Northern Country

How globalization changes capitalism, the economy and politics

Friedman confuses occidental motives with oriental needs

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Mr. Friedman is a distinguished book author and columnist for the Times, one of our foremost experts on globalization and all things political for that matter, and yet he does not seem to understand the political situation in the Middle East.

His article ‘Bullets and Barrels’ about the recent developments in Iran is confusing to say the least. At first he concedes that past elections were legitimate but then concludes that this time the regime panicked and stole the election. His analysis is entirely based on the speculative assumption that Mousavi supporters are the majority in the nation of Iran.

I can only speculate about his motives and as to how he reaches this conclusion but he seemed to completely ignore Ahmadinejad’s popularity. In this election Ahmadinejad was widely believed to have run a more successful campaign than his challengers, he was seen by many as the more popular candidate during the televised debates.

While many in the west rush to judgment about Ahmadinejad they never really challenged Khamenei and the Iranian Revolution. I assume because of overwhelming support of the system among the Iranian populace. Ahmadinejad is their candidate of choice. As George Friedman points out, the question is not why Ahmadinejad won, but why so many thought he would not win.

The writers own analysis that this election was a referendum against the regime is counter to anything we know about Iran at this point. I have not found any reasonable argument in his article that would support this thesis. Like many he seems to be entirely captivated by the flow of information out of Iran that is coming from new technologies, but surely a revolution against the Iranian Revolution will not be achieved by Twitter and social networks.

Friedman also does not distinguish between reform and moderation as core-motives in this election. Reform that challenges the theocratic system of rule in Iran would be hugely chaotic and ultimately negative for the Middle East. He confuses motives of occidental governments with the needs and desires of their oriental counterparts. As long as we do not approach the Middle East with a genuine desire for peace any attempt to bring about change will fail.

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Written by Alfred

21. June 2009 at 10:54 pm

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