Friday, April 16, 2010

Dept. of Through The Looking-Glass: Iran Edition

Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, who -- in addition to being the nominally secular figurehead of the "Islamic" "Republic" run by out-of-touch, unpopular, and increasingly un-Islamic mullahs more concerned about beating the fight out of dissenters than increasing anybody's faith in God -- is also keen to serve as a life-coach for other world leaders.

Thus, he has offered a few tips on international relations to Presidents George W. Bush and, just lately, Barack Obama. As one might imagine, these tips boil down to "let Iran develop all the nuclear weapons it wants," but phrased a bit more circumspectly. However, the Egg's pressroom had a weary chuckle over this bit of tyrannical bluster:

"Obama has only one way to remain in power and be successful. This way is Iran," Ahmadinejad said in a nationally televised speech Tuesday, according to the Iranian Republic News Agency (IRNA).

Really, Mahmoud? Really? Making nice with you is the only way for an American president to remain in power and be successful? Perhaps you have misread the situation a bit.

See, the thing is, an American president attains power by persuading other Americans to vote for him. He retains it, for a second term, by doing this again. We realize it is different in counties like yours and, say, Mr. Mugabe's, and we realize that after Bush v. Gore the distinction may be somewhat blurry in your mind. But an American president's power comes from his (or eventually her) ability to say and do things that most Americans will like.

And Mahmoud? Most Americans don't like you very much. If you don't know why, ask this girl. In fact, one could argue that the President's popularity -- and therefore his power, as measured by support within Congress and likelihood of reelection -- does not in any meaningful way depend upon making you happy. Quite the reverse.

If we were, let's say, Leo McGarrey, the fictional Chief of Staff to a US president, and you were Ali Nissir, a diplomatic representative of some fictional country -- call it Qumar -- with which the US was frequently at odds, we can easily imagine sitting you down for a conversation that went something like this:

NISSIR: Mr. McGarry, I think we are both men, and we both know there is a charade being enacted here. I understand Western politics, and I understand President Bartlet is unable to admit Israel's complicity in the death of the Sultan's brother during a close election. So perhaps we could...

Leo laughs.

NISSIR: Did I say something funny?

LEO: You think the President's afraid that if he admitted complicity in Shareef's death, he would lose votes in this country? To sweep all fifty states, the President would only need to do two things -- blow the Sultan's brains out in Times Square, then walk across the street to Nathan's and buy a hot dog. ...

Leo walks out of the room.

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