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December 24th, 2008
05:36 PM ET

Time to reboot America

Thomas L. Friedman
The New York Times

I had a bad day last Friday, but it was an all-too-typical day for America.

It actually started well, on Kau Sai Chau, an island off Hong Kong, where I stood on a rocky hilltop overlooking the South China Sea and talked to my wife back in Maryland, static-free, using a friend’s Chinese cellphone. A few hours later, I took off from Hong Kong’s ultramodern airport after riding out there from downtown on a sleek high-speed train — with wireless connectivity that was so good I was able to surf the Web the whole way on my laptop.

Landing at Kennedy Airport from Hong Kong was, as I’ve argued before, like going from the Jetsons to the Flintstones. The ugly, low-ceilinged arrival hall was cramped, and using a luggage cart cost $3. (Couldn’t we at least supply foreign visitors with a free luggage cart, like other major airports in the world?) As I looked around at this dingy room, it reminded of somewhere I had been before. Then I remembered: It was the luggage hall in the old Hong Kong Kai Tak Airport. It closed in 1998.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Economy • Raw Politics • Thomas Friedman
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. joseph

    The Chinese can invest heavily in infrastructure because communism lets a small group control the country's direction. But we must remember China has its dark side also. Throwing money is a long-term solution but will only be effective if subsequent administrations from local townships to the Congress continuously support such programs.

    December 25, 2008 at 11:21 am |
  2. AlanB

    Would it be too much to ask this Christmas season that this "reboot" include ending the state-supported religious discrimination that has fueled the gay rights backlash for a generation?

    All I want for Christmas is my right to marry back.

    December 24, 2008 at 11:21 pm |
  3. Annie Kate

    I didn't know there were places like what you described – where cell phone calls don't drop or break up, where you have trains to ride instead of everyone in their own car, and where you have wireless Internet (good wireless Internet) everywhere you are. I thought everyone paid over-inflated prices for crappy cell phone service; paid through the nose to put gas in their car so they could get to work or wherever they needed to go, and paid even more money for Internet access. After all, we are suppose to be the most advanced country on the globe. Seems like our belief in our superiority has made us complacent and lazy and willing to put up at high prices with mediocre goods and services. And we are looking to one man – Obama – to dig us out of the ditch we are in. Hopefully, Obama can inspire us all to get out of the ditch on our own and work to be that superior country we have always believed we are.

    December 24, 2008 at 9:40 pm |
  4. ZOLICON

    TIME TO REBOOT AMERICA YEAH! WELL AMERICA IS GOING TO GET THE BOOT ALRIGHT, BUT IT IS GOING TO BE A BOOT THAT AMERICA DOES NOT WANT. THIS BOOT IS GOING TO HURT AND IT IS GOING TO HURT AND HURT BAD. THIS GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS IS GOING TO DO A LOT MORE DAMAGE THAN PEOPLE REALIZE JUST WAIT AND SEE. ZOLICON

    December 24, 2008 at 8:57 pm |
  5. E Prat

    All the money is gone. Looted. Stolen by our corporate version of pirates.

    December 24, 2008 at 8:46 pm |