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Noble Americans
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, November 30, 2006

I don't know if you've taken the time to read Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's open letter to "the American People," but it is interesting. I think Investors Business Daily best reflects my reaction after skimming through it:
Try as he might, he can't quite get the tone right. From the "Noble Americans" salutation onward, the prose suggests Borat's evil twin. If he were harmless, he would be pleasantly ridiculous.
Of course he's not harmless and it isn't 'pleasantly ridiculous'. He goes off on a riff about the "Zionist state" that's a classic for that genre. And his suggestions for Democrats on how to govern effectively are interesting as well.

Obviously his intent is to appeal directly to the people of America, bypassing officialdom, and inform us of how great we are and how satanic our government is. I'm sure few are surprised by either the attempt or the rhetoric.

IBD talks about the hypocrisy of the letter, noting recent human rights violations in Iran and the lack of political freedom there. Most "Noble Americans" are already tuned into those facts, even though, as IBD suggests, certain "American intellectual elites" will be suitably charmed by his message (and, of course, studiously blind to the hypocrisy).

However, a more ominous thing IBD reports has to do with Ahmadinejad's religious mentor:
Mesbah-Yazdi, an ideological mentor to Ahmadinejad, is an extremist cleric who endorses the use of suicide bombers against Israel and for confrontation with the West.

He is also campaigning to succeed Grand Ayatollah Ali Khameini as head of the Iranian Islamic state, and his ties to fellow fundamentalist Ahmadinejad give him a leg up. If he wins, as appears all too probable, Iran will be taking another step away from democracy and toward war.
As those who are prone to wave off Ahmadinejad's ramblings are fond of pointing out, the real power in Iran lays not with him but with the head of the Iranian Islamic state.

Given this interesting news, we now have a new name and a new situation to monitor. One should assume, if Ahmadinejad is a reflection of his religious mentor, should Mesbah-Yazdi eventually replace Khameini, the situation in Iran may worsen and Ahmadeinejad's threats will have to be taken much more seriously.

How nice.
 
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Well, the "Nobel" Americans are at perfect liberty to read the lettre, I guess. Though, I would think most of the Nobels live in Sweden. I, myself, really woudn’t presume to read their private mail.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I just fixed that.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
I figured I was just missing the joke...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Our nation has always extended its hand of friendship to all other nations of the world
Well, almost all... but let’s not dwell on that for the next two paragraphs.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
I’m trying to understand where he thinks we noble Americans get our
politicians/statesmen/adminstrators?

At some point they’re just plain old noble Americans before we elect, or appoint to, or hire them for, governmental positions aren’t they?
So....they start out as noble Americans?
Must be our form of government that makes them evil?

Which logically means that our form of government is evil itself and warps noble people, which logically, since it’s the form of government we choose would mean we’re choosing evil, which logically means we’re, um, evil ourselves don’t it?
(Look! The government turned one guy into a Newt!)

But that’s sorta paradoxical, so maybe he thinks we import them from Israel.



 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
(Look! The government turned one guy into a Newt!)
I hear he got better though.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
It’s fun-lovin’ guys with a flair for the written word like Mah Man Mahmoud that will keep me from voting Libertarian at the national level, well, forever.
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
I do have a quibble, though not with you McQ. I am not so sure those who say the President of Iran is weak are correct. He can be, but from what I have been hearing that is not so true in this instance. He has accumulated a lot of power relative to previous Presidents and his mentor’s ascent will make him more powerful still. In fact, his influence is part of why Mesbah-Yazdi seems to be getting more powerful.
 
Written By: Lance
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If they admitted he has as much power as he probably does, they’d actually have to consider doing something about him.

Pretending he’s some sort of Iranian high jester and not a real leader is much easier threat assessment.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
On one level, though, this is tit for tat.
Remember, Bush addressed the ’Iranian people’ at the UN. I’m sure the attempt to undermine the current regime there didn’t pass unnoticed.

It is a war between two individuals, as well as regimes. I’m not sure who wins the ’worst choice of words’ race.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
It is a war between two individuals, as well as regimes.
I prefer to call it a war between freedom and religious authoritarianism.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
I’m not sure who wins the ’worst choice of words’ race.
How about worst choice of actions? Did Bush ever take part in the kidnapping of Iranian citizens?
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
I would like to see a strong letter from Bush to the Iranian people in response to the Iranian President’s letter. He could make so many points that would encourage those forces within Iran who have no love for the mullahs. This is a war of IDEAS, and I believe that our ideas are more attractive....but they have to be articulated!
 
Written By: RAZ
URL: http://
The thing about Iran is that America has basically snubbed it since the revolution (except in a weird and counter productive arms for hostages scheme), and people assume the worst of its leaders without even trying diplomacy and engagement. Mao’s rhetoric against the West was as bad as Ahmadinejad. Trying diplomacy doesn’t mean appeasement; if you get nothing valuable, you give nothing. But you can’t know until you talk. Instead we get disinformation about Iranian policies and even about Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric (e.g., he never ’threatened to wipe Israel off the map’), and neglect to even consider if it might be in our interest to see if engagement would yield results.

I think reality will force us ultimately to accept that Iran is a player in this, and we’re not powerful enough given the dire straights in Iraq to ignore Iran. Indeed, if we had engaged Iran in 2004 on issues of Iraq we’d have had a stronger negotiating position. But assuming the other side cannot be dealt with is never a good idea, just as assuming that the other side will deal honestly is usually not a good idea either. So let’s just call Ahmadinejad’s bluff. Say, OK, we’ll talk. Draw our lines in the sand of what we won’t accept, and lay out the issues and see if they have anything to offer. If not, well, at least we know that our position is based on experience.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
A lesson could be learned from Reagan.
While he railed aginst the SSR, talks went on, exhange programs went on, and contacts at all levels went on.

Negotiations take patience, sometimes for decades. Unfortunately, when there is a decisive shift, the talking never gets its due credit. Instead we point to some heroic act or a ’take down this wall’ speech.

With Iran, so much time and so many opportunities have been lost, that we find ourselves at our weakest point, now that the pundits are contemplating how to approach them.
 
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