“A U.S. businessman friend of mine who works in China remarked to me recently that Donald Trump is not the American president America deserves, but he sure is the American president China deserves.
Trump’s instinct that America needs to rebalance its trade relationship with Beijing — before China gets too big to compromise — is correct. And it took a human wrecking ball like Trump to get China’s attention. But now that we have it, both countries need to recognize just how pivotal this moment is.
The original U.S.-China opening back in the 1970s defined our restored trade ties, which were limited. When we let China join the World Trade Organization in 2001, it propelled China into a trading powerhouse under rules that still gave China lots of concessions as a developing economy.
This new negotiation will define how the U.S. and China relate as economic peers, competing for the same 21st-century industries, at a time when our markets are totally intertwined. So this is no ordinary trade dispute. This is the big one.”
Source: Opinion | China Deserves Donald Trump – The New York Times
By Thomas L. Friedman
May 7, 2019, 612
“Growing up, I was always fascinated with the magician-psychic Uri Geller, who was famous for bending spoons with his supposed supernatural powers. How did he do that? I wondered. I’ve been thinking about him lately as I’ve watched an even more profound magic trick playing out in our politics. We have a president who can bend people.
In so many cases, Donald Trump has been able to take people who came into his orbit and just bend them to his lying ways the way Uri Geller bent spoons. The latest is Attorney General William Barr, who, in only a few weeks, got bent into becoming Trump’s personal lawyer. But Barr is in good company. Trump took Senators Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz, who’d actually been bent against him, and bent them into fawning sycophants. It’s awesome!
How does he do that trick? Surely the answer lies partly in Trump’s energy source: Fox News, Breitbart and Trump’s own Twitter feed keep his base in a state of constant agitation and high partisanship, and Trump, seemingly with no hands, leverages that energy into bending so many Republicans to his will. With a few exceptions, like Jim Mattis, Trump also has a knack for picking people who are bendable.
And bendable people — people who, like Trump, were always outsiders or never on the A-team — are attracted to him to get ahead.
By Thomas L. Friedman
April 9, 2019, 902
A wind farm near Glenrock, Wyo.CreditCreditDamon Winter/The New York Times
“Here’s some news you may have missed. Southeastern Africa got hit in March with a cyclone that United Nations officials say was one of the worst weather disasters to ever strike the Southern Hemisphere. “Ever” is a long time.
The storm swept through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, killing hundreds. My friend Greg Carr, who runs the Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, told me that the lions, elephants and zebras sensed the storm coming and moved to higher ground to avoid the flooding. Among the people and birds that survived, many of the former lost their homes and the latter their nests and eggs.
Image Beira, the fourth-largest city in Mozambique, was devastated last month by Cyclone Idai.CreditMike Hutchings/Reuters
While this historic weather disaster was unfolding, President Trump was urging Republicans not to kill the Democrats’ Green New Deal proposal — not because Trump wants to work with it, but because he wants to run against it in 2020.”
By Thomas L. Friedman
April 2, 2019
A protester shouting from a lamppost on Friday outside the Houses of Parliament in London.CreditCreditHannah Mckay/Reuters
LONDON — Politico reported the other day that the French European affairs minister, Nathalie Loiseau, had named her cat “Brexit.” Loiseau told the Journal du Dimanche that she chose the name because “he wakes me up every morning meowing to death because he wants to go out, and then when I open the door he stays in the middle, undecided, and then gives me evil looks when I put him out.”
If you can’t take a joke you shouldn’t have come to London right now, because there is political farce everywhere. In truth, though, it’s not very funny. It’s actually tragic. What we’re seeing is a country that’s determined to commit economic suicide but can’t even agree on how to kill itself. It is an epic failure of political leadership.
I say bring back the monarchy. Where have you gone, Queen Elizabeth II, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.
Seriously, the United Kingdom, the world’s fifth-largest economy — a country whose elites created modern parliamentary democracy, modern banking and finance, the Industrial Revolution and the whole concept of globalization — seems dead-set on quitting the European Union, the world’s largest market for the free movement of goods, capital, services and labor, without a well-conceived plan, or maybe without any plan at all.
via Opinion | The United Kingdom Has Gone Mad – The New York Times
David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment.
Thank you Tom Friedman for a great essay. I like many of the popular comments, but have something to add. Angela Merkel let some 1.5 million mostly Syrian refugees into Germany in one year, and caused a backlash protest against too many foreigners too quickly. Refugees from climate change and civil war are increasing dramatically, as populations around the world have exploded. We were 2 billion people around 1930, and we have grown to 7.6 billion in just 89 years. It is probably not going to work, to just let a billion or two billion refugees into the healthier more stable parts of the planet. The EU could help diffuse the brexit movement, with some reforms to limit immigration. The world powers need to help the poorer countries with a host of services, including family planning.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNewsWorldwide.wordpress.com. He performs folk music and stories about Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction.
