NPR's Morning Edition seemed very excited today that Cinnabon had opened a branch in Tripoli, Libya. They didn't get all Thomas Friedman about it, but they didn't have to. The fact that it functioned as a symbol of "freedom" went without saying. Given, I guess, that Friedman had already commented on the food in Libya (Benghazi) back in May 2011, and told us: "The pizza, too, is respectable, especially at Pisa Pizza in Benghazi, where the pies are about a yard in diameter. Proof that Italian colonialism accomplished something after all." (Sarah Carr penned an unforgettable spoof of Friedman's piece here. Thanks for the reminder, John.)
Yesterday, CNN told us a bit more:
American business interest in Libya is growing, said Chuck Dittrich, executive director of the U.S.-Libya Business Association, a trade group representing American companies that are interested in doing business in Libya.
In April, the trade group led a delegation of 20 American companies to Libya to discuss business opportunities...
"In the new Libya, people are seeing franchising as an opportunity to become entrepreneurs," said Dittrich.
"This is one of the questions I get asked most," he said. "When are American franchises coming to Libya?"
Back in May 2003 (shortly after the Green Zone was up and running, under the supervision of the twenty-something apostles of neo-liberalism) the inimitable Zippy had this to say about what it would mean when Damascus finally had its Krispy Kreme outlet. (Thanks, Walid.)
It's pretty amazing that, despite all the evidence to the contrary, despite all the ridicule from the likes of Sarah Carr and her ilk, Friedman continues to promote his McDonald's Doctrine, according to which no two countries, once they have the Golden Arches, will ever go to war with each other (The Lexus and the Olive Tree).
I remember when the world changed, forever, when Krispy Kreme finally arrived here in Arkansas. Janet Huckabee, the wife of the gov, was present for the opening of the first franchise in Little Rock in February 2004. I'm pretty sure she was in Bentonville later that year for the Krispy Kreme opening there, and I think the cars lining up for the donuts were backed up all the way to I-540. But I can't find any articles on the internet. You'll just have to trust my memory.
In any case, just like the Tripolitans, we in Northwest Arkansas were really and truly glad to enter the flat world of freedom.