Friday, February 26, 2010

American Exceptionalism, Foolish Friedman, Yiddish Slang

Some noteworthy items in the latest issue of National Review (3/8/2010). One is an essay by Rich Lowry and Ramesh Ponnuru discussing the origins and propagation of American exceptionalism, the great good it has accomplished for the country and the world and the forces working against it. That President Obama is currently allied with those forces helps to explain the widespread and spirited opposition to his agenda. is blindness to ignore that American exceptionalism has homegrown enemies — people who misunderstand the sources of American greatness or think them outdated. If they succeed, we will be less free, less innovative, less rich, less self-governing, and less secure. We will be less.

As will the world. The Europeans can afford a foreign policy devoted nearly exclusively to “soft power” because we are here to defend them and mount the forward defense of freedom. Who is going to do that for us, when we are no longer doing it for ourselves? Who will answer the call when America is no longer home?

Jonah Goldberg has a grand time mocking author and NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman's condescending and self-absorbed sophistries.

He (Friedman) claims to be simplifying complex ideas and making them more understandable. But what he is in fact doing is taking an already simple idea — say, that of a level playing field — and making it meaningless. You can boil something down to the essentials, but if you keep boiling it you’re just left with nonsense.

And of Friedman's admiration for the tyrannical thugocracy that runs China,

Friedman should actually be offering a sincere prayer for forgiveness of his Durantyesque sycophancy in behalf of a totalitarian regime with the blood of 65 million people on its hands. If he’d written a chapter called “Nazis for a Day,” this point would be more obvious to more people. But instead of contrition we get scores more columns gushing about how great China is for being able to get all of the policies right. is either deranged or dishonest to suggest that China — with its ever-growing tally of coal factories, poisoned rivers, corrupt regulators, etc. — is some great steward of the environment. It may or may not be leading in the manufacture of green technologies — though don’t take Friedman’s word for it; he rarely sources his too-good-to-check claims — but it is also burning fossil fuels faster than any other country.

And the NR editors write about VP Joe Biden's recent comments about the Iraq war vis-a-vis the Obama administration. (See my previous post on the matter).

Recall the thinking of Barack Obama and Joe Biden about the Iraq War. Obama opposed President Bush’s surge in Iraq, saying it would make things worse. He wanted to declare the war lost and come home. Biden proposed essentially splitting the country into three: a Sunni land, a Shiite land, and a Kurdish land. John McCain remarked that you would have to draw lines through a lot of Baghdad bedrooms, because Iraqis intermarry. In any event, the Bush administration had the war pretty much won by the time of the Obama inauguration. And, the other night, Biden went on television and said, “I am very optimistic about Iraq. I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration.” Chutzpah is a popular Yiddish word. Schmuck is another.

Lowry, Ponnuru


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