Nice post, lane119.
I read that article in the paper too. As you mentioned, Friedman can run hot or cold. I’m sure there are some who conistently like him, or consistently dislike him – but I’ve found myself agreeing with some of this articles/points and disagreeing with others.
I thought this article that you are talking about was pretty good. My interpretation (and who knows, I may or may not be correctly understanding his point) was that it would be nice the Muslim world can get to a point where the fundamental questions the young people ask themselves are not “Why do I have no job? Why have my schools not taught me about science, and engineering and foreign cultures? Why do I live in poverty while the royal family spends $100 million on 2 vacations? Why am I beaten for failing to cover my arms or listening to western pop music when the rulers of my country spend millions drinking at escort clubs and bars in Paris? Why do they allow my little sister to burn to death in her school rather than bringing her out of the blaze without proper Muslim attire?”
Asking these questions leads to (understandable) feelings of unfairness and hatred – hatred directed either at their own rulers, or at the scapegoats the rulers give them (Israel and the US) – or both. And of course this hatred and misery often leads to terrible violence.
I think Friedman is saying that it will be nice if the biggest source of jealousy among the were “Who got into Bei Yi Nu/TaiDa/the great Citibank job?” or if the biggest worries on their minds were which KTV to go to on the weekend, or which celebrity is getting married, or which hot springs to go to.
We, of all different political stripes on these boards may have very different ideas about how best to help the Muslim world get to this point (or indeed whether our countries should be helping at all). I’m sure some of us also question whether the relatively materialistic aspirations I describe really represent the ideal world either. But surely most of us can agree that they are preferable to the poverty, intolerance and corrupt police states that dominate much of the Muslim world today.
Anyway that’s what I think he was trying to say. And if it is, then I agree with him.