Anti-Terror Fight Has to Be a Marathon Run on Wilsonian Principle, Not Cheap Oil

Who were the September 11 hijackers? What impelled them to bring about "such a bursting of the frontiers of civilization"? Thomas L. Friedman, the foreign affairs columnist at The New York Times and author of "The Lexus and the Olive Tree," spent the last fourteen months traveling to find answers to these questions. In an address at Yale University, he offered his personal assessment of the reasons behind the terrorist act and the motivation of the actors. He says the Sept. 11 hijackers came from three distinct groups - the leaders (including Osama bin Laden), alienated young men in Saudi Arabia, and young Muslims living in Europe as 'outsiders'. To prevent such a combination of disillusionment, resentment, and utopianism from coming together again in such a deadly manner, he suggests, the US must take action in four substantive ways. First, he says, those responsible for the attacks on the US must be killed. More importantly, he argues, it is necessary to kill the bad ideas that motivated them and which like-minded people continue to propagate. The US should also learn to be "much more sensitive on how we talk to the world." Finally, he says, the US must "make a much more aggressive, high profile effort to resolve or diffuse the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." Mr. Friedman was speaking at the invitation of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization. The following is a slightly abridged transcript of his speech delivered on January 30. - YaleGlobal

Anti-Terror Fight Has to Be a Marathon Run on Wilsonian Principle, Not Cheap Oil

Terrorism cannot be fought on the basis of some universal principles while ignoring others
Thomas L. Friedman
Saturday, February 8, 2003
The World Trade Center on September 11th. What lead to "such a bursting on the frontiers of civilization?"


...I'm going to talk today about the kind of journey I've been on since 9/11, and my apologies to any of the strategy students who are here, who may have heard part of this talk I did for the strategy course a few months back. I have actually been, besides working on my column, working on a documentary for the Discovery Channel that will air on March 26. I have had a crew of the Discovery Channel with me in my reporting for the last six months, which has been an experience for me in and of itself. The documentary is called "Searching for the Bottom of 9/11", which has been my own personal journey since September 11. The crew has been with me from Indonesia to Saudi Arabia, to Dubai, to Qatar, to Bahrain, to Egypt, to yesterday in Belgium where I returned from last night where we were meeting with Belgian Muslim leaders in Antwerp and in Brussels. And basically what this journey has been about, in searching for the roots of 9/11, is really to try to answer one fundamental question. And that question is, "Who were those guys?" Who were those guys? Who were those nineteen young men who boarded those four aircraft on September 11, and flew two into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and one into a field in Pennsylvania? Who were those guys? Because, I felt, until I can answer that question for myself I won't feel safe, and I don't think my country will feel safe. I really need to understand who these people were and what impelled them to do what they did on that day, which was such a bursting of the frontiers of civilization, that to this day, I sometimes find myself looking at the footage of the event, and still not believing it actually happened.

Click here to see the full transcript of the Question and Answer Session.

Click here to see videos of both the lecture and Question and Answer Session.

The Terrorists Behind September 11th. Who were these guys?

Now I believe the hijackers fall into three categories, basically. The first category are the leaders and the conceptualizers of the event, and that is two people in particular: Osama Bin Laden, and Ayman al-Zawahiri. Ayman al-Zawahiri we haven't heard much about. He is the leader and founder of Islamic Jihad, and in many ways believed to be the real brains behind 9/11. Bin Laden and Zawahiri, I would call, Islamo-Leninists. Because they are truly, at heart, Leninists. They are two men who I believe in many ways despiritualized Islam, and really converted it, from their point of view, into a political ideology. In another age, in another place, had they been at Yale in the sixties, they would have been Trotskyites or Marxists. These are men given to Utopian solutions, to the building of the kingdom of God on earth. Only the kingdom that they wanted to construct was not one built on class, like Marx, not one built on race, like Hitler; it was one built on a religion. They are, in a very classic way, utopian cult leaders. You want to understand them, study David Koresh; study Charles Manson; study Aum Shinrikyo in Japan. And so at the very top of this pyramid, you have the guys with the utopian ideology. But to carry out and execute their utopianism they needed foot soldiers. And this brings us to the boys of 9/11.


