Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A new appraoch to Iran? Can you smell the sulfer?

It's been a pretty exciting week at the UN General Assembly this week. Hugo Chaves thrilled the crowd by accusing W. of trying to take over the world, calling him the "devil" and urging everyone to read Noam Chomsky, of all things! [Can you smell the sulfer?] Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was much more understaned but essentially said the same thing, except for the Noam Chomsky thing.

Yesterday, W. did his best impression of his 2002 speech to the assembly when he said all he cared about was thw well-being of the Iraqi people. (Don't destroy your oil wells!) This time around it's the Iranian people's turn. He told them:

"You deserve an opportunity to determine your own future. The greatest obstacle to this future is that your rulers have chosen to deny you liberty and to use your nation’s resources to fund terrorism and fuel extremism and pursue nuclear weapons." [NYT]

Now, most Iranians would probably agree with him, except for the nukes thing, they support that. This is the problem the administration's approach. The Iranians are chaffing under Ahmadinejad's heavy handed domestic policies. The economy sucks and they can't even have any fun! He's thowing liberal professors out of universities, arresting bloggers, confiscating satelite dishes (the horror!), and shutting down newspapers left and right. And most Iranians weren't happy that Iran spent so much money on Lebanon and Hezbollah etc.

There are a millions reasons young Iranians would like Ahmadinejad to get lost. But there's only one thing keeping the lid on: George W. Bush and what he did to Iraq and what they'll fear he'll do to Iran. Ahmadinejad is playing the nationalism card brilliantly, playing Russia and China off the West -- an Iranian specialty -- and playing W & Co. like a violin.


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