Morsi’s Wrong Turn

The new president of Egypt should understand that his visit to Tehran is helping the Iranian regime.

Comments: 152

  1. No, you need to remember that Egypt and Morsi are the outgoing chair of the Non Aligned Movement of over 120 nations plus observers, and Iran/Ahmadinejad are the incoming chair. It is a formal handover of leadership of two thirds of the world. Of course he had to go. The Secretary General went for the same reason, as has every SecGen since 1961.

    Current disputes between non-member nations and the new chair are no reason to disrespect the organization, certainly not by its leadership.

    Your attitude is remarkably narrow minded. There are other nations in the world with their own priorities.

  2. America supports theocratic royal authoritarian rule in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Oatar, U.A.E.,Morocco and Bahrain.

    In Bahrain America supports a Sunni Mulsim minority ruling over a Shia Muslim majority. Much like it did when Saddam Hussein was an American ally and friend.

    America supports Arab, Turkish and Persian rule over the Kurds.

    Friedman ignores 1948 and 1967. Friedman ignores "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine" Illan Pappe and "Israel's Fading Democracy" Avaraham Burg NYT 8/4/12 and "The Crisis of Zionism" Peter Beinhart.

    Friedman ignores the Arab, Turkish and Iranian street.

  3. All the more reason to not go! Given your history, stating that "every SecGen since 1961" has gone, wouldn't it be a loud statement that would be made by not going? It would also open the world's eyes to the nonsense it will be when Iran is the new SecGen!

    After all, if every SecGen goes, Morsi could demonstrate how awful Iran's behavior must be that he can't in good conscience go. Tehran doesn't get the boost, the non-aligned movement hears a strong message, and Iran's attempt to use this visit as propaganda is thwarted. It sounds pretty good to me!

    Tom Friedman's comments bring to mind how quickly we all forget Iran killing its own people and thwarting a democratic election, while imprisoning peaceful protestors. Don't you think commenting on that by not going would show the non-aligned countries what happens when you kill your own people?

    Finally, given Morsi was elected in a new and developing Democracy, shouldn't he be especially careful in choosing to go, when his visit helps the regime that is currently thwarting the democracy movement in Iran?

  4. The best thing Morsi can do for Iranian democratic forces is to get democracy working in Egypt. Making John-Bolton-style diplomatic moves towards Iran would be counterproductive.

  5. This is vintage Friedman. How can anyone who even has a rudimentary understanding of what goes on in the Middle East be surprised by Mr. Morsi's trip to Iran? Mr. Morsi comes out of the tradition of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has its origins in disgust with western and especially American culture. So Iran is a natural ally in this regard.
    Of course everyone knows that Iran is hosting this "non-aligned" meeting to further its own ends. But, believe it or not, Mr. Friedman, Mr Morsi has a set of priorities which are very different from those of the US and the Wast (surprise !!!).
    Given the power of the military in Egypt, and assuming the recent developments in Egypt narrowing the power and influence of the military are not "staged", one has to give Mr. Morsi credit for being gutsy. For the first time in many generations, a civilian leader in Egypt has the courage to stand up to the military!
    I am not a fan of Islamic fundamentalist influence in government, but let's give Mr. Morsi a chance - given the long dismal history of US backed governments in Egypt in terms of fostering democracy and economic improvement for the masses (supposedly a US "priority"), Mr. Morsi is making a good start.

  6. The President is Dr Morsi, Ph.D. (USC-Eng'g) and former professor at CalState (CSU) Northridge.

    I agree. He is plenty old enough and smart enough to make his own decisions.He is now the leader of one of the keystone civilizations going to met briefly with the leaders of other keystone civilizations. And, suddenly we're the punk bullies on the block determining what is 'appropriate'??

    Who knows? He may end up saving thousands of lives in Syria. And, we may never know. Certainly better than we are doing.

  7. I agree that Mr. Morsi's trip to Iran is not surprising and am not at all surprised that he has his own set of priorities. I also agree that US backed governments in Egypt have not succeeded very well in fostering democracy. "Democracy" has come to Egypt in that the elective process was used to place the current regime in power. Now we can watch democracy there go in the same direction as "democracy" under Hamas in Gaza - increasingly harsh suppression of opposition, abridgement of freedom of speech and press, suppression of minority rights. It's certainly admirable that Morsi stood up to the military, but once he has established control of the military - look out (oh yes, perhaps I'm oversensitive since I live in Israel!). I really don't see how Mr. Morsi is "making a good start" - sorry.

  8. Long before the US was a major geopolitical player (1928-), the MB already had it’s outlooks and agendas set.

    MB founder Hassan al-Banna stated: “The MB goal is to reclaim Islam’s manifest destiny, an empire, stretching from Spain to Indonesia.”

    The MB also disseminated Hitler's Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion widely in Arab translations, helping to deepen and extend already existing hostile views about Jews and Western societies generally.

    It’s noteworthy that Morsi spent aprox years in the US earning his PhD, in an institute of Western higher learning (USC) via Western-centric educational formats and Western-centric methodology.

    He apparently was able to handle his disgust with it all, and even managed to sire 2 children while in CA. Rather hypocritical.

    Not surprising though.

    Qutb, a strong supporter of the Brotherhood wrote in his 1963 book: “It is necessary for the new [Islamic] leadership to preserve and develop the material fruits of the *creative genius of Europe* (read Western-centric science, technology, weaponry, etc), and also to *provide mankind* with such high ideals and values as have so far remained undiscovered by mankind, and which will also acquaint humanity with a way of life which is harmonious with human nature, which is positive and constructive, and which is practicable. *Islam is the only System* which possesses these values and this way of life.”

    *Islam is the only System* is MB's Morsi's agenda. "Good start" indeed.

  9. What's wrong if, the Egyptian president Morsi decides to make his maiden foreign visit to Iran to attend the NAM summit, or for that matter, even China, instead of Europe, America or Asia? Isn't Iran a member of the global comity of sovereign nations? How Morsi's visit to Iran would be more objectionable than Obama's extending of friendly hands to Iran two years ago? If the Morsi visit to Iran amounts to bestowing legitimacy to the Iranian Islamic rulers or the Egypt like Pharaohs, so could have been the case with Obama's earlier engagement with Iran also, and who knows the US might do the same anytime in future.
    Secondly, if someone views the world as flat, it never affects the scientific-astronomical reality of a round world. So is with the notion of democracy, that allows diversity of its forms and functioning styles. You just can't have one universal model of democracy, nor a uni-linear progression of its path across all the societies. Thus, we have one set of democratic forms in America and Europe-the Anglo-Saxon model, another in Asia, Latin America or Africa ( with varied mixture of elements of Western democracy and the native features), so is with Egypt or Iran, where the religion forms an essential component of democratic governance. Why do we insist that all the nations follow the Western trajectory? For, what matters is popular consent, be it democracy or the legitimacy of rule. That way, both Egypt and Iran are legitimate democracies, whether West likes it or not.

  10. But isn't that exactly the point, professor? Iran does allows neither popular consent or popular dissent. No one, with the exception of neoconservatives in the United States, would argue that all nations must follow the Western model of democratic government, but Iran fails on even the most basic level the test of whether it's government is or is not democratic. By your definition, the Soviet Union of the 1930s was "democratic".

  11. At what point does variations in democracies become something other than a democracy? When a countries leaders crush the freedom of its people and do not allow them to have a say in their society, it is no longer a democracy.

    I can understand someone opposing Mr. Friedman's view that President Morsi's visit to Iran was a bad decision and allows Iran to gain credibility that it does not deserve. On the other hand, talking to a power in your region of the world is better than fighting with them. Perhaps President Morsi can make better progress with Iran than we can.

    If Iran uses nuclear weapons against Iran there will be a direct impact on Egypt and the rest of the region. The President of Egypt has a right and a duty to do what is best for the citizens of Egypt. http://www.freeourfreemarkets.org/2012/06/egypt-and-freedom.html

  12. Phil, Whether Iran is democracy, guided democracy or theocracy, the question be better left to the Iranian people to settle. The West inspired Green party movement or similar manufactured uprisings simply help the ruling class to consolidate itself and retaliate. Why we don't bring many other nations, similarly placed, like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain or even Iraq under our scanner, just because they happen to be convenient to the US or the West?

  13. The 'non-aligned' were aligned, most of the time, against this country during the cold war. Now they are completely irrelevant, since the world is no longer divided among nations aligned with Soviet Union or the USA.

    The only aligment one can detect is that against the State of Israel and even that is kind of confusing. The only country truly ALIGNED with Israel is USA, (all of us, whether we like it or not and many of us do not like it at all). It is hard to tell whether Muslim world nominally aligned against Israel is really aligned to to point to wage another war against Israel and almost certainlhy lose or just likes to pay a lip service to the Prophet who may be enjoying his life in Paradise sharing his place with Jesus Christ and a bunch of other otherwordly dignitaries.

    Of course, Iran needs all support it can get, preferably in the form of violations of sanctions imposed by the UN.

    Morsi has to thread carefully. He, apparently defeated some generals but is he in real control? I have no idea. This trip - as descpicable it may be, Friedman is right on thae - may help him in Egypt in his fight with the generals.

    As usual, events in that part of the world are almost incomprehensible to us and even Mr. Friedman who has been wrong in his interpretations several times in the past.

    On the other hand, he has his credentials to fortify and this article may do this trick in certain circles.

  14. 1) NAM is not supposed to be against or with someone. The whole idea of NAM is to be a collection of sovereign nations without any ideological bias towards a particular ideological power or country. Be it communism, capitalism, democracy or authoritarianism. The very fact that you and others like minded scholars showing disregard to choices made by elected leader of certain country and trying to question their motives and actions shows the need for NAM.

    2) If your concern is about what message it sends to people of Iran, then let us examine leaders closer home before raising fingers at other countries. Why are western countries like US, UK etc, who are the biggest proponents of democracy still having any relations with China (Tiananmen Square protests of 1989), Kuwait, Bahrain, etc (Arab Spring of 2010-2011). These countries don't even have democracies and democratic protest in all were quashed with extreme violence.

    3) Let us be realistic, go beyond the ideological rhetoric and examine the plain fact that no nation in this world has an altruistic foreign policy. What Mr Morsi is doing is to do with what he perceives to be in the best interest of Egypt and Egypt alone.

