Friedman: Shame on Egypt's president

Friedman: Shame on Egypt's president

Thomas Friedman writes (in the NYT, of course, although link above is a free access syndication):

I find it very disturbing that one of the first trips by Egypt's newly elected president, Mohammed Morsi, will be to attend the Nonaligned Movement's summit meeting in Tehran this week. Excuse me, President Morsi, but there is only one reason the Iranian regime wants to hold the meeting in Tehran and have heads of state like you attend, and that is to signal to Iran's people that the world approves of their country's clerical leadership and therefore they should never, ever, ever again think about launching a democracy movement — the exact same kind of democracy movement that brought you, Mr. Morsi, to power in Egypt.

I was not aware Morsi made a ringing endorsement of the Iranian system of government while in Tehran. Does this attitude mean that Friedman believes heads of states who call themselves democrats should not visit autocracies? I don't remember him making a fuss, say, when President Obama visited Cairo in 2009 when some of Morsi's friends were in prison. Or when Obama visited China. Or Russia. Or Saudi Arabia.

Also, why is he singling out Morsi out of all the NAM leaders? Why not the representatives of the other 118 countries attending? This wouldn't have anything to do with Israel and the nuclear weapons program issue, would it?

Update: A good reaction on Twitter:

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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.