Thursday, September 25, 2008

Listening to Ahmadinejad on Larry King Live

Thanks to Information Clearing House even somebody like me, who does not even own a TV, can sometimes watch a TV show of some interest. This was the case today when I sat down and watched the interview of Iranian President Ahmadinejad on Larry King Live. I must admit that I had high expectations. After all "Larry King" (his real name is: Lawrence Harvey Zeiger) is a very intelligent and talented interviewer and Ahmadinejad had impressed me very much during his speech at Columbia University last year. Alas, the actual show turned out to be amazingly boring.

First, Larry King re-heated the same old nonsense about "wiping Israel off the map", denying the "Holocaust" and Iran's alledged nuclear program. The pinnacle of lameness was reach when King raised the issue of homosexuals in Iran and Ahmadinejad's alledged statement (in reality mis-translated as usual) that "there are no homosexuals in Iran" (which he never said, of course; what he did say that homosexuality was not much of a hot topic there, compared to the issue it still is in the USA).

Ahmadinejad's replies were also boring and lame. Throughout the entire interview he gave the same kind of pseudo-diplomatic half-answers which achieved only one thing: made him look like he actually did say all these things. For example, concerning the old "wipe Israel off the map" canard all he needed to say was that a) he was quoting Khomenei b) that Khomenei was referring to the racist Apartheid-like *political regime* of Israel and c) that there is no such idiom as "wipe off the map" in Persian. But no, he gave some vague explanations which as unconvincing as they were boring.

Clearly, Larry King is getting old and a little senile. All he seemed to be able to talka about was Jews and homosexuals (like these are currently the only topics worthy of interest). But Ahmadinejad's performance was even worse. For example, King asked him whether he would be willing to talk to *all* the actors in the Middle-East including Israel, all that Ahmadinejad could come up with was an bizarre statement that Israelis were "uninvited guests" in the region (which is undeniable, but no less irrelevant and, frankly, silly). He never bothered to remind King that it was Israel which was refusing to talk to Hamas (the only current representative of the Palestinian people with some credibility and legitimacy), to Hezbollah or to Iran (basically anyone who dares to defy the USraelian Empire).

If such proof was needed this interview just goes to show that Ahmadinejad is a clear liability for Iran. In a country with highly intelligent and sophisticated politicians like Khatami, Velayati or, even more so, Laranjani, Ahmadinejad just looks out of place and, frankly, a little ridiculous.

The Iranian Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei (also an extremely sophisticated and brilliant person), is in a difficult position as a result of Ahmadinejad's lack of diplomatic skills: on one hand Khamenei is cleary irritated with Ahmadinejad personally, but on the other he has to support the government in a time when so many threats are made against Iran. How does one support the government without supporting its President?

While much of the recent focus has been on Russia, the Middle-East is still an extremely dangerous place (I still think that the US will attack Iran before the end of the year) and Iran is playing a crucial role in this region. In June of 2009 the Iranian will hold their next presidential election. Hopefully, this will also be the date when Ahmadinejad retires from politics.