    4) If you think Mr Moris's action or inaction will make an iota of difference to the democratic resolve of people of Iran or the authoritarian resolve of its leaders, then you are in desperate need of a"reality check". History has proved that a functioning democracy comes from within. Case in point EGYPT.

  15. There you go again, Mr. Friedman: looking at every action through the myopic prism of American foreign policy. Mr. Morsi's turn is wrong for America since it does not further isolate Iran. But it is not the wrong move for Egypt. I would expect something more than a jejune analysis of a new head of state making his first world tour.

  16. Not only is the article written in a rude and arrogant tone, it is full of fallacies and hypocrisy. Firstly, it claims that "hundreds" were gunned down in the 2009 Iranian protests while the highest estimate of the death toll was around 72. Mr Freidman's explanation of Iran's wish to host the non-aligned movement summit comes across as nothing more than senseless demonization than a rational explanations. Did it never occur to Mr Friedman that Iran is in fact not hated by the majority of the world? Does Mr Friedman not realize that other democratically elected heads of state will be at this summit? Mr Friedman thinks of Iran's approach to the Egyptian revolution in a highly simplistic manner that shows that he has no grasp of how Iran's foreign policy works; Instead, Mr Friedman views the situation through a black-and-white American perspective in which "Iran is Islamic and the enemy and Islamic Iran is opposed to all democracy and revolution anywhere". I am sure that Mr Friedman offered no objection to the African Union summit being held in Addis Ababa, under the purview of late Ethiopian strongman Meles Zenawi. (continued)

  17. For heaven's sake, does every ceremonial event involving Iran have to turn into some zero-sum game assessment of whether Iran is up-or-down in the estimation of the world?

    Egypt is the past chair of the NAM. Of course Morsi had to come. Iran's leadership is fortuitous. No machinations from Tehran caused this--it is a rotation. And guess what? The NAM is entirely positively disposed to Iran. The members know well that if Iran can be bullied by the U.S. and its allies, they can be bullied as well.

    The whole point of the NAM is to act independently from the great powers. If coming to a meeting in Iran makes the U.S. uncomfortable, well that is just too bad. These nations make their own independent determination of what is in their interests. To kowtow to Washington only makes them look weak to their own citizens and fellow NAM members, and defeats the entire purpose of the movement, not to mention the meeting itself.

    We should get over it, and accept the NAM events with a modicum of grace rather than pouty resentment.

  18. "The members know well that if Iran can be bullied by the U.S. and its allies, they can be bullied as well"

    Couldnt have said it better myself. GFood education for Mr. Friedman and Mr. Mandelbaum on how the world works.

  19. How do you feel when our leaders visit China and Russia? How did you feel when our leaders visited despotic and dictatorial regimes in Central America, for example? Before we define people as our enemies let's see if we can work with them. Having a line of communication to the leadership in Iran could come in handy in the future. Oh, I forgot, Isreal is going to eliminate that threat before the elections, so no need to worry.

  20. You're right. Morsi could be very useful for talks with iran and also between Syrians because he has aleready links with its opposition and its government. And his project of joining Saudis Turks and Iranians to solve the Syrian crisis could be good for peace and democracy in that country

  21. So,only Morsi is to blame, even though 120 other nations are also attending,many of them represented by their respective heads of state and government(including Tom's beloved India), in addition to the UN secretary general? Every country in the world, including US allies such as EU nations and outright enemies of Iran such as Saudi Arabia maintain diplomatic ties with that country, with only the US,Israel and Egypt refusing to do so.There is nothing wrong with Egypt wanting to join the rest of the world and leaving that auspicious group. Egypt is handing over the NAM leadership,respectfully, just as it was handed to it respectfully. Furthermore, the cheap shots at the NAM, that have always been expressed by the media but have now only intensified because Iran is hosting the summit, is typical of those with an imperial mindset. As for China (which apparently isn't part of the Asia that Friedman wants Morsi to tour), when the US pays back its 1 trillion dollar debt to the People's Republic, then it can lecture other nations about being too friendly with such an autocratic regime.Morsi has not done anything that other democratic leaders in the world haven't done already.

  22. Good piece.

    But, then, when Morsi got in, even by a majority vote, didn't we really expect this? Not for nothing is the Islamic way characterized famously as "one man, one vote, once".

    His obvious support of Khamenei (Grand Ayatollah and Supreme Leader of Iran), far more than I'm-a-Dinner-Jacket, is clear indication of what's coming in Egypt. It could take a year, it could take a decade: but it will come. The Islamic Brotherhood will promulgate legislation that institutionalizes its permanent hold on power, and opposition voices will become few and restrained. And, then, like Iran and Saudi Arabia, girls and boys will receive lashes for the crime of kissing in public.

    And Islamists complain that we favor Israel over them, as if we even understand them.

  23. "Not for nothing is the Islamic way characterized famously as "one man, one vote, once"."

    There is a loud group who keep saying this, but it has yet to be proven. No Muslim nation that has had a democratic revolution has ever failed to have continuing elections, and for most of them the first elections are still happening.

    In those Islamic nations which have had an opportunity for further elections, all have held them: Turkey, Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia, etc., and we have supported those elections, as for example we were the champions of the winner of the last Pakistani elections.

    This is a propaganda claim of those who oppose all things Islamic. We know who they are. It has yet to be proven anywhere, even once.

  24. America is deeply implicated in the monsters in charge of Iran, Egypt and Israel.

    Jim Crow America was present at the creation of the Zionist Jewish "democracy"Israel along with the European empires, apartheid South Africa and the Vatican. Ethnic theocracies are not the liberal secular democracies reflective of American values and interest. Second class citizenship for Israeli Arabs and no unalienable Creator rights for Palestinians under occupation,blockade and siege.

    Egypt was a secular military dictatorship that was an American stooge and an Israeli door mat until the Arab Spring. The lead 9/11 hijacker was an Egyptian as is al Qaeda number one. The Muslim Brotherhood and it's Islamic focus was the only sustained opposition despite being banned.

    Iran was the victim of an American coup against it's demcratically elected government. A coup that put the dictator Shah in power until the Iranian Spring of 1979. And this led to American support for Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran that killed a million Iranians. The U.S. Navy shot down a civilian airplane killing nearly 300. America declared Iran part of an axis of evil then invaded and occupied it's neighbors Iraq and Afghanistan. America is making cyber war against Iran while Iranian civlian scientists are being murdered.

    A nuclear Iran would stabilize things in this region. See Kenneth Waltz "Why Iran Should Get The Bomb" Foreign Affairs July/August 2012.

    Also no nukes and a one state secular liberal democracy.

  25. Can you please comment the Israeli government's nonstop sabre-rattling and acts of war against the nations in her neighborhood? Nothing to say on the subject? Shocking.

  26. One needs to learn that making a visit to Iran does not mean agreeing with the political regime that exists there. If it is so Tom, then it would be like saying you visiting Israel agree with the atrocities that are committed daily by the Israeli forces in the West Bank and Gaza . And i think you dont?

  27. While I respect the desire for freedom and democracy by Iranians, perhaps, like Egypt's quest for freedom, it should come from within. It is time that the major powers of the Middle East, Egypt, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia work together to diffuse the major issues of the region, including the war in Syria and the increasingly sectarian politics that divide Shiites and Sunnis, and finally Israel's occupation of Palestine.

    President Morsi of Egypt is, hopefully, leading the way to a more stable Middle East where the Arab world under the leadership of Egypt and Saudi Arabia works with Turkey and Iran for a more prosperous region. We have already tried the way of the West and it has led to nothing but destabilization and conflict.

    As an Arab, I would be the first to support the right of Iranians to full democracy and freedom, but until then, Dr. Morsi should work with all governments in the region for a peaceful and prosperous Middle East. If the Iranians are truly sick of their government, let them rise up, their leaders cannot be worse than Assad and Qaddafi.

  28. The Iranians already did rise from within and hundreds were killed, thousands jailed, as in Egypt. Candidates not to the liking of the ruling Mullahs were jailed. Read the article before sanitizing the situation

  29. American history books will record that the Arab Awakening happened early in the second decade of the new millennium, only to be followed by the Rude Awakening in America.

  30. mr. Friedman,
    you seem to think you know know everything about the Middle East and Israel. you tell them to give land for peace and now you write about Morsi like he would listen to you. one doesn't let someone move next door when they tell you they will kill every Jew in Israel as they take it over. and Morsi, don't worry about Morsi going anywhere as his intentions now that he so many millions of people are to attack and take out Israel. you are so out of line telling Israel what to do, it is amazing that you being Jewish would advise Israel to go back to the showers as they did in WW2. but then again, you probably don't even know about it or you were too young. for if you did know, you wouldn't be advising Israel to go to her death. save your advise for our real enemies.

  31. Putrid stuff from a puerile man. "Open for business" means we're gonna steal your resources, give you democracy (Amerikan-style, of course, which means a police state) and torture and kill your citizens.

  32. I suspect the one-billion person Moslem world is going to start marching to its own internally generated dynamics. This is a part of the world that is trying to get away from the problems of over a century of Western imperialism (however you want to call it). Possibly all this talk about democracy is a century premature?

  33. He needs to remember that in the absence Of western tourists and western aid his country is flat broke, and has to buy grain on the world market. The Saudis floated him for a few months, but he just thinks having to take Obama's calls is a bad deal. If Egypt has anything the Chinese want to buy I would very much like to know what it is. The Iranian's can't even keep Assad afloat.

  34. The Chinese have a lot of money to give and a lot of tourists. And if he is able to keep his own people quiet the Western tourists will come even if he is friendly with Iran, something that is very far away for the moment.

  35. He needs to remember that in the absence Of western tourists and western aid his country is flat broke, and has to buy grain on the world market. The Saudis floated him for a few months, but he just thinks having to take Obama's calls is a bad deal. If Egypt has anything the Chinese want to buy I would very much like to know what it is. The Iranian's can't even keep Assad afloat.

  36. the Egyptians have the Suez canal, a coast on the Mediterranean and the largest and strongest Arab country. I am sure that the Chinese would love to pay a lot for that, especially for having a revenge for what has been done to them in Libya. Don't forget they have a lot of dollars to spend and need a lot of new customers.

