly, Tom (Peace Process and Democratization) Friedman is calling for the separation of the West from Islam, and as a result I have, in a tentative and ironic spirit, added him to my list of Separationists. But first some background.
During the seven years of the Oslo “peace” process, Thomas Friedman was one of its most convinced promoters. He said over and over that the Palestinians would be very happy to make peace with Israel, because that would free them from a useless war over nationhood and liberate them for the things that really mattered to them, namely having “laptops” and “being part of the global economy.” (Or at least these things mattered very much to Freidman himself—talk about projection!) When the Oslo process failed so spectacularly with the start of the terror Intifida in October 2000, Friedman, after much back and forth, finally issued a sincere-sounding mea culpa in which he said that he had been too naïve in thinking the Palestinians were ready to accept Israel’s existence. I respected him for that. But then, about a year later, like Cranmer at the stake, Friedman recanted his recantation. He endorsed a new, unofficial peace initiative negotiated by a loony Israeli leftist who was not even a member of the government, a plan even more loony than the offers by Prime Minister Barak at Camp David and the White House in 2000 and 2001. Adding insult to insanity, Friedman viciously mocked Prime Minister Sharon because he would have nothing to do with this absurd and fraudulent peace plan. At that point I stopped being able to take Friedman seriously and virtually stopped reading him.
Now Friedman has turned again, and not only on the “peace” process, but on the whole relationship between the West and the Muslim world. He says that a wall of separation is the solution for Israel’s Palestine problem, and, further, that separation is also the solution for the West’s Islam problem.
That’s his basic concept, though, unfortunately, it doesn’t go very deep. It doesn’t involve reducing or ending Muslim immigration. It doesn’t even involve vetoing the admission of Turkey into the EU, which he says would be a “huge, huge mistake.” Rather, it involves ending Western dependence on Muslim oil. That of course is a key step, but not sufficient. Still, Friedman seems, at least an an emotional/instinctive level, to be grasping the essential issue in a way he never has before: we want to have nothing to do with Muslims. Sounding not unlike yours truly (see the italicized phrase below), Friedman writes:
I do not want my girls to live a world where the difference between a good day and bad day is whether Moktada al-Sadr lets Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, meet with the U.S. president or whether certain Arab regimes alter what their textbooks say about non-Muslims. I wish them all well, but I don’t want them impacting my life and I don’t want to be roiling theirs, and the only reason we are so intertwined now is O-I-L. [Italics added.]Of course, one can never take Tom seriously, because any position he takes today he’s likely soon to reverse. He’s a creature of emotions, and his call for separation is an expression of an emotion, a non-liberal emotion that lacks a non-liberal principal to back it up (in other words, an unprincipled exception). Nevertheless, his article is of extraordinary interest. Since Times op-eds are only available online to subscribers, I’ve obtained the text of this piece (don’t ask me how) and copied it below.
December 1, 2006
Tom S. writes:
Friedman is halfway there. He has come to realize the damage that economic and political entanglements in the islamic World can do. Now he has to realize that the same logic applies to immigration, only with even greater force. After all, if buying oil from Islamic countries is too great an entanglement for Friedman, how much more so is actually importing the populations of these dysfunctional entities to live amongst us? If Friedman doesn’t want his girls to grow up in a world where Moqtada Al-Sadr can impact their lives from Iraq, how much more will he resent a future Al-Sadr trying to fit them in burqas in their own country? Does he really want people coming into the U.S. who will regard his children as “uncovered meat” if they go swimming? Admittedly, giving up on open immigration has been an extremely hard step for those, like Freidman, who bought into one-world “Globalony” (in Clare Booth Luce’s apt phrase), but his citing the future lives of his girls shows that he values reality and truth over sterile ideology, at least some of the time, and that is the beginning of wisdom. Let’s hope he follows the logic of his position to its obvious conclusion. It may be a long shot, but he’s already come farther than I ever thought he would.Cindi S. writes:
He’s still an idiot; he still doesn’t get it because he’s still not serious enough to realize that in order to rid ourselves of our need of their oil we need more than conservation measures, renewable fuels, and gasoline tax (God save us). We need to drill our a___s off right here, build refineries and nuclear power plants AND do research.