Now the boys of 9/11 themselves fell into two groups. One group I call the Saudis, and one group I call the Europeans. And these are two very different groups. Now the Saudis were the muscle guys; they were the guys in the back of the plane. And they come from a vast pool of young men in Saudi Arabia whom I call the "Sitting Around Guys." The "Sitting Around Guys," because there are thousands upon thousands of these young men, sitting around in Saudi Arabia, and you can see them on any Thursday night, driving up and down the Corniche in Jeddah. Now the force, the cement mixer that produces these "Sitting Around Guys," is what I call the "Wheel of Bin Ladenism." "The Wheel of Bin Ladenism" is made up of three basic components. The first is autocratic, anti-democratic regimes. The Arab League has a summit coming up this year, March 25 in Bahrain. Twenty-two nations will be represented; not a single one will be represented by a leader elected in a free and fair election. There is no region in the world - not Sub-Saharan Africa, not Latin America, not Central Asia, not East Asia, not Eastern Europe, where you could have a regional summit, and not a single leader present would have been elected in a free and fair election. That's the top of the "Wheel of Bin Laden." Because these leaders are basically illegitimate, in order to, in effect, buy legitimacy, what they do is empower, fund, and anoint, what I call "Anti-Modernist" religious leaders and educators. These Anti-Modernists, then, basically produce young generations of people unprepared for the most part for modernity to really master the modern world. That produces poverty and backwardness. That reinforces the autocracy. The autocracy reinforces the Anti-Modernist religious education. The Anti-Modernism reinforces poverty and the Wheel of Bin Laden just goes around and around, like a big cement-mixer churning out "Sitting Around People."


When I was in Saudi Arabia last year doing the interview with Crown Prince Abdullah the Saudis had given me a driver and a "Minder," to protect me. But during the time we were together over nine days, we actually got to know each other. And one of them, the younger, Khaldoon, said to me one day apropos of nothing, "You know Mr. Tom the problem here in Saudi Arabia is not Islam. The problem here is that in every house there are two or three young people not working. They go to the Mosque; preachers fill their heads with crazy ideas, and that, Mr. Tom, is the problem." And that, I believe, really is a big part of the problem.

Now this problem was diagnosed in another way - my "Wheel of Bin Ladenism" - by the Arab Human Development Report, a remarkable document produced by 25 extremely courageous economists and sociologists, released last year by UNDP, which asked a fundamental question, "Why is the Arab region so lagging behind the rest of the world?" Why is it that the twenty-two states of the Arab world do not have a combined GDP equal to that of Spain? Why is it that Greece last year translated from English to Greek than the entire Arab world combined translated from English to Arabic? Why is it that you have such a huge illiteracy rate among women in the Arab world? And the conclusion of the Arab Human Development report was very simple - it corresponded roughly to the spokes of my "Wheel of Bin Ladenism" - they concluded that it was because of a deficit of freedom, a deficit of women's empowerment, and a deficit of modern education.

And that really is the engine, as I say, manufacturing "Sitting Around People." "Sitting Around People" who end up basically being drafted to projects like Afghanistan. Some drift into more radical groups, some into yet more radical groups, and some drifted into the Rolodex of Osama Bin Laden. And he tapped them, late in the plot of 9/11, to join this project.


But as I said, there is another group of hijackers. These people were assembled; they did not organically come together. The second group I call "The Europeans." I call them "The Europeans" because there is a striking fact that cries out from year of 9/11. And that's that Mohammed Atta, al-Shehhi, Jarrah - the key plotters and pilots of 9/11 - the Hamburg Cell. What is so striking about them is that not a single one of them left home a Muslim radical. Every one of them was radicalized in Europe, in a European Mosque, or European prayer group. Every one of them was radicalized in their encounter with the West. Now this isn't just true of the boys of 9/11. Mr. Moussaoui, the gentleman out in Minnesota who wanted to learn how to fly 747's but not land them - son of a Tunisian mother, radicalized in a French Mosque. Mr. Omar Saeed Sheikh, the terrible man who plotted the murder of Danny Pearle, a Pakistani from London, radicalized in a British Mosque. Mr. Reid, the gentleman who couldn't blow up his own tennis shoes, a Jamaican immigrant to Britain, radicalized in a British prison. The two Tunisians who blew up Ahmed Shah Massoud, the leader of the Northern Alliance on September 9, two days before September 11, in what was - now we know, in retrospect - part of the whole operation to weaken the Northern Alliance, converted in a Belgian Mosque.