  37. I concur with Mark Thomason's comment. Why not preach against the UN Secretary General? There's another element you are missing - Morsi's policies will not be dictated by Western powers. Certainly not in front of the whole world. Nor by you, Mr. Friedman. Why don't you make the point that Egypt has not changed its diplomatic status with Iran? It's a little more complex than you imply. Interesting to note that Hamas, though invited, is not going because it recognizes the need for a united Palestinian stance.

  38. There's more to it than a US perspective. By it's nature, the NAM doesn't concern itself with whether the US or our friends and allies approve. At this point, the NAM is more about the haves and have nots in a world dominated by OECD and the P-5. The edges of the movement are fraying as members come of age. It's numbers will decrease over time, but it's not about old Cold War non-alignments any longer it's about "the other side of the tracks" in economic and geopolitical strategy.

  39. You got to be kidding me, Mr. "The world is flat", it is time we as a nation learn to respect other civilizations and other countries/people and resist our condescending attitudes towards others, it only begets scorn.
    As much as we tried President Morsi and Sec Gen of UN not to go to meet with countries that represent 2/3rd of the world and saner minds prevailed.
    It has nothing to do with the nuclear issue with Iran, it has every thing to do with the changing of alignment of interest of middle eastern countries and the Non-Aligned Movement.
    Instead of smarting from people not doing what we want them to do, we need to put our priorities in order. Israel and its support is costing us very dearly in the world, which is as you put it,"FLAT". It is time we start looking out for US interest and put AMERICA FIRST.

  40. The "aligned nations" are the ones that do what the US tells them to. When Secretary of State Clinton calls the governments of Britain, Sweden, most of Europe, etc and says "Jump!" they answer "How high?".

    So the non-aligned nations are the rest. I'd have thought that was pretty obvious.

    I'll take your word for it that "Tehran’s notorious Evin prison" is a disgrace to the country that operates it. But as a citizen of the country that brought the world Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo, you are in no position to adopt a high moral tone.

    (By the way, there are still more than 160 people detained by the US in Guantánamo, many of whom have been tortured, and most of whom have not been charged with any crime.)

  41. Morsi's actions speak of one course, but his words may speak of another. He could easily use the NAM forum as a means of promoting democracy and change in the Middle East, should he so choose. By winning the Egyptian elections and then deftly neutralizing the ruling military council Morsi has already dealt himself a strong hand as a true leader within the Arab world. The question is which way will he turn - to real democratic reform or to Islamicism and Sharia law? If he's the former, then he could use the NAM to establish himself as the next generation of Arab leaders that are evolving away from the use of force or religion to suppress the people (and show how different he is from his Iranian hosts...). On the other hand, he may be beholden to Brotherhood ideologies and, thus, steer a course more commensurate with those - to the chagrin of many of his countrymen. My guess is that he is playing it safe at this point and won't seek to make enemies before he makes friends...he will play nice to all in the beginning in order to help solidify his control over Egypt. He will be much more like Erdogan and less like Ahmedinajad at any rate, at least for now.

  42. I would not be surprised if Morsi will support Iran for having nuclear weapons to destory Israel. Then again, Iran does have a long history of supporting and funding all groups that are of the Muslim Brotherhood especially those such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Now, I take it that Thomas is starting to look down at someone who he once supported in the new Egyptian government that he thought was going to bring a good change, but now just the exact opposite. Let's not forget that just like Iran in 1979, that it was Muslim extremists that lead to the overthrowing of Mubarak just to rule Egypt themselves. This is no democratic movement, it is nothing more than a coup to change from one regime to another. Of course, he will probably agree with what Ahmadinejad had said about Israel being the Zionist Regime, which his group does believe, as well as helping him wipe it off the map. The main problem for Egypt and many other countries in the region that had faced the Arab Spring is that they are used to authoritarian governments. Even if they could become democracies, which I do support, the problem is how do you make them so that such groups, regimes, or even dictators can't dominate and corrupt the system that will just eventually lead to another coup in the future. My suggestion is to work a check and balance system that all true democracies have so that none of that would happen. Without having this in their government, it will just be seen as another regime change for Egypt.

  43. I know that Mr. Friedman relishes his role as cheerleader for all those who lead their lives with a view to the utopian future that he envisages (if only we'd all listen to his advice), but seriously, that isn't the world that the Muslim Brotherhood is interested in inhabiting. There is probably no love lost between the Iranian clerics and Mr. Morsi, but it is the same clientele, generally speaking, that they wish to engage. Not secular democrats, not lovers of science and technology, not feminists, not even Western-style capitalists or entrepreneurs. Theirs is a theocratic vision, in which sovereignty belongs to God and to those (men) who rule it in His name and according to His laws. Mr. Morsi seems to be a clever fellow, and he no doubt wants his country to progress, but his vision of progress has very little in common with Mr. Friedman's and he would only be amused by the presumptuousness of this column, so characteristic of its author. Morsi's audience is the Islamic world, all of which is represented at this conference. Without a doubt his version of an Islamic state is more open, more nuanced, and less ruthless than that of the ayatollahs--Egypt is a very different place than Persia--but for that reason we should hope that Egypt's presence is felt as a counterweight to Iran's wherever the Iranian regime is doing its evil work.

  44. None of this would be happening had not the US and Britain deposed the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran in 1953 to put the Boy Shah on the throne.

    Reza Palavi was not even Persian royalty. His father, a general, had seized power.
    The Shahs brutality and venality led to the Ayatollah Khomeni. Next up in this parade of stupdity Reagan armed Saddam Hussein to fight Iran, while simultaneously, illegally, selling TOW missiles to Iran. Using the avaricious Israelis to middle man the deal. Then the USS Vincennes, "accidently" shot down an IranAir airbus killing 280 innocent Iranian men, women and children.

    Now we have another prep school cheerleader, just like George Bush, who avoided VietNam, just like George Bush, lusting to start a war (with Iran) in the Middle East, just like George Bush.

  45. Maybe, maybe not. I don't support the action of the US in 1953 but democracy has not had much staying power in the Middle East. And why would anyone think it would real attraction or influence?

  46. Here comes Mr. Thomas L Firedman! The conscience (gate)keeper of the world. How about discussing the US president's foreign tours to beacon's of democracy, where all human rights and more are respected (Egypt 2009, Saudi Arabia 2009). Oh, but I am sooorrrrrrryyyyyyy, those (un)cordial trips were to promote democracy, not to legitimatize the govt's, right. Sorry, Mr Friedman, you can't have your cake and eat it too. Let the democratically (oh, but is that a suspect too, now) elected president of Egypt make his own decisions.
    More a case of Sour Grapes, Mr. Friedman?

  47. Bravo Mr. Friedman...you hit a homerun ! No question that the assembled leaders bring a huge amt. of prestige to the Ayatollah regime . Morsi would have gained far more standing in the world by avoiding the visit without a big affront. The Iranians have a lot of their own people's blood on their hands --they did not allow for Al Tahrir because it might simply resulted in the beheadiing of the regime . They did what Mubarak--to his eternal credit -- chose NOT to do viz a Tien An Men Square.

    I was born and lived in Egypt during most of the Nasser era and there's no question that "Non Aligned Nations" really meant something. When you had Nehru, Tito , Sukarno etc..... showing up in Cairo, they constituted a bloc that was taken seriously. Now.....??

    I wish Morsi will power and luck. He will need them !

  48. TF -sorry for your predicament now! Not so long ago your name dropping for your soirées with Arab dictators,various butchers,hosts for rendition/torture were the life of your column. How many times-your adulation for the mubarak regime complicit in rendition,torture,executions,various ways of mutilating women because Mubarak was a trusted Israel ally. Now,you're doing something foul in your ...because Morsi is going to stick it to Israel! Stop the blockade of Gaza.

    Like many Egyptians the verdict is not in yet on Morsi-the human rights community is watching. But your attention might be better directed at the closest allies of the US in the Middle East,Israel (which is becoming a little more sinister and less democratic by the day), the totalitarian regime in Bahrein and the butchers in Saudi Arabia which as the war criminal Assad of Syria corrected pointed out is alone in the world in the performance of sword beheadings and limb amputations and various mutilation procedures on women. That said,Tehran leaders are the scum of the planet along with Netahyahu and Lieberman.

  49. Guilty5 is essentially correct and Friedman, who for years never objected to America's bolstering Mubarak's regime in Egypt, as brutal in stifling democracy as the Mullahs of Iran, not to mention Bahrain's current monarchy, suddenly decides to object strenuously to Morsi's attending a meeting along with most of the heads of state of 120 other nations.

    Beware high dudgeon from a facile horse-switcher--it rarely is what it seems or claims to be.

  50. Protestations to the contrary, this about supporting Israel - the nation that has done more to bring war and turmoil to the Mid-East than all other nations, combined.

  51. Mr. Friedman's advise would be credible if his counseling extended to those visiting Israel - an occupier state, a state that engaged in war crimes in Gaza and Lebanon, targeted killing, in defiance of countless UN resolutions, and in possession of a number of nuclear bombs. But then again Friedman wouldn't be the Friedman we know if he would somehow miraculously shed his prejudices.

  52. Mr. Friedman,
    I almost always share your perspective and appreciate your insight. This is one of the rare times that I'm not fully in line with your thinking. The reason is that I recall the catalytic effect of Pope John Paul II's visit to Poland and how it mobilized and coordinated a fractured intelligencia and labor Solidarity movement, kept apart by the totalitarian regime. Might a visit by Morsi and others play a similar role? Perhaps this is exactly what you are prescribing to Morsi but not quite sure that came across.

  53. The breadth and depth of the difference between Poland and Egypt is beyond monumental. I think Mr. Friedman is wrong here too, but you cannot use Poland as a model for Egypt in any way.

  54. The author quotes some expert as “The main division in the world is between democratic and undemocratic countries.” Excuse me, the main difference in the world is between the rich and the poor. It's tiring to hear about Democracy and that if only every nation drank the Koolaid of Democracy they will wipe out their poverty, diseases, malnutrition, violence and attain nirvana. Saudi Arabia is not democratic. Have you looked at the billions of dollars of arms sales to the Saudis by the US? Wher is the divide with the US? Nobody calls China democratic and any divide between US and China is only in bluster. The two countries are joined at the hip where it matters most, in trade and in money. India is Democratic and what do the millons Indian slum dwellers and the poors of the villages have in common with the Americans or the Saudis?

