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Too Important to Kill

Adam Shatz: Real Men Go to Tehran, 23 January 2020

... Review, John Yoo, author of the torture memos, defended the legality of the assassination; Thomas Friedman predicted in the New York Times that Iranians might one day name a street in Tehran after Trump.But these beneficiaries of collective amnesia are hardly alone in praising Trump, and even his liberal critics have questioned the attack ...

Bullets in the Mail

Krithika Varagur: After Khashoggi, 3 June 2021

The Son King: Reform and Repression in Saudi Arabia 
by Madawi Al-Rasheed.
Hurst, 394 pp., £20, December 2020, 978 1 78738 379 1
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... public in the Economist before he told the company management. She picks off easy targets such as Thomas Friedman, whose early infatuation with MBS’s promise of change didn’t require hindsight to seem misplaced, and singles out others for perhaps excessive praise: the Channel 4 correspondent Jonathan Rugman, for example, ‘had not fallen under the ...

The Retreat from Monetarism

J.R. Shackleton, 6 February 1986

... Fêted by financiers, mobbed by the media, patronised by presidents and prime ministers, Milton Friedman had at last arrived. The doctrine for which he had fought – initially almost single-handedly – for a quarter of a century had become the New Orthodoxy. Monetarism had overthrown discredited Keynesianism, and nowhere was its victory more warmly ...

Unhappy Yemen

Tariq Ali: In Yemen, 25 March 2010

... he told me that thanks to the Nigerian bomber he had been visited by the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. Friedman, having asked his questions, went back to the US and told his readers that the city ‘was not Kabul … yet’, but that AQAP was a ‘virus’ that needed urgent attention before the spread of ...

Palestinians under Siege

Edward Said: Putting Palestine on the map, 14 December 2000

... and whose influential drummer-boy has been the New York Times columnist and Middle East expert Thomas Friedman. Last October, after seven years of writing columns in praise of the Oslo peace process, Friedman found himself in Ramallah, under siege by the Israeli Army (and under fire). ‘Israeli propaganda that the ...

Rise of the Rest

Pankaj Mishra: After America, 6 November 2008

The Post-American World 
by Fareed Zakaria.
Allen Lane, 292 pp., £20, July 2008, 978 1 84614 153 9
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The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order 
by Parag Khanna.
Allen Lane, 466 pp., £25, April 2008, 978 0 7139 9937 2
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... by the swift capitulation of the Taliban. Iraq was logically the next target. As the columnist Thomas Friedman told Charlie Rose, what the Iraqis ‘needed to see was American boys and girls going house to house, from Basra to Baghdad, and basically saying: “Which part of this sentence don’t you understand? You don’t think, you know, we care ...

Comedy is murder

Thomas Powers: Joseph Heller, 8 March 2012

Just One Catch: The Passionate Life of Joseph Heller 
by Tracy Daugherty.
Robson, 548 pp., £25, September 2011, 978 1 84954 172 5
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Yossarian Slept Here: When Joseph Heller was Dad and Life was a Catch-22 
by Erica Heller.
Vintage, 272 pp., £8.99, October 2011, 978 0 09 957008 0
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... who built his career on the principle that tragedy is hard, but comedy is murder; Bruce Jay Friedman, who wrote novels, plays and movies; Mario Puzo, who made a fortune with his novel The Godfather; and Speed Vogel, who resists summary. Heller’s wife Shirley in her youth had been a friend of Vogel’s sister on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. In ...

Licence to kill

Paul Foot, 10 February 1994

Spider’s Web: Bush, Saddam, Thatcher and the Decade of Deceit 
by Alan Friedman.
Faber, 455 pp., £17.50, November 1993, 0 571 17002 1
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The Unlikely Spy 
by Paul Henderson.
Bloomsbury, 294 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 0 7475 1597 2
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... and was promptly recruited by Casey as a member of the CIA’s Senior Review Panel. Thus, as Alan Friedman wryly comments, he was a ‘paid employee of both the CIA and Carlos Cardoen. It was a comfortable closing of the circle.’ The Casey gang found a very effective, though not specially ingenious, way of avoiding the law and arming Iraq from the US. Arms ...

