Not to pick on Friedman too much (and I'm probably cherry-picking his very worst moment), but ever since I watched this, I just can't help but think that Friedman is fundamentally unwise in a way that makes everything he writes (such as today's piece on Mexico) suspect:
It's not just that he got Iraq wrong, or even his inability to recognize that fact, both of which are bad enough (although the interview is from 2003, not 2009), but the bizarre, adolescent prism through which he considers Iraq that is really worrying. Saying "Suck on this", metaphorically or actually, shouldn't be viewed as an achievement by any adult person or nation, and it quite obviously shouldn't be a motivation for any decision that can place millions of lives at risk. Indeed, if looking for countries at which to toss epithets hadn't played a role in his analysis, one wonders if Friedman would have supported the war to start off with.
I've recently read some of the World War II books by Rick Atkinson, in which the correspondent Ernie Pyle plays a big role and comes across as eminently wise and judicious. For instance in this passage (which I actually read in a David Brooks column):
We won this war because our men are brave and because of many things - because of Russia, England and China and the passage of time and the gift of nature's material. We did not win it because destiny created us better than all other peoples. I hope that in victory we are more grateful than we are proud.
In the span of roughly three generations, we've gone from Pyle's eloquent and inspiring humility in the wake of one of (if not the) most important accomplishments in that nation's history to Friedman justifying the deaths of hundreds of thousands with "Suck on this". That's not a hopeful progression.