Point of the Week

Saturday, May 29, 2010
By New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman:

As Ugly As It Gets

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 [...]

Turkey and Brazil are both nascent democracies that have overcome their own histories of military rule. For their leaders to embrace and strengthen an Iranian president who uses his army and police to crush and kill Iranian democrats -- people seeking the same freedom of speech and political choice that Turks and Brazilians now enjoy -- is shameful [...]

I'd prefer that Iran never get a bomb. The world would be much safer without more nukes, especially in the Middle East. But if Iran does go nuclear, it makes a huge difference whether a democratic Iran has its finger on the trigger or this current murderous clerical dictatorship. Anyone working to delay that and to foster real democracy in Iran is on the side of the angels. Anyone who enables this tyrannical regime and gives cover for its nuclear mischief will one day have to answer to the Iranian people.