Like the proverbial broken clock that’s right twice daily, even when Tom Friedman manages to come to the right conclusion, it’s for the wrong reasons.
His premise: Egyptian President Morsi’s trip to the Non-Aligned Movement confab in Tehran undermines the Iranian democracy movement and sanitizes their odious regime.
Excuse me, President Morsi, but there is only one reason the Iranian regime wants to hold the meeting in Tehran and have heads of state like you attend, and that is to signal to Iran’s people that the world approves of their country’s clerical leadership and therefore they should never, ever, ever again think about launching a democracy movement — the exact same kind of democracy movement that brought you, Mr. Morsi, to power in Egypt.
Left unanswered: On what evidence does Tom Friedman base his assumption that President Morsi cares? There is nothing to support the claim that the Muslim Brotherhood is interested in anything but a dictatorial theocracy. And, for the bazillionth time, holding an election (also participating in an election and/or winning an election) does not make a country or a party democratic. Only the existence of thriving institutions that support democracy – an educated populace, a free press, an independent judiciary whose rulings are respected, etc. – can do that. And Egypt has no such institutions. They have the army…but President Morsi just took over that institution.
Here’s a perfect example of the problem with Tom Friedman and others who approach foreign and defense policy as he does. He assumes all people everywhere have the same basic (i.e. Western) values and that we can always arrive at positive-sum solutions to problems if only we’d put our heads together in good faith. How great would that be if it were true?
Too bad it’s not true.
So here’s the CliffsNotes version – for Tom Friedman and others – of “Why President Morsi is Going to Tehran”: because he wants good relations with the nations in attendance, doesn’t give a damn about the Iranian democracy movement any more than he cared about the one that got rid of Mubarak in Egypt, and knows that “elites” like Tom Friedman will forgive him immediately if he mouths a few condescending words about liberty… preferably in English.