Tom Friedman is really pissed off that people around the world take a dim view of the United States even though despite our flaws our government is less repressive than China's and we've had a much more constructive policy toward Zimbabwe than has South Africa. One wonders if he really doesn't understand this, but it's the hegemony, stupid. America has long sought to play a global leadership role, and under Bush has sought to play this role almost exclusively through methods of coercive domination. Under those circumstances of course America's sins and flaws look exaggerated. We can write self-congratulatory newspaper columns whining about this, or else we can try to put our policies and our position in the geopolitical structure on a more sustainable basis.
Somehow, I don't think the whining option is going to do anyone much good. Greenwald has more on this that's valuable.