Feeling Good about Feeling Bad

Nathan Thrall: Liberal Zionism, 9 October 2014

My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel 
by Ari Shavit.
Scribe, 447 pp., £20, February 2014, 978 1 922247 54 4
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... Israel Public Affairs Committee had its staff distribute copies of the book to youth activists. Thomas Friedman and David Brooks both dedicated a laudatory New York Times column to it. The New Yorker editor David Remnick, whom Shavit describes as his book’s ‘godfather’, has spoken on multiple panels to publicise the book, which he helped ...

Were we bullied?

Jamie Martin: Bretton Woods, 21 November 2013

The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes,Harry Dexter White and the Making of a New World Order 
by Benn Steil.
Princeton, 449 pp., £19.95, February 2013, 978 0 691 14909 7
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... in motion just as the Keynesian consensus was falling apart. States were pressured to put on what Thomas Friedman has referred to as the ‘golden straitjacket’ of market friendly policies (one size fits all) to maintain national competitiveness in a liberalising world economy. Apologists for Keynes and White’s creation argue that a new Bretton ...


David Runciman: Athenian Democracy and Google, 29 January 2009

Democracy and Knowledge: Innovation and Learning in Classical Athens 
by Josiah Ober.
Princeton, 342 pp., £17.95, November 2008, 978 0 691 13347 8
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... taxes, they don’t really have to worry about securing the consent of their citizens at all. Thomas Friedman in Foreign Policy called this ‘the first law of petropolitics’: ‘The price of oil and the pace of freedom always move in opposite directions.’ Silver is not oil, but in the ancient world it might as well have been. Yet in Athens, an ...

The President and the Bomb

Adam Shatz, 16 November 2017

... peculiarities of the American political system that you can call the president a moron – or, as Thomas Friedman recently put it on the front page of the New York Times, ‘flat-out dumb’ – but you can’t call into question the sanctity or power of his office. Whatever your complaints, the president has ultimate military authority, and there are ...

Mid-Century Male

Christopher Glazek: Edmund White, 19 July 2012

Jack Holmes and His Friend 
by Edmund White.
Bloomsbury, 390 pp., £18.99, January 2012, 978 1 4088 0579 4
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... and gives the novel a starred review, praising its ‘charming’ recombination of the styles of Thomas Pynchon and Boris Vian and its ‘tender’, ‘childlike’ depiction of heterosexual love. Jack figures the Kirkus reviewer must be a woman, probably studying French, unduly influenced by Will’s touched-up author photo. Then comes a review in the New ...

Document Number Nine

John Lanchester: Chinese Cyber-Sovereignty, 10 October 2019

The Great Firewall of China: How to Build and Control an Alternative Version of the Internet 
by James Griffiths.
Zed, 386 pp., £20, March 2019, 978 1 78699 535 3
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We Have Been Harmonised: Life in China’s Surveillance State 
by Kai Strittmatter.
Old Street, 328 pp., £9.99, May 2019, 978 1 913083 00 7
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... sees it as an informational form of manifest destiny. In the words of the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, the internet is a ‘nutcracker to open societies’. This view has adherents in China too. Liu Xiaobo – the first Nobel laureate to die in prison since Carl von Ossietzky in Nazi Germany – said the internet was ‘God’s gift’ to a ...

Against Responsibility

William Davies, 8 November 2018

Family Values: Between Neoliberalism and the New Social Conservatism 
by Melinda Cooper.
Zone, 447 pp., £24, March 2017, 978 1 935408 84 0
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... but none has ever acknowledged the indispensable role once played by the dole in seed-funding it.) Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century (2014) was a wake-up call in this regard, showing that existential luck – what you inherit or are gifted with, as well as when you are born – plays a far more decisive role than work or talent in shaping economic ...

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