What are the issues? Who can (will) solve them?

“What If?” by Thomas L. Friedman of The New York Times. Published on January 20, 2016.

Thomas L. Friedman’s article, “What If? (2016),” asserts that it is important for the presidential candidates to answer the questions of today’s pressing issues before the time runs out. Friedman uses statistical support, secondary information, quotations, and questions to point out all of the problems in the world. Friedman uses all of this support to instill his concern of these issues to the reader and most importantly, prospective leaders who desire to be the President of the United States. While the audience consists prominently of average newspaper readers, Friedman talks directly to the radical presidential candidates.

This article takes on a more anxious and dramatic tone than the others that I have reported with my blog. Friedman begins his post by describing his anger that ensues whenever he is asked about the issues currently circulating around the world, especially globalization. After this introductory moment of reflection, he directly asks the reader, “What if a bunch of eras are ending all at once?” This single question causes the reader to begin feeling anxiety in the realm of politics. Paragraph by paragraph, Friedman uses his now-famous use of questions to introduce his anxieties on chronic issues. He first refers to the impact of the United States’s lowering of debt on China’s growth. Will the growth turn into shrinkage? Friedman’s questions regarding the possible dissolution of the EU and loss of labor in old Soviet states are then used to relay his concern for whether a radical presidential candidate will solve them. The accumulating style of the questions forces the reader to leave the post feeling anxious and the sense of responsibility to look carefully during election season.


Mr. Friedman,

Honestly, I would enjoy discussing globalization and other issues with you at a dinner party. It would be both morally and intellectually beneficial for us to discuss these issues as I am now concerned about them! Do you believe that a more moderate candidate has a better potential to combat these issues efficiently?


4 thoughts on “What are the issues? Who can (will) solve them?

  1. Harrison,

    I agree Friedman argues that presidential candidates need to address the most pressing issues. His support really strengthens his argument. I applaud you for noting the tone shifts throughout the article as it struck me as important as well. Do you agree with Friedman?



  2. Hi Harrison,
    I think we are on the verge of a simultaneous political and economic shift. Both Democrats and Republicans (especially) are becoming caricatures of themselves. People seem to be quite disgusted with professional politicians, allowing radical candidates like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump to rise to prominence. This election will hopefully steer America into a direction that will alleviate our anxieties of the future. This economic system may be falling apart, but it would be quite extreme to suggest that humans will never adapt or find another functional system.


  3. Harrison,
    Reading this article did make me sort of anxious. It sort of makes you feel like time is running out. This piece of writing by Friedman is definitely very opinion-driven. However, he does write in such a way that makes you feel like he is right.


  4. I’m caught between hoping that it’s not as hopeless as he makes it seem and admitting that we’re on the precipice of some great change. I really don’t know where this will all go, and I’m really hoping we get it right with our next President. Who do you think is the best candidate?


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