We have a pattern here. Now what is this pattern about? Why does it happen in Europe? Well, several factors are at work here, and this was certainly clear to me being in Belgium this last week, where there are 300 Mosques. 200,000 of the million people who live in Brussels are North African immigrants or their descendents. But the other thing that really strikes you in Belgium as elsewhere in Europe is that America is an imperfect melting pot, but we do aspire to be a melting pot. Europe does not aspire to be a melting pot. And all one need do is talk to young Muslims in a place like Brussels to feel the rage they feel at being stiff-armed, in effect, outside of society. These young men and women gather together often in prayer groups for warmth and solidarity as immigrant groups often do. Some drift into more radical ones, and some drift all the way to Afghanistan and Al Qaeda. What fed this phenomenon is that many of these autocratic regimes expelled their most radical preachers, where many of them found asylum in the name of being political refugees in a lot of European countries - Britain, France and Belgium in particular. These European countries did not take seriously the most radical of these prayer leaders, and they were really given free reign to spread their ideology amongst some very angry young men.


But I do think you have a third factor, a larger factor, which I can only put in almost computer terms. And it explains to me in part - not completely, but in part - why this happens in Europe. And this larger factor is what I call "the poverty of dignity." 9/11 is not about the poverty of money. It is all about "the poverty of dignity." In doing this film for the Discovery Channel, what is so striking, is how you hear when you talk to these young men from Indonesia to Cairo and from Cairo to Brussels. There are two words that consistently come up: One is dignity, and the other is humiliation. And it makes a lot of sense when you think about it. When do you get mad? Not when do you get mad, but when do you get really mad? Well as someone who is in the public eye, I can tell you when I get really mad, like fantasizing I have a bazooka on my shoulder mad. It's not when someone criticizes you, it's when someone humiliates you, or attempts to humiliate you. Samir Khalaf, a Lebanese sociologist friend of mine did a study of violence in Lebanon. A book called Civil and Uncivil Violence. And what he discovered is something very simple. Lebanese rarely kill each other over divisible goods - land, money. They always killed each other over indivisible goods - honor, respect, dignity, and identity. Now the reason I think this brew happens with these Europeans - what's at work is these young men come to Europe. They're raised in the Islamic tradition. And this is no criticism or slight to Islam. Islam sees itself as the most ideal and complete articulation of the monotheistic creed, with the Koran as the most complete and perfect articulation of the monotheistic faith, and Mohammed, the Prophet Mohammed, as the seal of the Prophets - God's last messenger and word on monotheism. If I were to put it in computer terms these young men come to Europe with the view that Islam is God 3.0, and Christianity is God 2.0, and Judaism is God 1.0. What they confront in a very, very powerful way in Europe is the reality that God 2.0 and God 1.0 are living so much more prosperously, so much more powerfully and so much more democratically than God 3.0, and I believe this creates a certain cognitive dissonance. Someone has to explain this mismatch. And the people who explain it are the likes of Osama Bin Laden. "It's very simple," they say. "That's because the infidels, the crusaders and the Jews," who always go together in Bin Laden's language, "God 1.0 and God 2.0 got together and did something to or took something away from God 3.0." That's one explanation they offer. And the other explanation they offer is that the people responsible for taking care of God 3.0, the current leaders of the Arab world, have corrupted and corroded the operating system. Of course there's another explanation. The other explanation is that God 2.0 isn't really God 2.0. It's actually God 2.0.1. It's a Christianity that has gone through the enlightenment and reformation, embracing modernity and separating Church from State. And God 1.0 isn't really God 1.0. It's actually God 1.0.1, a Judaism that for the most part has gone through that same process. Until and unless there is a God 3.0.1, this cognitive dissonance is going to exist for a lot of young men. And of course there is a struggle about this within the world of Islam right now over whether - and who - can or should articulate a God 3.0.1.


Now, what do we do from our end? And what do they do from their end to encourage the emergence of this kind of updated modernized part of the world that could be transformed when they have their own politics? Well, we need to do two things. The first thing we need to do, unfortunately, is bring to justice the people who perpetrated 9/11. We need to kill those people. I don't like to talk about such things in public but the fact is people say that violence doesn't solve anything. Well that's not exactly true. There are times, unfortunately, where violence directed at people who basically want to kill you for who you are is the only way out. And we cannot shrink from that responsibility. Because the message has to go forth for purely deterrent-sake that you come to this country and you kill three thousand of our brothers and sisters and we will track you down if we have to look for you in every cave in Tora Bora to find you. You will not do that and go back home and chortle over it on video on Al Jazeera over a good Turkish coffee.


