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News Charlie Rose & Thomas L. Friedman12/21/05

  1. Dec 20, 2005 #1
    I had the time to watch the program tonight, and thought I would tell about several key points that were brought up that I find important. His guest tonight, Thomas L. Friedman, is a columnist for the New York Times. It was a great interview. One of the first issues Friedman brought up was the fact that Bush and Congress is doing far too little and under funding government based scientific research. He said that Bush is wasting time by making 1%-2% increases when he should be driving increases of up to 10%. In addition, Friedman said that Bush should be promoting an idea of energy as his own 'moon shot' that Kennedy had. Bush should be driving the young population of America to be Engineers, Scientists and Mathematicians.
    Next, Friedman goes on to talk about America and the Middle East. He describes the problems with the Middle East and America, namely Iraq, Jordan and Turkey. In regards to Iraq, he expressed his outcry for the fact that America takes flak for the misuse of the Quran in Gipmo, yet In Iraq, on the first day of Ramadan, the holiest of all days in the Islamic faith, a suicide bomber walks into a mosque and blows up a funeral precession. He argues, "Where is the public massive outcry from the Islamic world there!?" "Why isn't the Islamic world standing up and saying this is not what we stand for, why isn’t the governments of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and these other countries not standing up!?...Charlie and I don’t mean these small public statements that are made when these things happen...." He also goes on to talk about Iraq and the election process. He says that "every American should hold their head up high, because for the first time in the Middle East Iraq has had an open and free election, soon they will have a newly appointed government that has been entirely elected by the people of Iraq, and this is an amazing accomplishment"
    Later, he goes on to talk about Turkey’s acceptance into the EU. He tells Charlie the story that the EU told Turkey to clean up its act, clean out its prison system, reform its laws. Once Turkey does all this, he tells Charlie, "The EU then says, oh wait, oh dear, nobody told you? This is a Christian club, he was never told, oh dear?" He was clearly being sarcastic but making a valid point. He said, "You see Charlie, this is what the politicians in Europe are saying these days, there saying that Turkey won’t "fit in" with European culture." He said Turkey is the link between the Middle East and Europe, and that Turkey will become one of two things. It will become either a Bridge between the two, or a ditch.
    In the last segment of the program, Friedman talks about China. He explains the rapid growth of china, and how the growth is starting to manifest itself all the way to the rural areas. This he said, was seen recently with the killing of 22 Chinese peasant farmers in the rural areas by security forces because the government wanted to take their land to build wind farms. He also mentioned a falls, but I can’t remember the name, that the government wants to turn into a hydroelectric dam for its ever increasing energy needs. He said the state has become so bad that when he visited China 6 weeks ago, there was so much pollution that you could not see 3 blocks away. In fact, the next building was masked by the shear volume of smog. He went on to say that Bush, who recently went to China, should have made important talks to increase the link between China and the US to come up with a solution for the energy crisis. He said that this partnership should be formed to benefit everyone. Friedman also went on to say that the Green Revolution isn’t some hippy fad, its American, its red white and blue. "What are these politicians thinking? What are they going to tell their grandchildren when there’s no resources left?" Charlie then made the connection of Norway, which produces its own oil, and puts the surplus revenue from that oil in a Trust for their future generations. Friedman said, "That’s exactly the problem in America, it’s about Me Me Me, More, More, More, Now, Now, Now. " He then made the analogy that china and India are like two cars filled with its people driving on a superhighway. In china, that superhighway is nice, flat, new concrete, all the streetlights work. But out in the distance, there’s a bump. And one of two things can happen. Either they will go over that bump with no effect, or they will hop up, and when a car with that many people lands back down what will happen? ...the wheels will fall off. For India, he said the superhighway is full of potholes, the streetlights don’t work, the asphalt is cracked, but in the distance, the roads look perfectly flat. He has a new book out, it’s called "The world is flat."
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 20, 2005 #2
    Most of my quotes are paraphrases, but not too far off from what he said. I thought he brought up many important points. I have not put my personal opinon in the above text, it is just a summation of what was discussed on the show. I don't think I left anything out, but feel free to comment.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2005
  4. Dec 21, 2005 #3


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    I listen to Rose's program occasionally - http://www.charlierose.com/.

    I also read Friedman's column in the NY Times and his books, and he has considerable experience in reporting on international affairs.

    I agree that the US government is spending comparatively little on basic research, and it tends to fund research by organizations and industries which are politcally connected to the either political party or contibute rather conspicuously to political campaigns.

    However, corporations have cut funding because R&D comes out of the profits which otherwise go, not to shareholders, but to corporate managers.

    I am pleased with elections in Iraq, I simply disagree with the methods by which we arrived at this point.

    The EU needs to stop playing games with Turkey. The EU already has a large Islamic community, and they just happen to live next door to North Africa and Middle East - so they better learn to work cooperatively with the Islamic nations.

    China's economy is growing and along with it energy demands. China built the Three Gorges Hydroelectric Plants by damming the Yangtze River. In the process, a large area of land, including many communities were submerged, and millions of people displaced. China has been using coal for energy, and they care not for pollution control. Consequently, some areas of China are heavily polluted not only with coal dust and soot, but with heavy metals as well.

    China will likely invest in many advanced nuclear power plants - perhaps on the order of 40 or so, each of 1000+ MWe. I agree with Friedman's assessment though - there are bumps in the road - for China, US and other economies.
  5. Dec 21, 2005 #4
    A thing I forgot to mention, which I thought was great. In the program, he tells Charlie a story about a time when he was in London? in a theater. A man from Turkey came up to him and introduced himself. He said how he liked one of Friedman's articles in particular and shared it with all his friends. Friedman said, "Oh, really?! Which one?" And the man tells him, "well, there was one you wrote called "where the birds don’t fly." And Friedmen goes on to say how he tried to remember what that article was about. Then he tells Charlie, "so I went back and read the article I wrote some time ago. It was about the terrorists that drove the car bomb into the British Embassy in Turkey". He said, "have you ever seen those horror movies, with the scary old houses on the top of a hill? If you go to Turkey, the US Embassy is in an old building, literally on top of a mountain. It’s surrounded by 20 foot high walls and barbed wire. It gives off the message 'GO AWAY.' When they captured the terrorists, they interviewed them. The terrorists confessed that they wanted to bomb the US Embassy, but that it was too heavily secured. He told the interrogator, 'The Americans....the Americans Embassy is so secure that not even bird’s fly over there...' ". I thought that was a great little story.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2005
  6. Dec 21, 2005 #5


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    With respect to the elections in Iraq, they are somewhat tarnished by the fact that the Sunnis or Sunni leadership are challenging their legitimacy.

    Sunnis Reject Early Iraq Election Results, Calling for Inquiry
    by Edward Wong, NY Times, December 21, 2005

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