    The Non-Aligned Movement is mainly by developing countries and a vast majority are poor nations. The movement may have lost some its original relevance but the notion that it should disband becasue some are "Democratic" and some are not reflects snobbery and ignorance of the author and the experts quoted..

  55. Most of these nations are not poor due to lack of resources or the evils of the developed world. They are poor because they continue to make poor choices, support their own idiotic dictators and think they can succeeed somehow by blaming the West for all their problems.

  56. I fully agree with this view. It would have been better if the meet is not held in Iran but once it is decided to hold it there it is only proper for Mr.Morsi to formally hand over the presidency at the meet. He cannot be faulted for that. Nor can the Indian Prime Minister attending the conference be faulted. India has her own interests to look after,US will not come to its rescue in times of need as its experience shows.

  57. I fully agree with this view. It would have been better if the non-aligned meet is not held in Iran but once the venue is decided it is but proper for Mr.Morsi to attend and personally hand over the Presidency to Iran at the meet. He cannot be faulted for this. Nor The attendance of the Indian Prime Minister be faulted. India has its own interests to look after, USA will not come to its rescue in times of need as its experience shows.

  58. Only someone who lives a protected life in academic and policy institutions like Professor Mandelbaum can see the world as divided primarily into democratic and non-democratic states.

    The most important global divide remains the "wealth of nations." Most of the rich states have the luxury also to be democratic, but hardly all of them are. Of the G20 nations, three are clearly non-democratic -- China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia -- and a couple of others like Indonesia or South Korea have democratic forms with some rather undemocratic practices below the surface. The rich country club also includes the authoritarian oil sheikhdoms.

    A third of the nations of the world have per-capita GDPs below $5,000 per year, or about a tenth the figure for the US, and a few dozen have incomes of $2,000 per year or less. While you and I might like to see these countries become more democratic, I suspect most of their inhabitants would prefer they become richer.

    As for your absurd argument that President Morsi should ignore the domestic and political pressures on him and his new government and snub the Iranians, I am rather at a loss. Not everyone in the world, particularly countries in the Muslim world, shares your low opinion of the Iranian government. Whatever the reasons for the creation of the Nonaligned Movement might have been, it remains one of the few political fora where the weakest states on the planet have a voice. Morsi, and the Secretary-General, must go to Tehran.

  59. Mr. Friedman along with several other analysts seem to believe that Egypt is undergoing a major rapprochement with Iran. Anyone who believes so is ignorant of the proportions of the Sunni/Shia schism that has divided Islam soon after its inception. Morsi is a devout Sunni who cannot align himself ideologically with Iran on numerous issues, especially in view of the concerted efforts by Iran to export Shiism to Egypt for the first time since the end of Fatimid rule by Saladin ten centuries ago.

    Egypt may however establish some diplomatic relations with Iran to give itself diplomatic clout and enable it to act as an important player in regional affairs. By doing so Egypt is exercising its right as an independent sovereign state to further its national interests.

    Lastly, if Mr. Friedman will demand Morsi to be morally sensitive and shun Iran given its dismal human-rights track record, then by the same criteria perhaps Morsi should abrogate the peace treaty with Israel since Israel is in defiance of many UN resolutions and continues to expand illegally on occupied land. Also, I never heard Mr. Friedman calling on the US to shun Mubarak's repressive regime, so why the double standard?

  60. Big shocker, Thomas (be dragged along with events as opposed to analyze them beforehand) Friedman didn't see this coming. For as much as we all think that warring parties in Islam can never put aside their differences for a bigger cause, just sometimes the might surprise you.

    Mr. Friedman was a cheerleader as President Obama kicked the watered down dictator Mubarack out and replaced him with what we all knew (except for Thomas Friedman), would inevitably be Hamas.

    And now Mr. Friedman is surprised at the "wrong turn," taken but the new Egyptian Hamas government. Color me surprised.

  61. Mr. Friedman needs to write about this; after Egypt's 30 years peace with Israel and close relationship with USA and the West, country still ranks as one of the poorest country in Africa / Middle East. Mr Friedman needs to admit that this is all a game and even the Iranian dictators /Mullah's are part of the act. Mullah's are there to scare the Arabs and keep the world's media occupied with scary stories while we keep pumping the oil and sell the outdated weapons.

  62. How could anyone -- including the learned analysts in the Obama admiistration -- be surprised that Morsi is sympathetic to Islamic theocracies? Morsi came from the Muslim Brotherhood.

    I suspect that the Old Middle East Hand, Mr. Friedman, is not surprised. He's just expressing his frustration that Mr. Obama evidently didn't care enough that it would rain on Israel (so am I).

  63. Excuse me Mr. Friedman! Talking about democracy and freedom of choice: why does this apply only to countries or regimes that are not in line with USA policies? The US was a staunch supporter of Hosni Mubarak and Bin Ali although they had no respect for their people. And the US still supports other oppressive regimes in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and others. So, come on, you cannot be selective when it comes to democracy and human rights. Don't be a hypocrite, please!

  64. Try - just try! -to give the guy a little credit. In less than a couple of months, with the help of younger officers, he's convinced the most senior - read "most corrupt) - military leaders to resign.

    After Israel protested the presence of so many tanks in the Sinai after 16 of its soldiers were killed by militants - and some of those militants killed by Israeli forces - high ranking defense personnel from both countries, contrary to denials from all sides, have been talking about the situation.

    Morsi is trying to prove he's doing what he thinks best for Egypt; one doesn't know what he'll say in Iran, so why condemn the trip in the first place? As for where he decides to travel first, it's not up to an American columnist to decide; it's always easier to analyze from the cheap seats.

    I'm not saying the new Egyptian president is this or that, especially after such a short time in office. But, as the editorial cartoonist Herblock used to offer - in pen and ink - a free shave and haircut to newly elected American presidents, I'll offer the same to Morsi and not be so quick to judge.

  65. Friedman's ire is highly selective. He doesn't mind when world leaders stop over in repressive regimes like China, Saudi Arabia, Equatorial Guinea or Yemen. But Iran? Zounds! Out of the question.

  66. Take it easy Fred.. it is fair to mention that Morsi was clear in his position against all regimes that suppress their people (refer to the interview with Reuters before his departure to this trip). His recent efforts to neutralize Iran, China, and hopefully Russia in supporting the Syrian regime is ongoing and have full support from the last Islamic countries conference.

    It is also not appropriate to demonize the role of Morsi and his group in the start and the success of the Egyptian revolution. You do not like his position regarding Israel.. that is your problem.. but you need to know that Egypt is changing and it is different now..

    We in the Arab world are welcoming this Egyptian change and looking forward for it. Maybe, the world will listen more to us then rather than give us 1000 lies with one piece of truth.

  67. What is concerning to me is the possibility that Morsi doesn't have the strategic foresight to have contemplated the optics that Mr. Friedman mentions. If he is just going to Iran to poke a finger in the eye of Israel and the U.S, then his political immaturity doesn't bode well for the future of Egypt or its people.

  68. The reason in front of and behind the visit is to show support IN RETURN for the financial and physical aid the Iranian regime bestowed upon the Islamic groups in Egypt all throughout the years in opposition. Let's try to have some common sense here and restrain our naiveté.

  69. The U.S. clearly hates it when anyone is in any way stealing their show. And the show being put on today bespeaks the crassest of motives. Like instigating and then being complicit in the Arab 'revolutions'. It has fostered discontent & instability that led to the conflicts. It does not want anything to interfere with its goal of overturning any government that has any chance of getting an uprising going, just so, at enormous costs to any country, like Iraq, if is any means to do it, start a war, so thousands die, thousands go homeless, the economy of the country is destroyed, and eventually then it is possible to exert control, commercially, politically, socially, no matter the social & cultural, costs, not to speak of destroying and trampling upon any national sense of dignity or values of the people in their own right, and without regard for their thousands of years of history, and any value they could much better obtain evolution-wise by themselves without the interventions, which amount, in effect, to the use of brute force.

    It is utter barbarism how the U.S. instigates things like 'no-fly' zones for example. It has subverted the very basis for peace which the United Nations was supposed to stand for. The U.N. now seems hardly to be working for peace, but for the vague concept of democracy. And democracy is of course ever redefined to be what the U.S. says it should be.
    And today these crassest of motives are being trumpeted as if they were a good thing.

  70. Mr. Friedman again.....conducting foreign policy for Egypt. Let President Morsi visit Iran and any country that is in Egypt's interest; after all this is a party (Muslim Brotherhood) that the Egyptian military with the assistance of U.S. since 1952 persecuted. Now the Egyptian people are free of this chain of oppression Mr. Friedman is shouting. Let nations be free to choose their friend. Was Iran not a former allies of U.S. under the powerful Shah Reza Pahlavi until Iranian people became free. A country is more than a narrow interest.

  71. Mr Friedman, you are in violation of the Federation's Prime Directive.

    Egypt is not our playground, nor is Dr Morsi, Ph.D (USC - Engr'g) our slave or puppet. He would be in grave error not to follow established diplomatic protocol.

    I am really surprised at your opinion on this issue.

    Egypt, Iran, India and China are keystone civilizations. We're just the new kids on the block who can't figure out how they did it, or whether.

    Dr Morsi is plenty old and smart enough to make his own decisions.

  72. It is true that the Brotherhood did not ignite the protests that brought them to power. But they did have the courage and the fortitude to remain in opposition when it was most dangerous to be in opposition. I feel the need to begin with that "credit where credit is due" statement.

    However . . . their commitment to sharia is an example of democracy as suicide pact. A lawful revolution brought them to power, which they will use to erase such an electoral mechanism.

    But I am not sure what those of us who believe in the self-determination of peoples can do. I am an American of European descent, and my heritage includes some terrible repression facilitated by religious beliefs, requiring a wholesale reformation, leading to what has been summarized as the Enlightenment. That wasn't enough to ensure freedom, of course, but it made it possible. It gave people an ideal to aspire to and for which to fight.

    Until such a reformation and enlightenment empowers the far more numerous followers of Islam to shut down their regressive hardliners, what can outsiders do? And I am quite, quite sure that external interference will only give the hardliners a convenient common enemy.

