Daniel Nexon expresses exactly what I've thought of Tom Friedman since 1999.
Ever since the awful book The Lexus and the Olive Tree
- which was not a useful book for anyone but Tom Friedman - was published (initial reaction: "This is the book that describes our time? ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME???"), I've had this same argument with otherwise intelligent people. In that book Friedman demonstrated (and continues to demonstrate in subsequent books and columns) that he doesn't know anything about technology, economics, or international relations except that the topics sure excite him and inspire him to talk, endlessly...While it's nice that big ideas are exciting to him, it would help if he had any insight into his chosen topics. But he didn't then and he doesn't now and he won't ever. A writer who brings nothing to his chosen subject other than breathless enthusiasm is not a writer you should pay any attention to and one certainly shouldn't take their advice on policy; one would think this is obvious. When I would make those points, the otherwise intelligent people would look at me oddly and say "But he understands what's happening right now! What's the matter with you?" And I'd reply "How can you say that? He's NOT SAYING ANYTHING!" And so on and on...So to all you OIP's out there who I argued with: I was right. You were wrong, and I hope we all have learned from this experience.