We get that Barack Obama can view American from Iran's perspective. What we're worried about is whether he can view Iran from American's perspective . . . Ronald Reagan: "My idea of American policy toward the Soviet Union is simple, and some would say simplistic. It is this: we win and they lose." Thomas Friedman on Barack Obama: "He actually knows what America looks like from the outside in. And he can actually see America even to some point from the Iranian perspective."
So whom will history record as being more effective in countering America's adversaries? The "simplistic" Ronald Reagan, or that cosmopolitan sophisticate, Barack Obama? Appearing on today's Morning Joe, Friedman apparently thought he was praising Obama, but Joe Scarborough wasn't so sure, asking "is it an admirable quality for us to have a president who can look at the world through the eyes of a regime that you and I both know has been the epicenter of terrorism since 1979?"
The only evidence Friedman offered in support of his claim of Obama that Obama "knows what America looks like from the outside in" is that Obama "lived abroad, maybe more than any president in a long time."
Let's look at the record. Barack Obama lived in Indonesia for four years, from the age of six through ten. Benajamin Netanyahu lived, in two stints, a total of six years in the United States, graduating from a high school in the Philly suburbs at the age of 18.
Using Friedman's logic, maybe Bibi has a better ability to look at things from an American perspective than Obama.
THOMAS FRIEDMAN: What really came through to me in the interview really is a couple things that really do show you the difference between him and Netanyahu. Obama is someone who has lived abroad, maybe more than any president in a long time. And because of that, he actually knows what America looks like from the outside in. And he can actually see America even to some point from the Iranian perspective. And it comes through when he says let's remember we, the Unites States, back in the '50s, we toppled Iran's democratically-elected government. You know, there might be some reason these people actually want to get a weapon that will deter that from happening again.
And I would say onne difference between him and Netanyahu, Obama can actually walk in another man's shoes. That has not been Bibi Netanyahu's strong suit. He's not exactly been a man known to look at the world from a Palestinian perspective.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: But Tom, is it possible, is it an admirable quality for us to have a president who can look at the world through the eyes of a regime that you and I both know has been the epicenter of terrorism since 1979?
THOMAS FRIEDMAN: It really depends on what you're talking about, Joe. I think it really depends on what you think of this deal.