    We need to engage with Egypt wherever practical, and we especially need to make sure that common people there don't suffer from our actions. It is only the gradual improvement of their material lives that will give them the time and means to engender their own reformations and, we hope, return to true democracy.

  73. America has done much more to harm the rise of democracy in Iran than the current regime can do... study a little history. America's wish for democracy in Iran is simply too little, too late.

    But the most important issue here is that the Non-Aligned Movement now has a life of its own no matter the circumstances of its genesis. I am surprised that you have no understanding of that.

  74. Anyone talking advice from Friedman would need their head examined. He should stop taking such an imperialist and, frankly, tiny-minded, US-centric approach and examine his own wrong turns with more candour.

  75. Tom Friedman is a rank amateur, if this is how he views Middle Eastern and global politics:

    1) Avoid anyone perceived to be unsavoury in the West.
    2) There are no global political positions except for 'democratic' and 'undemocratic' (notwithstanding the fact that democracy doesn't always throw up leaders palatable to the West.
    3) Everything that a political leader does is for the express purpose of impressing and reassuring foreign investors.
    4) Take a tour of Silicon Valley - that will solve everything.

  76. On a few points, I concur with Thomas. But in light of many pressing Mideastern issues, President Morsi needs and deserves prompt and universal support for his commendable four pillars initiative on Syria (www.solami.com/iconoc.htm#Morsi ). And though on the issue of the dangerously veering evolution of the Israel/Iran nuclear "debate", hope more than facts may be the father of the thought that confidence-building measures - like the proposed mutual no nuclear submarine acquisition (www.solami.com/iconoc.htm#options ) - may still stop in the bud the race to Armageddon.

  77. Do not worry Mr Friedman. I heard that Morsi reads the New York Times will charge his mind because of your column today

  78. Tom Friedman appears to be shocked, shocked that Mr. Morsi would go to Tehran. Why? Isn't the visit just another example of the Middle Eastern penchant to speak, or in this case act, very loudly in matters of international politics?
    Morsi is coming across as a little boy making his first visit to a candy store. He will end up with a massive stomache act unless he picks his candy wisely.

  79. Thomas,

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful and excellent article. However and regrettably, sanitizing and appeasing the disctators and brutal regimes have been a hallmark of both European and American government foreign policy tool for many years. Hypocracy is the main curreny in international relations. Just look at United Nations charter and see how many members adhere to those principles.

  80. I guess if Mr Morsi's visit is bestowing legitimacy on Iran then it's just the same as Mr Obama's visit to those other bastions of democracy in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia...

  81. But why should Morsi not pander to Iran when it was the United States foreign policy under President Obama that looked the way when Iranian oppressed marked the Green revolution? This was Obama's great failing in the Middle East and the untold and potentially horrific consequences that await are a looming consequence.

    Additionally, Friedman' s comment that if Morsi's "wants to maintain a cold peace with Israel, that's his business" could not be more wrong. In fact, if Morsi wants to underscore what peace can mean, he would travel to Jerusalem and speak in the Knesset on the next anniversary date of the Camp David accords. President Morsi might come away with a stronger sense why Israel is the Middle East country the world admires, including no small number of his own countrymen who truly yearned for freedom.

    By encouraging the "cold peace" Friedman once again puts his person pique against the current Israeli leadership ahead of what would be an exciting and meaningful goodwill gesture, something Mr. Friedman feels belongs solely is the responsibility of the Israelis.

  82. I question your assumption that Israel is the country in the Middle East that the world admires and suspect that you may not have kept up with what is happening there these days.

  83. Compared to the Arab Spring, Israel remains heaven on earth. The unreported story is how many in the Muslim and Arab world only wish their own nations maintained Israel's wide-ranging rule of law, civil liberties and treatment of the other from women to minorities to gays. That as much as anything, is what threatens Islamists.

    No disrespect to RC, but she put herself in harm's way. Period.

  84. Of course if he travelled to the occupied West Bank, Morsi might also come away with a stronger sense of why Israeli's respect in the world is slowly wasting away. South Africa, in it's apartheid heyday, was also admired by many for it's development relative to the rest of Africa, but change came anyway....

  85. Freidman's sense of caution about Morsi is completely reasonable. I especially liked the comment by Mandelbaum, "nonaligned with what?" Now that world politics is no longet dominated by the so-called central strategic divide, it's true that stabilizing democracy is the next global challenge. Clearly Iran is behind that curve.

    My own sense is that Egypt, and Morsi in particular, is on track to resume its uniquely positive role in the Mideast, begun by Sadat. It's now the Saudi vs. Iranian axis which is the greatest danger. Pakistan and Afghanistan continue to breed terrorists which are a public menace across the region. On the other hand, Turkey and Qatar examples of cultural opennes and political sanity. Egypt could fit right in with humane leadership..

    Since Morsi stood up to his own Supreme Court, and then gave Gen. Tantawi a graceful exit, we can anticipate he will also take a strong position against dangerous elements such as the Iranian regime. At least, I'd prefer that he avoid grandstanding with his status as a former political prisoner. He is showing signs that he can operate the levers of genuine power.

  86. Tom,
    substitute Iran with Pakistan and Egypt with the U.S. and ask the same questions you are asking Egypt.
    Why is the world watching by while Israel violently decides Iraq can't have a bomb, Syria can't have a bomb, Iran can't have a bomb, while helping the now defunct South African Apartheid regime build a bomb and sitting on a pile of bombs for over 40 years itself?
    What kind of EXPERT lists nonaligned leadership and omits India? Is he for real?

  87. Tom Friedman, with his obsessive quasi-Marxist belief that everyone prime motivation in life is ecnomic advancement, simply does not understand Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood. They did not come to power simply to run the economy of Egypt more efficiently or to bring democracy. The main thurst of MB ideology is that there can NOT be a "socially just" society unless there is a religious RIGHTEOUS society. As they see it, a secular governemnt can not implement a socially just program. They believe that secular politicians, no matter how much they may start out with good intentions, will eventually end up on the make and they will help themselves to the peoples' money and forget about their earlier pormises to bring social justice. Nasser's secular pan-Arab regime started out with high ideals but then eventually mophed into Sadat's and Mubarak's stagnant dictatorship.
    However, as the MB see is, it is not enough to simply elected religiously committed politicians. When they say "Islam is the solution", it does not merely mean that the peope should vote for the MB.No. There must be a religious revolution in society. This means EVERYONE has to be involved. Unless the Divilne Law in implmented among the population, nothing will improve Only after the Divide Law is accepted by the population will society be able to reach is full potential with justice for all. Merely tinkering with the existing system won't help. The MB is a revolutionary movement. They intend to remake Egypt.

  88. "It gunned down hundreds and jailed thousands of Iranians"

    Wikipedia mentions a death toll of 72.

    The big problem with the "Green Revolution" was that it was so clearly US sponsored and representing US interests. Normally such protests win even when they loose because they make a moral point, but now the protesters could be seen as just people who were misguided by US sponsored pr.

    As for non-aligned: maybe that could be translated nowadays as non-aligned with NATO's regime change machine.

  89. Why should be Mr Morsi's visit to Iran so undemocratic if Mr. Romney's visit to Israel is so much applauded?

  90. Why is Tom Friedman (TF) surprised, and apparently disconcerted, with Morsi’s past and current actions? And, will TF continue to be surprised at Morsi’s future actions?

    Morsi’s speeches and the published political/social manifesto of the Muslim Brotherhood that he represents, are there for TF to read.. Their agenda is clearly spelled out… so why the disconcertment?

    Morsi has averred that… “The Koran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our path and death in the name of Allah is our goal, and Shariah is our guide.” TF knows this.

    How far removed is Morsi’s MB *ideology* from Iran’s “clerical leadership”? (I define it as theocratic fascism) In my opinion, they’re essentially one and the same.

    Observers stated that the MB would use *democratic* elections to gain power, with the ultimate goals of “One man, one vote, one time”… and of installing strict Shariah law upon the population. It won’t happen overnight, but that’s part of the agenda.

    And it doesn’t end with Egypt. Morsi stated that if he is elected that he will make Egypt… “a state whose top priorities include spreading and protecting the religion of Allah.” Note the “spreading” part of his promise.

    When asked about the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, Morsi stated that he was going to “reconsider” it.

    I wonder. If the time comes when the MB’s Morsi chips away at it until it’s effectively no longer a treaty at all… will TF write a similar column expressing his surprise and dismay?

  91. Interesting, Morsi is not following the Western line but politically playing the game, and the center of the Universe is not around Tom Friedman or the United States. The political forces is within his own constituency. And that should be understood by the western world if we're going to get along.

  92. I just don't get it. Most of your criticisms apply to our country. Morsi can visit whomever he wants. I, like many millions of Americans, simply do not care about him Egypt or Iran. Guess what? I don't care particularly much about any of these foreign nations we seem to be endlessly involved with.
    I wish we were a non-aligned nation- one committed to solving national problems first and being a partner in international ones. Half the women in Egypt may be illiterate but in our country half fth evoters don't even show up at the polls. We have two parties which are incompetent and corrupt and we have a judicial sytem that has two sets of rules (one for rich and the other for everyone else). And Evin prison? Maybe it is brutal but ask any of the millions of people who are raped in American prisons each year if our prison system is gentle and I am guessing their answer will be no.
    Spare me the nonsense about Morsi. I know you have to try to cheer lead us into another war but can't you find something a little more interesting to write about?

  93. Tom Friedman expects every leader in the world to act as he wishes. Dreams are fine. But fantasies are not.

  94. Morsi belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood. They want a Salafist, Jihadist state. We should be more careful in our dealings with Egypt as they are no longer our friends. ANy country ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood is our enemy. They are the followers of Ayman al Zawahiri - how can you forget this.

    The leopard cannot change his spots and the Muslim Brotherhood cannot change theirs. Remember they assassainated Anwar Sadat and they have not changed at all. THey only pretend to change.

  95. Nothing has strengthened Iran more than the Tom Friedman-supported invasion of Iraq. He has no standing to lecture Morsi (who is going to a long-scheduled meeting of an organization he chairs, with an opportunity to talk to many leaders who are there).

