Ahmadinejad, from Alan Millhone

September 25, 2007 |

IranSomeone invited him into the USA and Customs admitted his entry. Now we get him here and he is subjected to ridicule and verbal abuse. Two wrongs don't make a right! Even President Bush got his jabs in. The US should show we are the better people and not lower ourselves with verbal tirades while he is a guest in America. If his mind is ever to be changed (perhaps it cannot be) America and its leaders need to set a pristine example. I totally disagree with Iran's terriorist ties and abuses of human rights — but we did invite him here.   

Nigel Davies writes:

Reminds me of a live televised discussion I once saw between a British and Russian school, back in the days of the USSR. The Brit kids were incredibly obnoxious, using it as an opportunity to lambast the USSR without really knowing what they were talking about. The Soviets kids, on the other hand, were really nice and polite and tried very hard to have a normal civilized conversation. As this was televised live in Russia too, it was quite a coup in demonstrating the superiority of the Soviet child.

This sensitivity might be a games player's thing. In our tournaments and travels we have to get on with a wide range of folk who can be culturally very different. I don't see much sign of it in the Western mainstream.

Eric Blumenschein responds:

I don’t believe appeasement as a geopolitical strategy works. Neville Chamberlain was very polite to Adolf Hitler and WW2 still came around. If I am correct, Ahmadinejad was invited to the UN, not to the USA. If he thought Columbia University was going to fold over like sheep and give him the podium unchallenged, then he was obviously mistaken. Kudos to that university to call him out in a way that would never happen at the UN.

Nigel Davies replies:

Chamberlain tends to be dredged up a lot with such issues, but there is middle ground between appeasement and plain rudeness. The way this has been handled the guy will look like a hero back home for sallying forth into a hostile land. And now if they invite Bush to Iran and he declines, it can be portrayed as cowardice back home. You’ve gotta consider the other guy’s moves.

Adi Schnytzer remarks:

My understanding is he came to visit the UN and as such the US government was forced to let him in. Columbia then decided to invite him and in the spirit of democracy (which was the original excuse for inviting him) they permitted an expression of views contra his own.

Nigel Davies responds:

The issue as I see it is one of strategy. He will soar in the opinion polls back home because of his 'courage' in going to a hostile land and fighting the infidel.

What about just not giving him quite so much attention? If he can't distract the Iranian population with his slanging matches with external enemies, they're more likely to judge him on his actual leadership qualities.





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3 Comments so far

  1. Acetrader on September 26, 2007 5:39 pm

    We showed we are the better people by allowing someone like him to come in our country! We showed we are the better people by allowing him to safely visit our country and not “disappear” while here! Boy, its a catch 22 in this world, ain’t it?

  2. Eric Blumenschein on September 27, 2007 10:10 pm

    Ahmadinejad is a believer in the “mahdi”-the restorer of religion and justice who will rule before the end of the world. The “mahdi” never an essential part of Sunni religious doctrine but a central aspect of the faith in radical Shi’ism where it is also know as the return of the Twelth Iman heralded by an apocalypse,war and chaos.

    When Ahmadinejad addressed the United Nations in September 2005, he concluded his address with a prayer for the Mahdi’s appearance: “O mighty Lord, I pray to you to hasten the emergence of your last repository, the Promised One, that perfect and pure human being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace.” On returning to Iran he reflected the effect of his U.N. speech: “one of our group told me that when I started to say”In the name of God the almighty and merciful,” he saw a light around me, and i was placed inside this aura. I felt it myself. I felt the atmosphere suddenly change, and for those 27 or 28 minutes, the leaders of the world did not blink….And they were rapt. It seemed as if a hand was holding them there and had opened their eyes to receive the message from the Islamic republic.

    The political editor of Resalat newspaper, Amir Mohebian, observed, “If I think the Mahdi will come in two, three, or four years, why should I be soft? Now is the time to stand strong, to be hard.”

    In Daniel Pipes of the New York Sun, word’s, “The most dangerous leaders in modern history are those (such as Hitler) equipped with a totalitarian ideology and a mystical belief in their own mission.”

    These are not the kind of people that understand politeness

  3. Steve on October 2, 2007 4:51 am

    Alan, excellent point. Your view on how to handle A-jad reminded me of Gandhi’s admirable Satyagraha movement that eventually brought India to independence from the British Empire. I would be great if such a thing was the reality for our western culture but childish bashing is so much more fun.


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