Impossible Missions, by Tom Friedman – The New York Times

“I just read a book that Barack Obama and Donald Trump would both enjoy.It argues that the last two decades of U.S. foreign policy were an aberration — an era when America became so overwhelmingly more powerful than any rival that it got geopolitically drunk and decided that it didn’t just want to be a cop on the beat protecting our nation, but also a social worker, architect and carpenter doing nation-building abroad.It was all done with the best of intentions, and in some cases did save precious lives. But none of the efforts achieved the kind of self-sustaining democratizing order we wanted, which is why neither this president nor the next wants to be doing any more of that — if they can at all avoid it.”

This was not Mr. Friedman’s strongest writing. It starts by saying he thinks Obama and Trump would enjoy this important book. Is he endorsing Trump, or is in hurry to make a deadline? He covers too many ideas and countries, and is all over the place. Was the US led NATO intervention in Bosnia already a proven political disaster? It didn’t appear to be so when I was in Bosnia last summer. Sometimes I fear that Mr. Friedman is more concerned with big sweeping ideas, models and statements, than with the dirty specifics that often make difficult such pontifications. That said, this probably is an important book, with critical ideas. Some of the ideas seemed hauntingly useful. Maybe Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and John Kasich would enjoy it.

The link to the Friedman piece:

Here is a beauty from the comments at the NYT, poetry no less:

Larry Eisenberg

is a trusted commenter New York City 1 day ago

“Let’s suppose that a Deity reigns
Who omnipotent power feigns
With results so ill
All blamed on Free Will
That such mass destruction attains.

So men try to impose their will
With purses they would love to fill
With Profits in mind
To History blind
They make things more disastrous still.

The air of the Earth they pollute
As they rally in their reckless route,
Despoilers’ denial
Fools some for a while
As Oligarchs pillage and loot.

And the Deity His vigil keeps
Will not intervene, simply weeps,
Earth’s temperature rises
As sordid surprises
Await men on Land and the Deeps.”


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