But much more important than killing the perpetrators is killing their bad ideas. That is the real task. Now there we have a role to play, and the leaders of the Arab and Muslim world have a role to play. What do we have to do? Well the first thing we have to do is be the best global citizens we can be. If we're going to go stomping around the world wiping out Al Qaeda cells from Manila to Kabul to Baghdad or wherever. Bringing a critique to bear on all of these other societies we damn well better be the best global citizens we can be. And what that means for starters is that it is just not on to be saying to the world, "There is a war on terrorism folks, and you're either with us or against us. But in the war for a greener planet, in the war against global warming, sorry, I'm going to take a powder driving my SUV or HUMV." That is just not on. You cannot claim to be [fighting] a war on terrorism on the basis of some universal principle of right and wrong, and then ignore the other universal principles that other nations hold dear.

The third thing we need to do, particularly this administration - and I'm not here to take any cheap shots on anybody, I do that twice a week in my column - but the third thing we need to do is to be much more sensitive on how we talk to the world. One thing, if you write books after a while, is you become an expert on critics. I'm an expert on critics. Now there are two kinds of critics. There are critics who criticize you because they basically want to see you succeed, and there are critics who criticize you because they really want you to fail. And they are dripping with contempt for you. Now the critic who criticizes you because he or she really wants you to succeed, that person you'll listen to all day. The critic who criticizes you because they really want you to fail, well, that person can't tell you the sun is shining. Because you're just going to close your ears. And that's something this administration hasn't learned. People will listen to criticism if we convey a sense that we are inviting them into our future. That this war is about something transcendent, about something more than ourselves. But if we come to the world dripping with contempt, basically, people will shut their ears, and you can't tell them the sun is shining.


I'm glad, that on some level there are people in this administration who know what world we're living in. And we're living in a dangerous world. That's extremely important. They know what world we're living in. And they conveyed that to the world. The president did in the State of the Union just the other night. My question for them is, "Do they only know what world we're living in?" Do they ever convey a real sense and energy and vision for making it better and inviting other people into it. I'm all for being a bastard, but I want to be a Wilsonian bastard, not just a bastard.


Fourth thing we need to do is make a much more aggressive, high profile effort to resolve or diffuse the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which this administration has basically taken a powder on now, for nine, twelve months. They have basically taken a powder. Now you could take the view that this issue is exploited by the Arab press. You could take the view that this issue is being exploited by Arab regimes. The fact is it is an open wound that is deeply felt by many, many people. And there is simply no excuse for sitting back with arms folded and not making a much more significant effort to diffuse this conflict.


So those are some of the things that we need to be doing. What do they need to do, they the leaders of the Arab and Muslim world? The first thing they need to do is take on Osama Bin Laden at the ideological level. You see, one thing about Osama Bin Laden, he is not a fly by night guy, he is an authentic character. He has an authentically Arab, authentically Islamic, retrograde vision. But it is authentic. This is a guy who was a Saudi millionaire who gave up a life of riches to go live in a cave in Afghanistan and drive out the Soviets. And unfortunately he later turned his guns on the United States, but he is an authentic character. To defeat that kind of authenticity you need another authenticity. You need an authentically Arab, authentically Islamic progressive message. And sources of that progressive message are there in the tradition. But it needs leaders and educators ready to draw them out and articulate them. And the fact is that since 9/11 George Bush has still given more speeches about how and why Islam is a progressive religion than all the Arab leaders combined. And why is that? Why have they not articulated a progressive vision? Because virtually none of them are progressives. And so it's a bit of a fool's errand I guess to even be expecting that they would do it. What they do instead is they expel their Bin Ladens, they export their Bin Ladens, or they jail their Bin Ladens. But what they never do is take their Bin Laden's on at the ideological level. And so what happens is that you have an ideological vacuum that is actually filled by people who are just slightly less violent, slightly less radical than Bin Laden himself. And that has been the case ever since 9/11.


So many people have come up to me in the last year and said, "Wow, Islam, that's a really angry religion." I say, "No, I'm sorry, I don't think so. I think that's really wrong. But you know what I do think? I think a lot of Muslims are angry. I think a lot of Muslims are angry because they live in - as a faith community - in some of the most repressive societies, least empowering of their women, and affording the fewest opportunities for their young people to achieve their full aspirations. What is religion? It's just a mirror on your daily life. It's going to reflect the objective context in which you live. And context is precisely what we have ignored for the last fifty years. The context within which people live their lives is everything.