By Thomas L. Friedman
March 12, 2019, 166
Tom Brenner/The New York Times
“As the 2020 campaign gets underway, we’ve heard about a Green New Deal, Medicare for all, breaking up Amazon and universal basic income — to name but a few of the ideas raised by Democratic presidential hopefuls. But one issue has been largely absent: foreign policy — the potential use of force, great-power competition and the management of alliances that will be more important during the next presidency than it has been in three decades.
Maybe I missed it, but I haven’t heard any of the Democrats running on the argument that he or she is the best person to answer the White House crisis line at 3 in the morning. They all seem inclined to let that call go to voice mail. I hope that doesn’t last, because that phone will be ringing. This will be an extraordinarily volatile and confusing time for U.S. foreign policy.
We’re in the post-post-Cold War era — an era when being secretary of state, let alone president, has become a terrible job. (If anyone asks you to become secretary of state, say you had your heart set on secretary of agriculture.) The post-Cold War era had its issues — 9/11, Iraq and Afghanistan, to be sure — but it was in many ways a unipolar belle epoque, in which an American hegemon stifled any serious great-power conflict.
The post-post-Cold War era, which has been slowly unfolding since the early 2000s, requires a president to manage and juggle three huge geopolitical trends — and the interactions between them — all at once.”
via Opinion | Whom to Elect for a Foreign Policy Crisis at 3 A.M.? – The New York Times
Great essay Thomas Friedman, thank you. I look forward to hearing Jay Inslee, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders debate. Don’t have much interest in the others that I can think of. You might have mentioned that both Warren and Sanders have given speeches on foreign policy. Lost my excitement for Joe Biden, when I learned he helped a climate change denying GOP senator keep his seat in Indiana. The next 8 years isn’t for lightweights.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com. He performs folk music and stories about Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction.
by Thomas L. Friedman
March 6, 2011248 c
Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, on Capitol Hill in January.
Jim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
“I’ve been watching with more than a little interest the controversial statements about Israel and the Israel lobby by Ilhan Omar, a freshman Democratic congresswoman from the Fifth District of Minnesota, because it turns out that we have a lot in common — up to a point.
The first thing we have in common is that I was raised in the Fifth District of Minnesota, specifically the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. I lived there until I was 20. It was a freaky place — a crazy mix of Minnesota Jews (we called ourselves “the Frozen Chosen’’) and Scandinavians that produced a uniquely tolerant civic culture and an interesting group of neighbors: Al Franken, the Coen brothers, Peggy Orenstein, Norm Ornstein, Michael Sandel, Sharon Isbin, Marc Trestman and lots of others you can find on the St. Louis Park Wikipedia page. Our little town was immortalized in the Coen brothers’ 2009 movie “A Serious Man.’’
I still feel very close to the community there and go home often. St. Louis Park welcomed Jews who wanted to get out of the inner city of Minneapolis back in the 1950s — when other suburbs still had restrictions on selling homes to “Hebrews.’’ So I was proud to see St. Louis Park also welcome Muslim Somali refugees like Omar a half-century later, and then elect her to Congress.
The other thing that Omar and I have in common, as others have noted, is that we both don’t like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) — the organization at the center of the Israel lobby — and have spoken in very blunt language about its strong-arm political tactics.”
via Opinion | Ilhan Omar, Aipac and Me – The New York Times
Thomas L. Friedman
CreditCreditTodd Heisler/The New York Times
By Thomas L. Friedman
Feb. 19, 2019, 1082 c
Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times
“In case you haven’t noticed, long-established political parties across the democratic world are blowing up, with Britain’s Labour Party just the latest to fracture. Could America’s parties be next?
Could we have our first four-party election in 2020 — with candidates from the Donald Trump far right, the old G.O.P. center right, the Joe Biden center left and the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez far left all squaring off, as the deepening divides within our two big parties simply can’t be papered over any longer? It’s not impossible.
Indeed, two phrases recently in the news that touch on core principles of the Democratic and Republican Parties are like fuses that could ignite much larger explosions in the coming year. Those phrases are: “unwilling to work” and “national emergency.”
On Feb. 7, Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional office sent out an F.A.Q. explainer of the Green New Deal that she’s proposing. The initiative aims “to mobilize every aspect of American society … to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and create economic prosperity for all.””
“Unfortunately, we have a president who wants to spend $5.7 billion on a wall to fix his political problems with Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham. When what we need is a president who wants to spend $5.7 on a multipronged strategy that will address the actual immigration challenge we face.
Here is how a real president would explain it:
My fellow Americans, we face a global crisis: More people are on the move today seeking jobs, asylum from murderous governments, safety from environmental disasters or just looking for order than at any time since World War II — some 70 million people.”
via Opinion | What if Trump Could Explain as Well as He Inflames? – The New York Times