Time and again we hear New York Times (and other Western media pundits) lamenting that democracy is a Western monopoly, and that Muslims are incapable/unable of engaging it.
The best indication of what we have about some of these values being universal is simple: listen to what people on the streets of Cairo, Tehran, and Istanbul have been demonstrating about over the last few years: freedom, dignity, democracy, liberty. Yet Friedman and his ilk (and much of the American think tank culture) is fearful of what a genuine democratic movement in Muslim-majority contexts would look like, since it would almost certainly come along with a popular demand for having US military presence out of their region, to adopt a genuinely peace & justice based approach to the Palestine/Israel issue, and move away from an American hegemonic approach to the world.
To acknowledge that popular will would run against American-privileged views of many pundits. Therefore, we hear this absurd language that democracy is somehow a “Western” value, that Muslims are not “prepared” for it, and the best that brown/Muslim/colonized people want/deserve is autocratic rule."