And here ladies and gentlemen, I point you to the second largest Muslim country in the world. Second largest Muslim country in the world is not Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, or Bangladesh. It's a place called India. India has the second largest Muslim population after Indonesia. And there is one crying fact that stands out from the year of 9/11. And Indian Muslims have their grievances. They have economic grievances, political grievances. We had Gujarat last year. They are real issues that they have to deal with. But there is one crying fact that stands out from the year of 9/11, and that is that there isn't a single Indian Muslim in Al Qaeda. And there isn't a single Indian Muslim in Guantanamo Bay. Now why is that? I'll tell you why I think it is. I think it's because the richest man in India today is a Muslim software entrepreneur, Azim Premji, the founder of Wipro. I happen to think it's because the president of India today is a Muslim. I happen to think that one of the few mosques I know where women demanded the right to pray alongside men was in Hyderabad, India, because they were empowered and protected to do so. Guess what folks. This isn't complicated. Give people a context where there is a free enough market for them, if they work hard, to advance themselves. Where there is enough democracy where if they have a grievance they can shout it without being thrown in jail. And where there is enough rule of law that if they have a dispute with someone they can adjudicate it without buying the judge off with a goat. And guess what. They don't want to blow up the world; they want to be part of it.


Context is everything. Put Muslims or Jews or Hindus or Buddhists in a democratic context, and trust me, you will get and bring the best out of them. And context is exactly what has been ignored in the Middle East for the last fifty years. We have treated the Arab world as if it were simply a big dumb gas station. And we cared simply about two things: That the pump was open, the price was low, and in later years, that they be nice to the Jews. Just be nice to the Israelis, keep the pump open and the price low and you can do whatever you want out back. You can do whatever you want in your schools out there, in your newspapers, in your mosques, in your education, in your politics, in your jails; do what ever you want out back; just keep the price low and be nice to the Israelis. Well we paid a huge price for that on 9/11, because what hit us was what came from out back.


People say to me, "Friedman have you lost your senses? You want there to be an election in Saudi Arabia? Do you realize what happens if there is an election in Saudi Arabia? They will have a press that will spew hate, anti-Americanism, and anti-Semitism. They will have charities that will give money to the most radical, rabid fundamentalist groups and the most retrograde educators. They will turn a blind eye to terrorism nurtured within their midst." Well good morning merry sunshine. What do we have now? No, no, no. I want there to be an election in Saudi Arabia. I want the fundamentalists to win, because I want them to have to pay in retail for their fundamentalism. Now they pay wholesale. No, I want to look people in the eye and say, "My people, we are not going to sell oil and gas anymore to the infidels because they are infidels. Now that does mean if you're planning to send your kid to Yale next year, that's not on. And by the way if you haven't seen Disney World yet, you're too late." Oh, that's when we're going to trigger what we need to trigger. And that is not a war with Islam, but it is a war within Islam.


We had civil war in this country. We had, 150 years ago, people thought it was fine and dandy to enslave people if they had dark skin. We had a civil war over that brand of intolerance. Well there is also a strain of intolerance out there, and it's going to need to be fought out there, and it's going to need to be fought from within, and the only people who can fight it are Muslims. And if you want to see what that civil war looks like; if you don't believe it's possible, then I point to exhibit B, and that is Iran. That civil war is happening right now in Iran. The fundamentalists took over. They got elected; they control the country, and they are now burdened with that responsibility. And guess what. The third and fourth generation that has grown up under Ayatollah Khomeini, they only two things, these young kids. I was in Iran just a few months. They just know two things. First of all they've never heard of the Shah. He could be Cyrus the Great for all they care. They just know that they were born under the Khomeini revolution and they know just two things: That they've had enough democracy to know they want more of it, and they've had enough Islam imposed on them to know they want less of it.