  96. It is time to resume normal diplomatic relations between the US and Iran by reopening their respective embassys. Perhaps the Egyptian president's visit to Iran can help ease tensions not only between Iran and its neighbors but also between Iran and the larger global community. The pseudo-macho posturing currently exhibited by both sides in the Iran vs the world contretemps is getting us no where. Someone has to act like an adult in this situation and, perhaps, President Morsi will be this adult.

  97. Tom's right and Morsi is right. Morsi has to govern understanding the political realities in the region. The powers from within that region are the growing might of Russian and Chinese influence over American influence. Why? Because Russia and China are more forthcoming. and America is trying to become a more compliant voice weaker and wanting things like a "little patience" from the Stronger Russian leader or time to continue fruitless talks with Iran while we weaken our own sanctions.
    Russia has Warships and Special forces in Syria. The murderous slaughter of tens of thousands of dead and injured continue unabated. I wish I could see Our President working to create safe zones and resistance assistance with our Allies like Turkey, Jordan and others like Saudi Arabia. But our President, perhaps doesn't want to offend Mr. Putin. Conjecture, but, why else would we allow this kind of carnage without at least resistance assistance to our allies?
    Mr. Morsi sees all this and chooses the side he sees as the dominant players who seems to be winning despite its dangerous aims and chooses a side.

  98. For years Mr. Friedman has hoped for a revolution in the Arab world. In Egypt, the youth he extolled, carried the day against Mubarak. Any perceptive person could recognize during the weeks of turmoil that eventually the Muslim Brotherhood would hijack the revolution because they were better organized and motivated with an ideology. In their own words, this is what the Muslim Brother actually thinks.

    http://napoleonlive.info/did-you-know/muslim-brotherhood-revealed/

  99. The Secretary General of the United Nations is going to Iran along with representatives of over 100 nations but Mr. Morsi should stay back, hand over the trappings of leadership by letter, and show Egyptians as well as the rest of the world that he is lock step in complete alignment with US and British foreign policy.

    This is what you're suggesting? Now that would be a brilliant move for a new Middle Eastern leader on the world stage wouldn't it, Mr. Friedman?

  100. You know, I actually tried to come up with some type of reasonable justification for President Morsi's decision to go to Iran for this summit meeting, but about the only thing I could come up with is that he is less supporting the Iranian regime as he will be
    silently but strongly showing support for the people of Iran.

    For isn't he a result of the same type of democratic showdown that the Iranian people have striven and died for over the past 30 years? Isn't he the personification of their dreams and isn't just his physical presence a true threat to the Iranian regime that will kill or imprison it's citizens for having the desire to see a more democratic way of life in the country they love?

    So at first I thought that he had stepped off the curb into a pile by moving back into the vein of the Muslim Brotherhood he so verbally left to attempt a Presidency for all the people, but then, when I thought about it, he really can achieve something here, if nothing else but to show that the goals of the Iranian people are indeed achievable.

    Of course there were some technological advancements available to the people of Egypt that aren't available to the Iranians due to the regime's imposition of even more strict conditions on telecommunications, but still, he will stand there, a true example that a dictator can be overthrown.

    Maybe Iran is the dumb one here.

    Roger W. Norman
    SirMusic Studio
    http://rwnorman.typepad.com/rwnormans_beer_food_and_p/

  101. Oh dear. This article is a nice summary of everything that is wrong with the US viewpoint and its interaction with Iran.

    Egypt and its people have a lot in common with Iran and the Iranian people and to suggest that Mosri should avoid going to Iran for the sake of Israel and the west is a joke. Why does the US insist on shaping its whole international policy based on a religously-fundamental little country (Israel)? Are the camping contributions and votes in Florida THAT important?

    Yes, what happened in Iran in 2009 was vile and disgusting. But the reality on the ground today is that Iran is going to get nuclear technology, whether Israel and its western stooges like it or not. Bomb and sanction the country all you like. Its geographic location, history and culture mean that it was a world power with a large influence on the middle east, Asia, and southern Europe on multiple prior occasions and so it will be again.

    There are lots of countries in the world who don't subscribe to the US-Israel viewpoint and applaud Iran for not bending to the will of the superpower. And the changes in the middle east mean that Egypt is now one of them.

  102. Of all the "religiously fundamental" countries in the Middle east, you found Israel?! Oh dear, Ali. Come and visit a mosque or a church in Israel, then search for a church or a synagogue in Saudi.

  103. Ali says that Friedman said that Mosri should avoid going to Iran for the sake of Israel and the West. That is not what Friedman said, at all. Friedman said quite clearly that Mosri should avoid going to Iran because the rulers of Iran brutally suppressed their own people who were seeking political rights.

  104. First off, his trip has been planned before he took over the presidency. This is not significantly different from Barack Obama going to the G20 (which also includes some not-so-savory regimes like China and Russia).

    Secondly, the US and other western governments have been no friend of Morsi or a democratic Egypt (mostly out of fear that despite lots of substantive actions to the contrary, a lot of westerners think Egypt wants to attack Israel again). Why would they be at all surprised to find Morsi seeking allies in other nations?

    Thirdly, this isn't Mr Morsi's first act of foreign policy: His first act of foreign policy was to take an active role in working with other Arab nations to try to figure out what to do about Syria. You know, that government that's been slaughtering its own people with almost complete silence from western democracies.

  105. AS we say in Arabic: " Is Mr. Friedman a fool or is he pretending to be a fool?"( for better to fool us!)
    PRIMO:
    There is no better way for Morsi to declare the end of Egyptian subservience to USA ( and Israeli) foreign policy dictates than to attend the Tehran conference.
    Had he failed to do that he would have given additional fodder to rumours about an Egyptian-MB/USA secret entente the ultimate outcome of which would be the depopularization of the Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt and surrounds.
    Not to mention the additional cardinal fact that as both are ISLAMIST movements inter solidarity is a major popular demand particularly now with Israeli threats to Iran.
    SECONDO:
    Non aligned has come to mean with the collapse of the Soviet bloc NON ALIGNED with the USA ( and Israel) a stance that joins together Islamists to nationalists and progressives of all hues .
    As such this international political orientation will join all anti USA/Israel forces including Chavezes of South America Asad's Syria Algeria and South Africa.
    The collapse of the Soviet block was an extremely severe blow to anti imperialism but certainly NOT the end of universal struggle against Western imperialism particularly now that it includes in its ranks and vocation anti Zionism.
    With a Romney presidency a distinct possibility the need for it now is more urgent than before.
    Not that an Obama reelection will discredit that need.
    ( Mr Friedman is certainly aware of all that so back to the intial question!)

  106. Premature Alarm
    A writer should try covering wider responsibilities than just publication sales
    This, generally respected, writer sounds right, could be right,but he is still looking through a prism of western intuitions, which sound acceptable enough to western readers.However it is possible, that it is nothing one can imagine in the west.
    " Could Morsi have more nobler intentions of uniting the Islamic world " not to fight
    back " but to gather momentum to climb a higher moral ground of international
    tolerance and world peace.
    Give it a chance,all of his moves had been positive so far,please give him benefit of doubt at least as it is still too early to brand labels.
    Premature jumping into a band wagon of negative apprehensions, can never be constructive.
    Zuffer

  107. Morsi said he would like to position Egyptian foreign policy in a way that enhances its interests first and foremost. This is a radical change from Mubarak who subsumed Egyptian interests to US and Isreali interests.

    For that reason, I understand why Freidman is angry. He has lost a pawn.

    Freidman also repeats a falsehood with regards to Iran's Green Movement. They won a lot of votes, however, there is no evidence that they won anywhere near a majority of the votes. The fact that they were brutalized as they refused to accept their defeat does not wash away the fact they still lost the vote! Genuine democracy demands that losers, no matter how huge their support block is, should accept their loss with dignity and prepare to do better next time.

    To Morsi, the Green Movement is more like Ahmed Shafik's supporters. Although they won 48% of the vote, they still lost to Morsi and their attempt at delegitimizing his victory mirrors that of Iran's Green Movement.

    The lesson to be learnt in most Third World countries is not "Democracy", but how to deal with western-favored parties when they loose elections.

  108. Tom, readers Mr. M. doesn't care! He is supporting a Muslim brother. He will fly over Syria where Muslims are being slaughtered for seeking freedoms. He is part of a society that riots and kills over cartoons and suspect pieces of paper, yet haven't the courage to save one life in Syria.
    So, the Egyptian people have been fooled again and I for one see them not allowing it to continue that long. The Egyptian people know how to bring down despots.
    The sooner the better; don't let cowards run lives. It's a baddddddd habit and apparently (as in Syria) ok with the Imans.

  109. This is just ill-informed. Mr. Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, does not regard the Iranian leadership (all Shiite) as his Muslim brothers in need of support. And he is certainly not ignoring the Syrian crisis. On the contrary, he is going to meet with the Iranians precisely in order to try to end the slaughter in Syria, a matter in which Egypt and Iran are on opposing sides.

  110. Friedman seems shockingly ill-informed about Middle East politics. Here, it seems that he is unaware that Morsi's visit to Tehran is intended to broker a Syrian peace deal between competing regional interests with a direct influence on the Syrian crisis (Egypt, Iran, Saudi, and Turkey). He has repeatedly denied that he has any interest in strengthening ties between Egypt and Iran as an end in itself. But, then again, who still turns to Friedman for forming their opinions about Middle East politics? He lost all credibility here 9.5 years ago when he came out in support of the Iraq War.

  111. I have to respectfully disagree. Egypt is, historically, an influential player in the Middle East. This is only more true since Egypt's people relieved their president-for-life of his position, and since Mursi took back the power the military stripped of him just before reluctantly handing him the reins. Egypt may or may not have any success with Iran or Syria. But they have the clout, and they have an independence from Western influences which really gives them credibility in the region. So, it may or may not work. But there's a chance. And it sure is worth a try, if the alternative is war.

