[NYT] Friedman's Foreign Policy Bookies

Rohit Khare (khare@www10.w3.org)
Wed, 29 Jan 1997 11:39:09 -0500

Man, he's barely a year into his new slot as the NYT's foreign policy
columnist, but I love the guy. He's very with-it, up on the influence of
bonds, networks, and Asia. Definitely a counterpoint to all that old-mode
timid foriegn policy thinking in DC.

This column is a real gem. Shows how journalism can,. and has changed for
the better in parts.




January 29, 1997


Step Right Up

In the hype before the Super Bowl, The A.P. ran an article about "crazy betting." Las Vegas was not only giving odds on whether Green Bay would beat New England but whether Shaquille O'Neal would grab more rebounds th= at day than the Patriots would score points, or whether Brett Favre in the Super Bowl would have more passing yards than Tiger Woods would have strokes in the Phoenix Open. Now that the Super Bowl is behind us, Las Vegas will surely be looking for even crazier bets. I say bring foreign policy to Vegas. Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets:=20

=95 Which will end first, the designated hitter rule in the American Leag= ue or the American embargo on Cuba? Take the embargo. American League owners are even more pig-headed than Fidel Castro.=20

=95 Who will have to give back more money this year, the Democratic Natio= nal Committee or Dennis Rodman? This will be close. They are both around $1.2 million already. But go with the D.N.C. It has even more weird stuff in i= ts closet than Rodman.=20

=95 Will President Hafez al-Assad of Syria lecture the new Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, about the history of Syria at their first meeting in Damascus longer than the longest Major League Baseball game on record? Take Assad. The longest game is 8 hours 6 minutes, but Assad's season-average lecture is 9 hours 38 minutes.=20

=95 Michael Jordan will average more points per game this season (He's currently at 30) than Bill Clinton will have votes in the Senate in favor of NATO expansion. Take Jordan. Even in an off year he'll outscore NATO.=20

=95 The Jamaican bobsled team will win an Olympic gold medal before Japan will deregulate its economy. A no-brainer -- take the Jamaicans.=20

=95 The U.S. will send troops to intervene in more new hot spots this yea= r than N.F.L. owners will move their franchises to new cities during this off-season. Take the N.F.L. owners. They're greedy, Clinton's cautious.=20

=95 Bibi Netanyahu will call Yasir Arafat either "my friend" or "my partn= er" more times this year than the number of times Sandy Koufax pitched on Yom Kippur. This bet's interesting. Koufax never pitched on Yom Kippur, so ev= en one endearment from Bibi to Yasir wins a jackpot.=20

=95 Which will be greater: the number of foreign-policy initiatives in th= e State of the Union speech or the number of American League pitchers who will win 20 games this year? A tough one. The answer on the State of the Union is likely to be zero or one, at best, but only two A.L. pitchers go= t 20 wins last season. Take the pitchers.=20

=95 Which will happen first: Bobby Jones will win another Grand Slam golf tournament, or France will get its wish to take over NATO's crucial Southern Command? Bet on Bobby Jones. He's been dead 25 years, but he'll still beat the French.=20

=95 Which will end first: the honeymoon between George Steinbrenner and J= oe Torre or the one between Jesse Helms and Madeleine Albright? Since he won= a World Series, Torre's probably good until the Fourth of July. Jesse's not that patient. Pick Albright and Helms.=20

=95 A trifecta: The L.A. Dodgers pitcher Hideo Nomo will have a lower E.R= .A. this year than double the German mark-U.S. dollar exchange rate, he will record more strikeouts than double the yen-dollar exchange rate and he wi= ll give up fewer walks per game than Japan's deficit-to-G.D.P. ratio. This one's too close to call. Nomo's E.R.A. last year was 3.19 and the double mark is now 3.28; he struck out 234 batters and the double yen is now 238= , and he gave up 2.6 walks per game and Japan's G.D.P. ratio is projected t= o be exactly 2.6 percent this year.=20

=95 Dennis Rodman will un-dye his hair, remove his nose ring and become spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America before Japan will deregulate its economy. Take Rodman.=20

=95 Whose playing career will last longer: Cal Ripken's or Saddam Hussein= 's? Take Saddam, even if you have to give some points.=20

=95 U.S. troops will still be in Bosnia after Toni Kukoc (a Croat) and Vl= ade Divac (a Serb) have both retired from the N.B.A. and returned home to the former Yugoslavia. Bet on U.S. troops still in Bosnia.=20

=95 Hillary Rodham Clinton will make a three-point basket from center cou= rt at an Arkansas game -- blindfolded -- before Japan will deregulate its economy. Take Hillary.=20