Friday, December 3, 2010

Friedman on the State of the Nation

Amazing the New York Times actually has a good opinion piece. Since I rag on the Times, I might as well give them a little bit of credit. Actually the credit belongs to Thomas Friedman who wrote "From WikiChina", an opinion piece from the perspective of a hypothetical Chinese diplomat who has been outed by a WikiLeaker. Mr. Friedman has captured the essence of the state of the nation. Related tidbits in Casual Observations.

The following perceptive points are from Mr. Friedman's acting as WikiLeaker exposing the private cables from a hypothetical Chinese diplomat.

"There is a willful self-destructiveness in the air here as if America has all the time and money in the world for petty politics."

"Americans just had what they call an “election.” Best we could tell it involved one congressman trying to raise more money than the other (all from businesses they are supposed to be regulating) so he could tell bigger lies on TV more often about the other guy before the other guy could do it to him. This leaves us relieved. It means America will do nothing serious to fix its structural problems: a ballooning deficit, declining educational performance, crumbling infrastructure and diminished immigration of new talent." (emphasis added)

"The ambassador recently took what the Americans call a fast train — the Acela — from Washington to New York City. Our bullet train from Beijing to Tianjin would have made the trip in 90 minutes. His took three hours — and it was on time!" (emphasis added)

"Along the way the ambassador used his cellphone to call his embassy office, and in one hour he experienced 12 dropped calls — again, we are not making this up. We have a joke in the embassy: “When someone calls you from China today it sounds like they are next door. And when someone calls you from next door in America, it sounds like they are calling from China!”"

" ... America will lack the military means to challenge us anywhere else, particularly on North Korea, where our lunatic friends continue to yank America’s chain every six months so that the Americans have to come and beg us to calm things down."

" ... as we use our $2.3 trillion in reserves to quietly buy up U.S. factories."

The most germane quote: "But the Americans are oblivious. They travel abroad so rarely that they don’t see how far they are falling behind. Which is why we at the embassy find it funny that Americans are now fighting over how “exceptional” they are." (emphasis added) Reminds me of the amazingly perceptive line from the 2004 movie The Incredibles: "How can anyone be special if everyone is special?" It time for our elected and corporate leaders to wake up and run the US.

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