Thomas L. Friedman begins his op-ed piece, datelined Seoul, Korea in Tuesday’s New York Times, thusly:
“It is very useful to come to Asia to be reminded about America’s standing in the world these days. For all the talk in recent years about America’s inevitable decline, all eyes are not now on Tokyo, Beijing, Brussels or Moscow — nor on any other pretenders to the world heavyweight crown. All eyes are on Washington to pull the world out of its economic tailspin. At no time in the last 50 years have we ever felt weaker, and at no time in the last 50 years has the world ever seen us as more important.”
What foreign journalists and government officials in Asia are telling Friedman puts a heavy burden on America to cut through the political bickering and BS and allow the brain power behind Obama’s team to sort all this economic mess out.
Friedman uses a word I’ve heard a lot on TV lately – a buzzword - I will clarify for you: “schadenfreude,” meaning “taking pleasure in the misfortune of others.”
Those Americans who are leaning toward “protectionism” will be particularly surprised to learn that the world feels very dependent on the United States at this crucial time. We are citizens of the world, and the world, according to Friedman, needs us.
I highly recommend you take a moment to read “Paging Uncle Sam.”