Thomas Friedman Finally Admits the Arab Spring is a Disaster

The term “Arab Spring” has to be retired," Friedman says. "It’s best we now speak of the “Arab Decade” or the “Arab Quarter Century” Why not the Arab millennium or the Arab trillion years.

Deep Thoughts by Thomas Friedman

But don't worry, the term "admits" is a bit strong. It's more like the weatherman who predicted there wouldn't be a flood for a month straight clinging to an antenna on the roof of his house and trying to find reasons why he was right all along even while the sharks are circling his chimney.

The standard fallback position for Tahrir's international cheerleaders is to argue that we were expecting positive results too quickly.

The term “Arab Spring” has to be retired. There is nothing springlike going on," Friedman says. "It’s best we now speak of the “Arab Decade” or the “Arab Quarter Century”

Why not the Arab millennium or the Arab trillion years. Like the guy who keeps predicting the world will end, it's safest to set your dates as far as possible. And 10-25 years later, no one will remember what Friedman predicted let alone that he even existed.

When your predictions don't succeed, just postpone them as far as possible. The people who promised us a positive transformation are now promising us a Thirty Years War.

Naturally it wouldn't be a Tom Friedman column without another of his tedious attempts to 'brand' the disaster in a way that sounds meaningful with a facile term. Clash Within a Civilization is what he has to offer this time around.

"Some will say: “I told you so. You never should have hoped for this Arab Spring,” Friedman writes. This sentence alone contains metric tons of dishonesty.

Friedman isn't being indicted for hoping for an Arab Spring. Most people were hopeful that the pie-in-the-sky predictions would somehow come true. I am hopeful each time another crank announces that he has achieved tabletop cold fusion. What I do not do is spend months urging policymakers to endanger us and wreck our national security over that hope. And I don't lie to people, present false claims and then shoot down every piece of opposing information for years until finally the dam breaks and it's impossible to deny the truth any longer.

That's Tom Friedman's purview.

Nonsense. The corrupt autocracies that gave us the previous 50 years of “stability” were just slow-motion disasters. Read the U.N.’s 2002 Arab Human Development Report about what deficits of freedom, women’s empowerment and knowledge did to Arab peoples over the last 50 years

Is Tom Friedman on crack? David Carr wrote at length about his drug use so maybe this is a common problem at the New York Times.

Does Thomas Friedman seriously believe that putting Islamists in charge is going to increase freedom, women's empowerment and knowledge?

Does it look like that's happening now?

Friedman's argument is that of the man who sets a house on fire because it's in bad shape. Well you can't blame him. It was a bad house. Now it's a pile of burning rubble.

Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and Syria are not falling apart today because their leaders were toppled. Their leaders were toppled because for too many years they failed too many of their people.

This is another Friedmanism that sounds profound but means nothing. Egypt and co. are falling apart because Western leftists backed a Islamist-Leftist push to overthrow allied governments. It wasn't some natural grass roots reaction. That has already been exposed as a lie.

Half the women in Egypt still can’t read.

How many will be able to leave the house, let alone read in 20 years?

Also, “we” did not unleash the Arab Spring, and “we” could not have stopped it. These uprisings began with fearless, authentic quests for dignity by Arab youths, seeking the tools and freedom to realize their full potential in a world where they could see how everyone else was living.

When the New York Times goes out of business, Thomas Friedman and Paul Krugman will be able to go down to Amish Country and find work on any farm that requires them to shovel what comes out of the rear ends of horses, donkeys or any quadruped. But the pay will unfortunately be less.

Just because Friedman is finally admitting the Arab Spring has gone bad, doesn't mean he'll stop shoveling the same camel manure that Springers have been shoveling since they called for the removal of Mubarak.

Still, two things surprise me. The first is how incompetent the Muslim Brotherhood has been. In Egypt, the Brotherhood has presided over an economic death spiral and a judiciary caught up in idiocies like investigating the comedian Bassem Youssef, Egypt’s Jon Stewart, for allegedly insulting President Mohamed Morsi. Every time the Brotherhood had a choice of acting in an inclusive way or seizing more power, it seized more power, depriving it now of the broad base needed to make necessary but painful economic reforms.

I wonder can Thomas Friedman actually be this stupid? Is this how liberals actually see the world?

Faced with the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is doing exactly what its history would suggest it would do, Friedman puts this down to incompetence. It's not incompetence. Hitler wasn't incompetent when he invaded Poland. The New York Times isn't incompetent when it spews lies like these that obscure their own malfeasance. It's only incompetence if you refuse to recognize the underlying motives.

So after all the shoveling is done, Friedman blames Arab liberals for not having the right leadership. He fails to mention El Baradei, whom the Times touted all along. He also fails to explain how Arab liberals are supposed to win when Islam is a bigger consensus than education for women or any of Friedman's other proposals.

But Friedman has passed the buck and now he reverts to his sage role telling Egypt what it should do. And with his track record, it can't possibly go wrong.