As Ugly as It Gets
New York Times / Thomas Friedman

I confess that when I first saw the May 17 picture of Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, joining his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with raised arms — after their signing of a putative deal to defuse the crisis over Iran’s nuclear weapons program — all I could think of was: Is there anything uglier than watching democrats sell out other democrats to a Holocaust-denying, vote-stealing Iranian thug just to tweak the U.S. and show that they, too, can play at the big power table?

No, that’s about as ugly as it gets.

“For years, nonaligned and developing countries have faulted America for cynically pursuing its own interests without regard for human rights,” observed Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment. “As Turkey and Brazil aspire to play on the global stage, they’re going to face the same criticisms they once doled out. Lula and Erdogan’s visit to Iran came just days after Iran executed five political prisoners who were tortured into confessions. They warmly embraced Ahmadinejad as their brother, but didn’t mention a word about human rights. There seems to be a mistaken assumption that the Palestinians are the only people that seek justice in the Middle East, and if you just invoke their cause you can coddle the likes of Ahmadinejad.”

Turkey and Brazil are both nascent democracies that have overcome their own histories of military rule. For their ... >>>

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