  112. A very typical Freidman column.
    As usual, he has his selective “experts” to quote to backup his point of view.
    Not that I am in awe of the Iranian regime, but I find it interesting Mr. Freidman is so very concern about what happened to pro democracy protesters in Iran in 2010 but never, ever show the same zeal and concerns for those in countries like China, Al Salvador, Venezuela or Burma. So,why Iran in particular? Could it be that Israel regard Iran as its # 1 enemy? And we all know how Israel’s interests are close and dear to Mr. Freidman heart.
    Mr. Freidman goes on to say” As for Morsi himself, I’d like to see him succeed in turning Egypt around”. Really!! I don’t remember Mr. Freidman ever uttering a word attacking the Mubarak’s rotten, brutal and corrupt regime. Could it be that Mubarak was Israel “best” friend in the whole Arab world?
    Then Mr. Friedman goes on to suggest what course of actions, priorities and policies Mr. Morsi should take! Excuse me Mr. Friedman, but who makes you “the guardian” to tell sovereign countries what to do?
    Finally, Mr. Freidman: this is not President Morsi “first” trip abroad, or even second. Please check your facts.

  113. Tom, you were wrong on Morsi, wrong on the Brotherhood, wrong on the 'arab spring' and, frankly, wrong on everything you have ever written on Israel and its neighbors. As the saying goes, 'Confession is good for the soul.' Perhaps you can summon up the courage to address this in some future column.

  114. Tom Friedman has good intentions when he lectures democratically elected Pres Mohamed Morsi of Egypt on " how to do the right thing" on foreign policy. After all, Morsi and his party have no experiences whatsoever in foreign policy. Tom does not agree with Morsi's first official trip to Iran and China.

    Back in 2003, President elected Lula da Silva of Brazil made a similar mistake --in Tom's view- as Pres Morsi does today. Lula's first trip overseas was to Beijing, an unprecedented foreign policy gesture by a Brazilian president. When asked to explain such trip, Lula answered " China is Brazil's winning lottery number in the 21st century." Perhaps, Mohamed Morsi's thinking on foreign affairs goes along the same line as Lula da Silva.

  115. Really, Mr. Friedman? Is that really your perception of "real-politik"--that it all comes down to just supporting democracies by any means and at any expense? This is shocking! The U.S supports dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and lots of other nations around the globe. So if the main division now is truly between Democracy and Dictatorship, why should Egypt's "non-aligned" movement with Iran make her a supporter of Dictatorship, when the U.S direct support to other dictatorships make America belong to the good side? If there is anyone who should be ashamed of himself, it's you for writing such an immature article, not Mr. Morsi.

  116. Friedman ignores history...Iranians do not...look around ?..Egypt's democracy, frail as it is, grew despite US intervention. Iranian obtuseness will only be tamed by dialogue. I see them as pragmatic as they could possibly be given their history. As far as visiting there...yes..Egypt has nothing to gain from a western attack on Iran. No one has ever been hurt by dialogue.

  117. What makes this column rather bizarre is its extreme selectivity. I agree that it would be great if Morsi showed solidarity with the people demanding democratic change in Iran. But I think it would be even better if the US showed solidarity with those pushing for democratic change in, say, Bahrain, instead of remaining silent when Saudi Arabia sent in its troops to crush the democracy movement there. Of the US and Egypt, which actor do you think had more influence? And I also wish the US would have shown solidarity with democratic activists decades ago, rather than when it was forced to by events on the ground in the ME. And don't get me started on the US's rather cavalier attitude towards democracy for Palestinians.

    So, why is Mr. Morsi going to Iran? Well, presumably he is motivated by the same sort of things that have made the US so incredibly inconsistent when it promotes human rights and democracy - i.e., Mr. Morsi probably sees the advantages of Egypt having good relations with Iran and the NAM in general. He is looking out for his country's interests, which is the constant excuse given to explain US actions. So why isn't what is sauce for the goose sauce for the gander?

    The democratic movement in Iran will, eventually, be successful. The mullahs are holding onto control by their fingernails. But that is a matter for the Iranians themselves to solve and resolve. Only then will it be something that can lead to a real change in their country.

  118. When would the US and Nato realise that the turmoil in the West Asia is of their own creation? If the arrogant Israel was not thrust upon the West Asia, this situation would not have arisen at all. And now as fait accomli Israel needs to be asked to be realistic and does not need to be pampered. The most obvious partial attitude towards Israel and antagonistic one towards the West Asian nations needs to be thought out.

  119. I guess you just do not get it and what it means to say the "world is flat" now. That doesn't mean everyone is like us. There are countries and people and cultures that have as much right to the "flatland" as we do.
    We are not that “special" as much as you fantasize about it in your narrow mindset. And if you really believed in freedom you wouldn’t be writing over and over again these overly judgmental columns. Iran is laying you like a fiddle. Don’t you listen when all these foreign leaders talk to you? I cannot understand the lack of respect for other cultures you seem to have. It is absolutely amazing. I have traveled the world for 30+ years and am always amazed at what most Americans never see and realize is out there beyond…Schenectady.

  120. If the major players in the Middle East all have nuclear weapons, they may well be tempted to use them because the, "If God is for us, who can oppose us?" rationale will prevail resulting in mutually assured destruction. Then the world can turn its thoughts to other matters, like WW III instead of Iran or the Palestinian problem.

  121. If Mr. Morsi had instead visited Saudi Arabia, what would Mr. Friedman have written? You better be realistic; therer is no more a Soviet Union, but, still the world is divided between the West and the Brics countries, namely China, Russia, India, Brasil... and not one of them more democratic than the others, regarding Middle Eastefrn policies: are Saudi Arabia and Qatar more democratic than Iran and Syria? Are the Syrian Moslem Brothers, the Salafis, the djihadis and Al Qaeda who ared fighting Assad with the same terrorist ways they used us to, are they going to create a more democratic state than the one of Assad's, where Christian Druze Alaouites and others are treated equally? So let's not pretend ethics and morality where there is none.

  122. One of the few times I disagree with Friedman. I do not intend to defend Morsi but let's be realistic. Morsi is trying to run one of the largest Muslim countries in the Middle East and reconcile/face enormous challenges/odds: the still dominant role of the Egyptian army, the Muslim Broterhood party he represents, US aid, Israel, an economy in shambles. Turkey and Iran are the two Muslim powers fighting for leadership in the region. it is therefore only normal and expected that Morsi would go to Iran for the Nonaligned summit. So did the head of the UN! He is not here to please us but to do his job; whether we like him/it or not and his options are at this point very limited.

  123. Maybe the non-aligned nations should have their invitation list approved by the US or perhaps even Israel before being allowed to hold a meeting.

    Sheesh.

  124. Tom glad you woke up and faced the facts, thanks for this insightfull article. You changed my opinion of you for the better. The Middle East is in crises!

  125. While it would be great for Morsi to institute a liberal democracy in Egypt and be a role model for the Arab world, his dedication to the ideology of political Islam handcuffs him. For a thorough understanding of why this is such a powerful challenge, a point by point analysis can be found here: http://www.almuslih.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&am...

  126. We didn't support our long time alley in Mr. Mubarrack, the previous president, resulting in his rapid fall from grace. At least, Egypt was a secular country at that time. Now, we celebrated the new democracy in Egypt, but it apparently became a muslim dominant country. If we are questioning the direction of the new democracy. Isn't it too late? Let us get out of our the middle estern countries, and let the freedom grow. And their people will take care of themself.

  127. Ascribing what we see as politically correct motives to foreign leaders is an exercise in futility. Mr Friedman somehow sees Mr Morsi's motivations and/or best interest as encouraging democracy, but what makes him believe such even occurs to that gentleman?

    Mr Friedman likes to say that Mr Morsi catapulted to power on a wave of public dissatisfaction similar to the Green Revolution in Iran. Yet the folks in Tahrir Square are Mr Morsi's political opposition. His Muslim Brotherhood was not much involved with the democratic movement to overthrow Mr Mubarak - they just capitalized on the ensuing unrest to capture the huge majority of votes for the successor government

    And we have yet to see Mr Morsi's governance in action. He has made many of what Westerners see as the correct noises favoring popular rule and democracy, but his party is Islamist in nature, similarly to the regime in Iran. What do you think would happen when democracy conflicts with his Islamist principles? Perhaps we will see he reacts precisely the same way the mullahs did. In which case, why wouldn't he support the Iranians?

    And, if he sees Egypt's proper role as more confrontational with Israel, wouldn't it also be smart to seek connections with other powerful states who would back him in that? And widening global support in China and elsewhere not only might garner him needed resources but also paradoxically increases his leverage with us

    States act in their own national interests, not as we wish them to

  128. Mr Friedman obviously does not understand what the rest of the world is thinking about Morsi's view of the massacre in Syria and how to deal with it.. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz (http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/egypt-s-president-morsi-says-tim... wrote: "Egypt's new Islamist president, preparing to make his debut on the stage of world diplomacy with an initiative over the Syrian crisis, called on Monday for President Bashar Assad's allies to help lever the Syrian leader out of power..."Now is the time to stop this bloodshed and for the Syrian people to regain their full rights and for this regime that kills its people to disappear from the scene," Mohammed Morsi said in his first interview with an international news organization... "There is no room to talk about reform, but the discussion is about change," Morsi said, adding Egypt had repeated that "the friends of the Syrian people in China and Russia and other states" need to back ordinary Syrians."

  129. Is it then disturbing that Morsi's FIRST trip, in July, was to Saudi Arabia? On your alleged new axis of democracies vs. non-democracies, where would Saudia Arabia, a major ally of the US and sworn enemy of Iran, stand? This must be one of the most naive reading of the geopolitical situation of the Middle East ever.
    And the trip to China was all about showing that Egypt is "open for business again". Anyone paying even cursory attention to the world economic situation knows that China is the most important economic partner now available to developing countries.
    Btw - has any European country invited Morsi yet? Has Obama expressed any enthusiasm at the idea of hosting Muslim Brothers at the White House in the midst of his presidential campaign?

  130. The division of world today, particularly after Iraq and Afghanistan, is not between communist and democratic countries or democratic and non-democratic countries .

    It is between the countries which tow American policies and which oppose the same. This is particularly so in the middle east.

    It is worth pondering about the failure of UN to agree on action against Syria. It shows their exists a block. You can decide what you want to call it.

  131. Why wrong, Mr. Friedman?
    Does ra'ees Morsi disappoint you by not following YOUR vision for Egypt?
    Why don't you, then, change your vision? It's easier than changing Morsi's.
    That will also have an additional advantage: it'll bring your vision in line with reality.

