Here he is, this time in The Guardian, tracing in tedious detail the supply chains for the innards of his Dell laptop. All this huffing and puffing to make the point that "as countries got woven into the fabric of global trade and rising living standards, which having a network of McDonald's franchises [or Dell laptops - GP] had come to symbolise, the cost of war for victor and vanquished became prohibitively high."
Of course, earlier in the same extract, he writes: "The Golden Arches Theory stipulated that when a country reached the level of economic development where it had a middle class big enough to support a network of McDonald's, it became a McDonald's country. And people in McDonald's countries didn't like to fight wars any more. They preferred to wait in line for burgers."
His Golden Arches Theory is complete rubbish, of course, as the bombing of Mac eating Yugoslavs by NATO bombers in 1999 proved.
Let's recall this quote from an earlier Friedman book, The Lexus and the Olive Tree:
"The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the US Air Force F-15, and the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the US Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps."
And as the former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright asked Colin Powell when he proved to be a reluctant warrior in Gulf War I: "What’s the point of having this superb military you're always talking about if we can't use it?"
So remember what keeps the word safe for McDonald’s burgers and Dell Computers – the power to kill people now and then. According to Friedman’s logic, then, killing off your actual and/or potential customers is a great way to defend so-called “free market democracy” .
But also read this comment from Matt Taibbi,who seems to be even more allergic to Friedman than I am, and a great deal funnier to read than either Friedman or me.