Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Iraq Through China’s Lens

By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

Published: September 12, 2007


Dalian, China


It’s nice to be in a country where Iraq is never mentioned. It’s just a little unnerving when that country is America’s biggest geopolitical and economic rival these days: China.

I heard China’s prime minister, Wen Jiabao, address an international conference here in Dalian, and what impressed me most was how boring it was — a straightforward recitation of the staggering economic progress China has made in the last two decades and the towering economic, political and environmental challenges it still faces.

How nice it must be, I thought, to be a great power and be almost entirely focused on addressing your own domestic problems?

No, I have not gone isolationist. America has real enemies that China does not, and therefore we have to balance a global security role in places like the Middle East with domestic demands.

But something is out of balance with America today. Looking at the world from here, it is hard not to feel that China has spent the last six years training for the Olympics while we’ve spent ourselves into debt on iPods and Al Qaeda.

After 9/11, we tried to effect change in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world by trying to build a progressive government in Baghdad. There was, I believed, a strategic and moral logic for that. But the strategy failed, for a million different reasons, and now it is time to recognize that and focus on how we insulate ourselves from the instability of that world — by having a real energy policy, for starters — how we protect our security interests there in more sustainable ways and how we get back to developing our own house.



By now it should be clear that Iraq is going to be what it is going to be. We’ve never had sufficient troops there to shape Iraq in our own image. We simply can’t go on betting so many American soldiers and resources that Iraqis will one day learn to live together on their own — without either having to be bludgeoned by Saddam or baby-sat by us.

So either we get help or get out. That is, if President Bush believes staying in Iraq can still make a difference, then he needs to muster some allies because the American people are not going to sustain alone — nor should they — a long-shot bet that something decent can still be built in Baghdad.

If the president can’t get help, then he has to initiate a phased withdrawal: now. Because the opportunity cost this war is exacting on our country and its ability to focus on anything else is out of all proportion to what might still be achieved in Iraq by our staying, with too few troops and too few friends.

Iraqis can add. The surge has brought more calm to Iraq largely because the mainstream Iraqi Sunnis finally calculated that they have lost and that both the pro-Al Qaeda Iraqi Sunnis and the radical Shiites are more of a threat to them than the Americans they had been shooting at.

The minute we start withdrawing, all Iraqis will carefully calculate their interests. They may decide that they want more blood baths, but there is just as much likelihood that they will eventually find equilibrium.

I have not been to Dalian in three years. It is not just a nice city for China. It is a beautiful city of wide avenues, skyscrapers, green spaces, software parks and universities.

The president of Dalian University of Technology, Jinping Ou, told me his new focus now is on energy research and that he has 100 doctoral students dealing with different energy problems — where five years ago he barely had any — and that the Chinese government has just decided to open its national energy innovation research center here.

Listening to him, my mind drifted back to Iraq, where I was two weeks ago and where I heard a U.S. officer in Baghdad tell this story:

His unit was on a patrol in a Sunni neighborhood when it got hit by an I.E.D. Fortunately, the bomb exploded too soon and no one was hurt. His men jumped out and followed the detonation wire, which led 1,500 feet into the neighborhood. A U.S. Black Hawk helicopter was in the area and alerted the U.S. soldiers that a man was fleeing the scene on a bicycle. The soldiers asked the Black Hawk for help, and it swooped down and used its rotor blades to blow the insurgent off his bicycle, with a giant “whoosh,” and the U.S. soldiers captured him.

That image of a $6 million high-tech U.S. helicopter with a highly trained pilot blowing an insurgent off his bicycle captures the absurdity of our situation in Iraq. The great Lebanese historian Kamal Salibi said it best: “Great powers should never get involved in the politics of small tribes.”

That is where we are in Iraq. We’re wasting our brains. We’re wasting our people. We’re wasting our future. China is not.


