Tom Friedman has decided who he wants to see as the next Secretary of State: neoliberal Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Why? This why:
A big part of the job is negotiating. Well, anyone who has negotiated with the Chicago Teachers Union, as Duncan did when he was superintendent of the Chicago Public Schools before going to Washington, would find negotiating with the Russians and Chinese a day at the beach.
Tom isn't kidding, either:
Trust me, if you can cut such deals with Randi Weingarten, who is president of the American Federation of Teachers, you can do them with Vladimir Putin and Bibi Netanyahu.
To have a secretary of state who is one of the world’s leading authorities on education, well, everyone would want to talk to him.
At the same time, as our foreign budget shrinks, more and more of it will have to be converted from traditional grants to “Races to the Top,” which Duncan’s Education Department pioneered in U.S. school reform.
Indeed, if our foreign policy were a successful as Duncan's beloved "Race to the Top" the United States would be left without a friend in the world.
Finally, Friedman concludes:
So while we’re not likely to shift our secretary of education to secretary of state, let’s at least understand why it is not such a preposterous idea.
What's preposterous is Tom Friedman. And what's even more preposterous is that a great many people think him this nation's preëminent public intellectual. That should tell you something of the state of our public intellectuals.
Speaking of replacing people, perhaps Pinch Sulzberger should consider replacing Friedman with the next cabbie he runs across. That would be fitting.
ADDED: Scott Lemieux: "...at least go all the way and nominate Michelle Rhee for Attorney General too."