Thomas L. Mandelbaum


Yesterday I had some sport with Thomas L. Friedman's hacktacular columnizing about NATO expansion, including his laughable over-reliance on John Hopkins sovietologist Michael Mandelbaum in 11 different NATO-bashing columns. I present to you the first sentence of Friedman's column from today, with no further comment:

In his book "The Ideas That Conquered the World," Michael Mandelbaum tells a story about a young girl who is eating dinner at a friend's house and her friend's mother asks her if she likes brussels sprouts.


NEXT: Something About the "Runaway Bride" (Gratuitious Soviet Union Reference Edition)

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  1. Mandelbaum! Mandelbaum! Mandelbaum!

    I think I’m going to go eat some crepes.

  2. Actually, after reading the column I thought the Brussels sprout metaphor was a pretty good one. And I hate Brussels sprouts.

  3. I just have to comment that the sentence reads like the first sentence from a grade eight book report.

  4. It’s Go Time!

  5. I can’t stand Friedman’s macho head games.

  6. So why haven’t China and the E.U. said these things? “Like that girl with the brussels sprouts,” Mr. Mandelbaum said, “the Chinese and the Europeans are all for combating nuclear proliferation – just not enough actually to do something about it.”

    Wow, that’s first rate genius right there, perfesser.


  7. Friedman gets paid for writing sentences like that? Suddenly, I don’t feel like so much of a hack.

  8. Brussel sprouts are good sauteed with butter and sprinkled with bacon.

  9. I think it’s obvious that Matt has stumbled on the greatest conspiracy of the era. I mean, Mandelbaum wears glasses, Friedman doesn’t. They’ve never been photographed together, either. Can it be that Friedman, the mysterious neo-con hero with the ability to cloud the minds of men is in actuality John Hopkins Sovietologist and man about town Michael Mandelbaum? Why, my tinfoil hat is pinging in anticipation just thinking about it.

  10. Game, set, match – Mr. Welch. Well-played, sir.

    Oh, and fucking gravel is good sprinkled with bacon.

  11. Brussels srouts are vile – and I never had any qualms over telling anyone about it.

  12. “We’re talking nuclear dominoes.”

    You see? You see! He wrote it! I knew he would. It’s all about the dominoes people, and makin’ ’em float.

    …Unless it’s not. Like if China and Europe don’t give a damn about dominoes. Then there’s nothin’ Friedman can do! When North Korea and Iran become a nuclear threat, it’ll all be Europe and China’s fault!

    Because if Europe and China won’t play dominoes, then there’s nothing we can do. Right?

    P.S. What would we do without our healthy trade relationship with China? How do we go about getting a trade relationship with Iran–real fast?

  13. Brussels sprouts are awesome if you roast them (20-30 minutes 400F) rather than boil them.

  14. Brussel sprouts are never awesome. Except in the compost.

  15. Brussel sprouts have to be very fresh to be palatable. When they are fresh they have an almost sweet taste like cabbage, but once they go stale forget it, that funky taste that everyone knows and hates brussel sprouts for gets stronger as the sprout gets older.

  16. I think they play mah-jong in China and the Far East.

  17. Brussels sprouts are best for throwing.

  18. Lame metaphor aside, I thought it was a good column. The important point is that China has more power over N Korea than it’s using, while we do not. Anyone have any evidence, or even theoretical reasoning, to the contrary?

  19. I have to take a stand on this thread. However controversial. I am not afraid to stand up for unpopular viewpoints. I am a libertarian.

    Pro-brussel sprouts here!

    But they have to be fresh, and not strong-tasting.

    One recipe: Cut a bunch of ’em in half, and place them cut-side-up on a baking sheet. Drizzle ’em with melted butter (or oil) and a little salt and pepper. Bake at 400F for about 15-20 minutes. If you catch ’em right, they’ll just start to turn a little crispy on the outside, like some kind of flaky, if somewhat brussel-sprouts-flavored, pastry.

    Usually I just steam them in a pot with some water at the bottom, though. WARNING, from personal experience: If you ever go over to your cousin Mike’s house to grill steaks for dinner and drink beer, and you decide to steam some brussel sprouts because they are the favorite vegetable of both of you, DO NOT sit outside by the grill and drink beers and talk and forget all about the brussel sprouts until all the water has boiled away and they start burning and fill your cousin’s house with the stinky stink of burning cabbage. Phew.

  20. “The important point is that China has more power over N Korea than it’s using, while we do not. Anyone have any evidence, or even theoretical reasoning, to the contrary?”

    …Um, I suppose I’m only speakin’ for myself here, but I don’t see how this is a good column. The important point seems to be that because we don’t have as much sway over North Korea and Iran as China and Europe do, we can’t do anything about a growing nuclear threat to the United States.

    Did he proclaim this painful let’s-sit-here-with-our-thumbs-in-our-asses strategy in the name of his pet theories? Don’t ask me; that’s a character question, and I don’t know the man.

    If Europe has some sway with the Iranians and they’re a potential nuclear threat, shouldn’t we be doing everything we can to get the alliance back to the state it was in before the Bush Administration trashed it?

    How ’bout trying to forge some direct ties with the Iranian government?

    (effeminate incredulity)…But they’re mullahs! They’re awful!(/effeminate incredulity)

    Does America (or Taiwan) have any greater defense against an increasingly militant mainland China than our thriving commercial ties?

    (effeminate incredulity)…Oh but the Chinese Government is terrible!(/effeminate incredulity)

    Talk of improving the lot of humanity everywhere is fascinating in theory, but when people start suggesting that there’s nothing that can be done about a rouge nuclear regime that threatens American securtiy, it’s time to cancel that show. And if serious people nod to Mr. Friedman as he publicly condones, nay champions blatant incompetence in the face of these security threats, it should frighten thinking Americans everywhere.

    not a good piece.

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