16 comments:

Jerry said...

cheap wedding gowns,
discount bridal gowns,
China wedding dresses,
discount designer wedding dresses,
China wedding online store,
plus size wedding dresses,
cheap informal wedding dresses,
junior bridesmaid dresses,
cheap bridesmaid dresses,
maternity bridesmaid dresses,
discount flower girl gowns,
cheap prom dresses,
party dresses,
evening dresses,
mother of the bride dresses,
special occasion dresses,
cheap quinceanera dresses,
hot red wedding dresses

Anonymous said...

no deposit needed - online cd poker rakeback or a unique pokerbonus, Forum sharing Tools, Articles, Internet Poker Bonuses,
free poker money no risk great news. HoldEm Poker, Omaha Poker
trip to the poker island - a great promotion run by pokerroom, $1500 Freeroll tournament to every new poker player on their.
historic mood of this year World Series of Poker, celebrating the 40th. value plus huge monthly freerolls.
poker no quiz need to get bankroll bonuses on the market. We list all the available no ... codes and referral codes to players.
poker without deposit free bonus
Attempted bonus abuse is a regular occurance, highest percentage of your rake back. Many professionals are registered ... so verification is now no quiz.
academic bonus research 200% up to a maximum bonus of $200. Find out more here. code studies, Pacific Poker.
free bankrolls no quiz to pass no quiz.
Tell your friends and earn weekly bonus when they play! New players receive a free bonus upon making their first money spend profits or goddies.
poker money bonus
Thats rigth you do not need to purchase any cash from your wallet to get outstanding poker bankrolls.

传斌 said...

replica Watches
replica Watches
replica Watches
fake Watches
knockoff Watches
replica Rolex Watches
replica Breitling Watches
replica Cartier Watches
replica Omega Watches
replica Tag Heuer Watches
replica Bell & Ross Watches
replica Panerai Watches
replica IWC Watches
replica Patek Philippe Watches
replica Chopard Watches
replica Gucci Watches
replica Corum Watches
replica Montblanc Watches
replica Jacob & Co Watches
replica A.Dunhill Watches
replica A.Lange & Sohne Watches
replica Alain Silberstein Watches
replica Audemars Piguet Watches
replica B.R.M Watches
replica Baume & Mercier Watches
replica Blancpain Watches
replica BMW Watches
replica Breguet Watches
replica Burberry Watches
replica Bvlgari Watches
replica Chronoswiss Watches
replica Concord Watches
replica D&G Watches
replica De Witt Watches
replica Dior Watches

Anonymous said...

Replica Handbags
Fake Handbags
Knockoff Handbags

Replica Louis Vuitton Handbags
Replica Gucci Handbags
Replica Chanel Handbags
Prada Handbags
Replica Fendi Handbags
Replica Dolce Gabbana Handbags
Replica Chloe Handbags
Replica Jimmy Choo Handbags
Replica Thomas Wylde Handbags
Replica MiuMiu Handbags

Replica Balenciaga Handbags
Replica Coach Handbags
Replica Lancel Handbags
Replica Hermes Handbags
Replica Marc Jacobs Handbags
Replica Anya Hindmarch Handbags
Replica YSL Handbags
Replica Mulberry Handbags
Replica Givenchy Handbags
Replica Valentino Handbags
Replica Versace Handbags
Replica Cartier Handbags
Replica Marni Handbags
Replica Bottega Veneta Handbags
Replica Loewe Handbags
Replica Kooba Handbags

Replica Bally Handbags
Replica Burberry Handbags
Replica Christian Dior Handbags
Replica Juicy Couture Handbags
Replica Ferragamo Handbags
Replica Celine Handbags

pedro velasquez said...

By now it should be clear that Iraq is going to be what it is going to be. sportsbook We've never had sufficient troops there to shape Iraq in our own image. We simply can't go on betting so many American soldiers and resources that Iraqis will one day learn to live together on their own without either having to be bludgeoned by Saddam or baby-sat by us. So either we get help or get out. That is, bet nfl if President Bush believes staying in Iraq can still make a difference, then he needs to muster some allies because the American people are not going to sustain alone nor should they a long-shot bet that something decent can still be built in Baghdad. sportsbook If the president can't get help, then he has to initiate a phased withdrawal: now. Because the opportunity cost this war is exacting on our country and its ability to focus on anything else is out of all proportion to what might still be achieved in Iraq by our staying, http://www.enterbet.com with too few troops and too few friends. Iraqis can add. The surge has brought more calm to Iraq largely because the mainstream Iraqi Sunnis finally calculated that they have lost and that both the pro-Al Qaeda Iraqi Sunnis and the radical Shiites are more of a threat to them than the Americans they had been shooting at.

Apa Saja Dah said...

Find and download what you need at Rapidshare Search Engine.
Top Site List Free Proxy Site Free Download mp3 Michael Jackson song All Michael Jackson Lirics Oes Tsetnoc Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa Download Mp3 Gratis

Anonymous said...

