Iran, Thirty Love

Well, at least it’s nice to know that Bush is determined to keep Iran as our enemy forever or as long as he remains in office.  It’s kinda comforting actually, like an old blanket or really well worn in underwear.  Meanwhile, I find myself growing a little more aggravated that Iran is continuously making us look like utter dupes.

It began when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had scheduled a trip to New York to speak in front of the UN.  While he was there, he figured he would pay his respects to those who died in the World Trade Center attacks, as well as take up Columbia University on its invitation to deliver a speech before the student body.

The trip could have hardly gone better for the Iranian president.  First, we snubbed him on the trip to Ground Zero, and he was almost laughed out of the building when he spoke at Columbia.  For the chest thumpers, this was a total victory, America had shown how tough it was in the face of the ultimate evil; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

For those who enjoy a more subtle, nuanced approach to foreign policy, the events surrounding Ahmadinejad’s visit were a little less sunny.  First, when it came to Ground Zero, that was in general pretty much a bad call.  This was the second attempt by Iran to sincerely pay its respects to what we have lost, and the second snubbing.  And for what?  Oh, yes, to continue the war drums against Iran, I nearly forgot.  Columbia, on the other hand, was a mixed bag.  I think it was Matt who said that the laughter would prove to be the best medicine against Ahamadinejad.  That this man so demonized by the media could be wittled down to the butt of a joke (and the “We don’t have homosexuals” bit was pretty funny) was a powerful sentiment.

But to the downside, this played well in the Iranian media, with the Ahmadinejad administration artfully describing the entire trip as one into the lion’s den.

In short, we could have handled the entire trip like adults, but instead we chose to act like twelve year olds.  Great foreign policy that.

But now there’s a new twist to the game.  Now an Iranian University has invited President Bush to speak.  But don’t get your hopes up, he’s not taking it.

Iran’s Fars news agency reports Ferdowsi University in the northeastern city of Mashhad asked Mr. Bush to attend a question and answer session with students and professors.

The White House says it is not taking the invitation “too seriously.”

Spokeswoman Dana Perino says Mr. Bush might consider making the trip if Iran was a free and democratic society and allowed its people freedom of expression, and if Iran was not pursuing nuclear weapons and advocating the destruction of Israel.

Continuing the policy of punishing dictators by not talking to them, or, apparently, even the universities in their country, Bush took this as a great opportunity to levy more charges at Iran, continue the beating of war drums, and in general insult Iran.  He nailed the trifecta.

But is this really that great of a move?  I’m tempted to say no.  For one, it now makes Ahmadinejad, particularly among Iranians but elsewhere too, look stronger than Bush.  Ahmadinejad was willing to go to the lion’s den and speak his mind.  Bush, on the other hand, is cowering away from the Iranian people.  Also, it brings into question whatever message Bush has to deliver if he’s not willing to deliver it to the Iranian people.  One is left to wonder what he’s afraid of.

Further, such an act is particularly risky for the Bush administration because depending upon his reception and treatment, such an event may actually go to prove that there is even less reason to want to go to war in Iran, and we can’t have that.

And that’s what this is about, keeping the monster a monster.  Had even the slightst inkling of diplomacy on our side been on display, heads of state might get to talking, and maybe we might be able to step back from the brink of war we are currently dangling from.  Arch Chancelor Cheney wants his war, and Bush is all too ready to give it to him, so such diplomacy would be disastrous.

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