In The World is Flat, what three things does Friedman say the US was preoccupied with while the world flattened?

In the World is Flat, Thomas Friedman says that the threat of terrorism caused the American government to divert its attention from globalization. He calls this the "triple convergence," because it includes 9/11, the dot-com bust and Enron scandal.

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Friedman calls these three things the "triple convergence," which acts as a smoke screen to obscure us from seeing what is unfolding in front of our eyes.

The first thing is the "dot-com bust" of 2001, which caused people to make the false assumption that globalization was ending. Friedman argues that the dot-com bust actually boosted globalization because it made companies outsource in order to save money.

The second thing is the occurrence of 9/11, the day the Twin Towers fell and America experienced an act of terrorism on its own soil. Friedman calls 9/11 a "profound shock to the American body politic" that causes a "fog of war and the chatter of cable television" to divert our attention.

Lastly, the third thing is the Enron scandal, which led to several more "big business" downfalls as companies were outed for shady accounting and the American public became increasingly distrustful of Wall Street.

Friedman sums up the "triple convergence" with these words:

At the precise moment when the world was being flattened, and the triple convergence was reshaping the whole global business environment—requiring some very important adjustments in our own society and that of many other Western developed nations—American politicians not only were not educating the American public, they were actively working to make it stupid.

Put differently, Friedman says that America was unaware of the "leveling of the playing field" (the "flat world") of the global market, with America losing its dominance because the triple convergence channeled our national attention elsewhere.

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