  132. Dear Tom,
    A very good essay, the "comments" show that you hit a nerve.
    Best wishes,
    Ruth M.
    Forest Hills, NY

  133. The only problem with the Iranian regime of today is that it deposed the US supported despotic regime of the Shah put in power by a CIA engineered coup found necessary because the previous democratically elected government was not sufficiently subservient to the interests of western oil companies.

    So the western elite finds it easy to criticize this regime only because it feels the need to look after it's own interests by participating the non-aligned group of nations.

    The height of hypocrisy by Friedman.

  134. I would love to see Ban and Morsi go over there to tell the ayatola and his moolas to their faces that they are an unelected, illegitimate government that grabbed and retains power by force and that should step down immediately.

    That would earn Ban his paycheck.

    What took place in Iran with its Twelver, religious-fanatic rulers is no different than a hypothetical situation where the Mafia grabs power in Italy. In that scenario would anyone consider the Mafia to be Italy's legitimate government? Same thing in Iran.

  135. Egypt needs to send a message to the Wahabis of Saudi Arabia & to the rest of the world that democratic Egypt is no longer an American stooge. This is what bothers u, Tom. Otherwise, why r u harping on the Iran leg (a few hours) of his first foreign visit to the new world giant, China? The new Egypt, one hopes, will be truly non-aligned; meaning no longer a cheap & automatic card in the hands of the US. Hope non-aligned is clearer now Tom.

  136. I agree some of your ideas but you never forget that Egypt is not Iran which cannot have enough income as Iran to feed its own people. Egypt has strategic place and Morsi while he is disaligning with USA , has to find another strong country to feed and protect itself.

    Morsi is not a democratic leader either, you will see soon.

  137. It is surprising that Tom Friedman sees contact between the Egyptian and Iranian government as a an implicit alliance between those two countries. Egypt should look after its own interests. Iran is a country with great influence in the region and however
    distasteful may be its present government Egypt gains nothing by deliberately snubbing it. Given the intense animosity between Shia and Sunni muslims Egypt and Iran will never be natural allies as long as either government is controlled by religious
    organizations. So what is there to worry about? In fact it is unlikely that the mess in Syria and other future conflicts can be sorted out without Iran and Egypt being part of a solution.

  138. Really, of all the issues / events in the World (or the Middle East if you want) Morsi visiting Tehran, for a few hours as part of a much bigger conference is deserving of this shallow "analysis" today?

    Rather, you want Morsi to set himself up essentially as a pro-Western liberal - "visit the Silicon Valley and go talk to the famous chemistry professor", whose achievement proves he knows about atoms and molecules, a totally different realm of reality than what we are concerned about. When the liberal pro-westerns "who launched the revolution" couldn't even muster 5% of the vote?

    Tom, I think you have been speaking too much to your Middle Eastern versions of liberal pro-western, force multipled pro-Israelis funded in comfortable universities, think-tanks and newspapers. Next time you are in Egypt, go out into the back streets.

    Terrible advice like yours that fails to recognize how to triangulate, build and consolidate - often slowly - in the diffifult task to achieving the good is what leads to failed governments and the very hardships, intractable enmity and evils that you rail so much against.

    BTW, did you ever advice Clinton or Obama to go all liberal, or Bush all conservaitve away from the center? Why do you offer that advice to foreign POLITICAL leaders?

  139. Americans and Israel must understand that the Arab world must be able, and should, handle their own regional problems as much as possible unless outside assistance is requested. Not doing this is what got us into the mess we have in Iraq. The more the the US attempts to interfere when help is not wanted, or blindly sides with Israel, the more the Arab and Muslim world sees us as their enemy. Iran and Egypt have radically different backgrounds, particularly the Sunni-Shiite divide. Just as religious differences have torn Iraq apart after the US arrived, the possibility of Iran and Egypt equivocally joining hands to fight the USA and Israel would be subject to the same problems. Egypt has far more at stake than the US in making sure Iran is not a nuclear playground.Iran is their neighbor in the region. Let Arabs deal with Arabs and make Israel follow the same rules of having no nuclear and chemical weapons, just as Israel is demanding of Iran. Then deal with the Palestinian issue; have a two state solution and allow the Palestinians freedom to run their own lives and economies. This will do far more for peace in this region and improving world opinion and the safety of Americans in the US and abroad.

  140. Like Kofi Annan pathetically trying to make peace in Syria, but only seeing the situation go further out of control, this NAM conference with Ban Ki Moon lending his presence along with 120+ nations assembled in Tehran will only lead Israel to conclude what the Obama Administration has been desperately trying to convince it of not concluding: that when it comes to survival of the Jewish People in the face of annihilationist threats -- this time from Iran -- along with lots of talk and commiseration from the West -- the Jews are, as they were in 1941, on their own. And if the Jewish People are potentially faced with another potential1941 this time from a claque of mad mullahs, this time they won't be going quietly. As Golda Meir famously said, and it's quite apt considering the Israel-hate that passes through these blogs non-stop "Better a bad press, than a good epitaph."

  141. You cannot seriously believe that any religion based government is capable of anything near the analysis you've offered here; particularly logical and critical thinking. This guy just fired the entire upper structure of his armed forces over one terrorist attack. Without those upper military minds his entire election would have been just a phantom dream. You're joking, right?

  142. Tom- Mr. Morsi *DOES* understand who he's helping and who he isn't. Sad.

  143. Why is Morsi in Tehran? Well, Morsi and his gang of well organized religious fanatics have hijacked a revolution that they did not start, to gain power over Egypt. When the brave protestors were facing down Mubarak's thugs, Morsi's people were cringing in their mosques. He is meeting with Kahmenei, heir to the Islamic movement, a well organized gang of religious fanatics who hijacked the Iranian revolution over 30 years ago. The Iranian Mullahs, despite being hated by their countrymen, have managed to retain power despite running the economy of an oil rich country into the ground.

    Perhaps Morsi is looking for tips on how to retain power. Perhaps he is looking for ideas on how to destroy the opposition. Maybe he did go to Evin Prison, and took the blueprints back with him to build one in Cairo. Friedman is right, Morsi should be traveling the world saying; 'Egypt is open for business'. Then again, maybe he doesn't care. Maybe he wants to retain power at the barrel of a gun, not by fixing Egypt.

  144. The outpouring of protest you caused with this article indicates that there is some hope that an informed public is beginning to understand why our hate campaign against Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, the Hezbollah, and everyone else in the Middle East is so dangerously wrong. It's amazing that you were able to write this when you are sometimes so understanding. It could have been written by Hillary or one of her State Dept. clones calling "Democracy, Democracy!" when they don't begin to understand what they are promoting: death, jail, and anti-Americanism.

    They are not naive, neither Morsi nor Assad nor the leaders of any of those nations. It is our naiveté espoused and embraced blindly by 3 successive administrations that has cost us the world and this article is a fine reflection of it.

    Pandora seems to have been born in the White House where you got this handout.

  145. Iran is not a legitimate democracy, but I do say that Morsi has the right to deal with them. Isolating countries completely does not allow for the possibility ofor change in those countries and neither does bombing them.

    We do not know Moorsi well at all. He has been fairly moderate so far in his approach to governing, not flaunting his islamic roots in the face of the secularits. He deserves a chance and time to determine his overall approach to the relationships he will form around the world. Do we really need to bend him to our will? And if that is our motive, t hen that is our problem.

  146. Mr Morsi is not a democratic leader, He is a theocratic person , He dreams of sharia based laws in egypt.

    There is public revolution brought to Morsi to egypt doesn't make him better than Mobarak.

    Same was happened Khomeini and Pahlavi.

    These people who assumed to power in this old civilization doesn't have any concern about democracy.

    Once they were military based dictatorship, now Religion based. which is worse, both there is no good come out this type of regime changes.

    Neither Iran nor Egypt cannot be accepted as a democracy. Let be honest.

    Every body knows the truth.

  147. Mr Friedman, you sound like sour grapes. Just because the Cold War is over, you think the NAM is irrelevant. From "democratic" and "communist"... you just repainted the world as "pro-US"and "anti-US" ... ala Bush. "You are either with us, or you are against us" ... sad!

    NAM was invented to show that the member countries do want to be associated with the bipolar world that it was and the hegemonic policies that were common. ONE POLE FELL. Has the world really changed? The US got used to the "coalition of the willing" who has to listen to her. Contrary to what you write, looks like you are not getting used to the multi-polar world that we are in today ... with the rise of India, China, Brazil, Russia, Turkey, Indonesia, etc. The NAM has a new meaning now. "nonaligned" means "independent" of the typical pro-US or anti-US stance. Get used to it!

  148. O M G, not you too, Mr Friedman...the nonaligned nation are still trying to show their "independence " from countries like the US, Britain, France and perhaps Russia. There are so many draconian dictatorships that we are best buddies with in the Middle East and else where. Bahrain...the Saudi Kingdom, do you approve of them? What is the harm if 120 nations, if my math is right, that is the majority of the UN show some independence. What would it really have looked like if the new Egyptian President followed the orders of US and Israel and did not attend to hand the gavel to Iran?
    Let's make peace not more war, please!

  149. Now you're finally getting the idea.

  150. I can't believe Mr. Friedman is new to the idea that all the haters in the Islamist terror & anti-Israel world get together to build each other up at every opportunity. If this is really news to you, I have to ask why anyone is paying you to write about world events.

    The Muslim brotherhood, like the Persian tyrants, want an Islamic strsnglehold over all the world, including Israel & America. Why pretend anything different?

    This mindset is exactly why your book That Used To Be Us was so disappointingly vacant. You are a splendid storyteller, interviewer, and assembler of facts, but there isn't an act of Congress or a gov't regulation that you don't love. You completely blew the discussion of the housing crash in 2008 because the Congressional interference in the banking industtry under the Community Housing Act caused it all. BUT, to be clear about that, you would have had to criticize Democrats, and there's no way you were going to do that. So you just criticized the bankers. Talk about low-hanging fruit! Now you're in competition with The View on ABC.

    If you cut half the politicians in the U.S. out of your coverage, you're just one more cheerleader.

  151. Nuke shopping, nothing more, nothing less.

  152. Sometimes the politics of inclusion goes a lot further than the politics of exclusion. You do remember Carter don't you? And do you remember what that got us?

    Morsi will be fine without your imaginary conversations with yourself, which you used so famously to get us into a never ending cesspool of death in Afghanistan.

    Please come into the 21st century with the rest of us.