Interesting post... Looks like solid-state memory is really starting to become more popular. Hopefully we'll start seeing a drop in solid-state drive prices in the near future. $5 32 gig Micro SDs for your Nintendo DS flash card... sounds gooooood.

(Submitted using Nintendo DS running [url=http://crystalguo.vox.com/library/post/how-does-the-r4i-or-r4-work.html]R4[/url] SysBro)

Anonymous said...

Memory sure is becoming cheaper these days. I'm curious as to when we will finally hit the ratio of 1 cent to 1 GB.

I'm still waiting for the day when I will finally be able to afford a 20 TB harddrive, lol. But for now I will be happy with having a 32 gigabyte Micro SD Card in my R4i.

(Submitted using HomeBrow for R4i Nintendo DS.)

kimberly sayer said...

Thomas Lauren Friedman (born July 20, 1953) is an American journalist, columnist and multi Pulitzer Prize winning author. He is an op-ed contributor to The New York Times, whose column appears twice weekly. He has written extensively on foreign affairs including global trade, the Middle East and environmental issues. He has won the Pulitzer Prize three times,costa rica fishing
twice for International Reporting (1983, 1988) and once for Commentary (2002). He has been a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board from 2004 until the present.

http://www.fishingcostaricaexperts.com

Anonymous said...

I love to play in online casinos, almost any of the games are fun your sites has a lot of info. Will visit you again.

britney sayers said...

Thomas Friedman was born in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. He attended St. Louis Park High School and wrote articles for his school's newspaper,Costa rica toursincluding a story about Ariel Sharon, an Israeli general who later became Prime Minister of Israel. Friedman graduated in 1971.
http://www.kingtours.com

Anonymous said...

cheap 4 star hotels
hotel louvre
hotel gare du nord
reserve hotel room
maldron hotel
hotel 81

Anonymous said...

casino supervise
online casino slots
poker training
electronic casino one lives stress games
virtual online casino
888 online roulette
be occupied casino games no money
download jackpot shindig vacancy gadget casino
uk mega slot machines software downloads
pharos casino vacancy game
cherokee indian casino
gambling forum bonus codes
accepted casino coupon cypher
trade casino prepared
no deposit bingo online
atlantic big apple casino package deal deals
casino rama bus tour
missouri pool powerball results
no stash away required indication tip casinos
rate online casino
rightful gambling duration
casino artifice
emerald epitome casino
parma notch cars
at large suspend games casino
golden residence online casino
power slot rotor
untrammelled casino games
the foremost slots compete casino
lottery minnesota

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the article which aptly portrays Friedman's the-U.S.-can-do-wrong elitism.

Costa Rica Weddings said...

Costa
Rica Fishing Packages
, Costa
Rica Fishing Boats
, Costa Rica Fishing,
Costa Rica Sport
Fishing Packages
, Costa Rica
Fishing
, Costa Rica
Fishing Packages All Inclusive
, Fishing Trips Costa Rica,
Los Suenos Costa Rica Fishing,
Los Suenos Costa Rica Fishing Charters
, Costa Rica Fishing Vacation Packages,
Costa Rica Fishing Packages All
Inclusive
, Costa Rica Fishing
Trips
, Costa Rica Fishing Trips
All Inclusive
, Sport Fishing
Costa Rica
, Costa Rica Sport
Fishing Charters
, Sportfishing
In Costa Rica
, Jaco Costa Rica
Fishing Charters
, Jaco Costa
Rica Fishing Packages
, Jaco
Costa Rica Sport Fishing

Costa Rica Weddings said...

Costa Rica
Weddings
, Costa Rica
Wedding Packages
, Costa
Rica Weddings All Inclusive
,Wedding In Jaco Costa Rica,
Costa Rica Beach Weddings,
Los Suenos Wedding,
Jaco Costa Rica Wedding,
Jaco Wedding Planner,
Costa Rica Married,
Wedding Planning Costa Rica,
Costa Rica Wedding Locations,
Costa Rica Wedding Venues,
Costa Rica Wedding Packages All
Inclusive
, Costa Rica
Wedding Planner
, Getting
Married Costa Rica
, Costa
Rica Destination Weddings


Los Suenos Costa Rica,
Los Suenos Costa Rica Condos For Rent,
Los Suenos Costa Rica Vacation Rentals,
Los Suenos Condos For Rent,
Los Suenos Vacation Rentals,
Los Suenos Condominiums,
Los Suenos Condo Rental