And they are in a struggle now for a new equilibrium based on real democracy and an honored place for Islam, but not an imposed one. And God bless them, they will find it. And when they do, the impact they will have on the Muslim world will be 100 times the impact of the Khomeini revolution. Root for those young Iranians because they're going to make it. It's going to take time because unfortunately there is this corrupting factor of oil, and the regime, because it controls oil, can monopolize a lot of instruments of force to keep them down, but it's a losing battle. And you know when I knew it was lost? When I saw a little wire story out of Tehran two months ago, which I wrote about. And it was Iranian students at an anti-government rally, and one of the signs they were carrying was, "Death to dictatorship." Think about that phrase. This is the student movement that invented the phrase, "Death to America." That was the chant of the Iranian student movement that ousted the Shah. "Death to America." And where are we twenty odd years later? Now they are chanting, "Death to dictatorship." That is so beautiful. That is saying, "We know where the problem is. And the problem is not in Washington, it's not in London, and it's not in Paris. It's here with our own rulers." No, it is not an accident, as Bernard Lewis has pointed out, "The two governments in the Middle East that are the most pro-American, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, have the most anti-American populations. And the government in the Middle East that is the most anti-American that has the most pro-American population: Iran." And that's for a very simple reason. People in Egypt and Saudi Arabia blame us for their repressive regime. Well there is one thing Iranians don't do, and that is, blame us for their government. They know that it is homegrown. And they are going to home grow an alternative with a war within. And God bless them. Because when they do and they will, they will have a huge and positive effect, I believe, across the whole Muslim world.


Let me close with just one observation in honor of the globalization center on reflections on globalization since 9/11. People have come and asked me many times whether I've changed any of my views on globalization since 9/11. And like a good academic, I never change my views. But I have learned some things about globalization since 9/11. And the most important thing I've learned is what a complete mismatch exists in the world today, between the speed through which we've all been wired together technologically, and the speed through which we have actually the frameworks to understand one another. There is a complete mismatch today. We have been wired together technologically thanks to satellites, cell phones, fiber optics, the internet, in a decade. But to develop the frameworks to understand each other, oh that takes so much longer. I was in Indonesia last summer meeting with a group of Indonesian journalists and we were having dinner and one of them worked for Nayan's old magazine, the Far Eastern Economic Review, a young woman. We were talking, and I don't remember if it was apropos or what, but she said, "That Bill O'Reilly on Fox TV, he really pisses me off." So I said to her, "Well when you're in America, don't watch Bill O'Reilly." She said, "No, no, no. Bill O'Reilly is now part of my Jakarta cable package." Bill O'Reilly, with his whacked out views on Islam, is right there part of her Jakarta cable package. He is right in her face now every night. And she's probably one of those people emailing him angry mail that he reads on the air. They are right in each other's face technologically. But the framework to actually understand each other, those takes years. Those take travel and education and reading and language study. You can't download those things; you got to upload them, the old-fashioned way. And the mismatch between those is so striking to me in the year after 9/11. Because it's now like we're all sitting around the same dinner table. Americans, Arabs, Europeans, Muslims, Hindus and Jews, we're all around the same dinner table and everyone is shouting at each other and throwing food, and you can't go anywhere in the house anymore to escape the argument. And so what all this globalization is doing, instead of promoting understanding, it's raising the world's blood pressure.


And the place I saw that most profoundly is with the lie that 4,000 Jews were warned not to go to work on September 11. That lie is believed by the vast majority of the Muslim world today. And when I would meet young Muslims and old Muslims, and Muslim leaders, even, I'm afraid, and they would repeat this lie, I would say, "Young man, just stop and think for a second. Who could have had the names of everyone working in the two Twin Towers? Who then could have figured out which ones exactly were Jews? Who then would have had all of their home phone numbers? Who then could have called them all on the night before September 11? And by the way, could you name just one person who was called?" And then they would look at me and say the saddest thing, "But Mr. Friedman, I read it on the internet." You see, because it comes wrapped in this patina of technology, people believe it even more. They have no idea that on a good day, the internet is an open sewer of untreated, unfiltered information - that on the good days it's an electronic version of the National Inquirer. They don't know that. "But Mr. Friedman, I read it on the internet." That is really sad, but it is really true.


When I was in Indonesia on that trip I ran into an American diplomat at our embassy who told me she had been in Malang in East Java and seen a young boy riding a bicycle wearing an Osama Bin Laden t-shirt and a New York Yankees baseball cap. I didn't see this person, but I can tell you, I've seen many like it. And it really is a snapshot of young people in the world out there because they can go both ways, frankly. They can go both ways. They wear the hat and the t-shirt very lightly. They can go in a way of respecting and embracing some of the things we're trying to do in the world, and some of our best values I would hope. And they can go the other way. It is our job to do what we can from our end, so that in more places on more days, more of those young people grow into the hat and not the t-shirt.

Thank you very much.

Thomas L. Friedman is the foreign affairs columnist at The New York Times.

© Copyright 2003 Yale Center for the Study of Globalization