Wednesday, May 10, 2006

That Wacky Letter...

USA Today presents some insights derived from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 's letter to W. the other day:

Part anti-U.S. diatribe and part religious screed, the letter Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent to President Bush on Monday is a window into the mind of a little-known U.S. adversary.
The letter shows Ahmadinejad, 49, as a naive leader whose beliefs stem from resentment and ignorance of the Western world, according to political psychologists and Iran experts who have read or seen descriptions of the 18-page letter...

Stanley Renshon, a political psychologist at the City University of New York, called the letter "both cheeky and presumptuous."...Ahmadinejad's lack of understanding of the West is reminiscent of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein when he was in power, Renshon said. Saddam "also had some very odd ideas about the United States," he said.

Ahmadinejad's "humble background" has added to feelings of resentment, Renshon said....Ahmadinejad also may be insecure about his own position in Iran, where religious leaders make most decisions.

Ahmadinejad's letter shows "the hubris of a committed Islamicist," Takeyh said.

Well, the USA Today piece certainly is preferable to the New York Times' defense of terrorists like al-Zarqawi, at the very least ...

But the Washington Post finds a reason to praise the man who has vowed to wipe the Jewish nation off the face of the earth - after all, he has entered the nineteeth century by allowing women to attend soccer matches:

...the co-optation of middle-class women was also a demonstration of the deftness with which this militant is mobilizing public support behind a once-beleaguered regime as it prepares for a confrontation with the West. Ahmadinejad practices the populism of aggressive nationalism, made familiar by the dictators of the 20th century. He pours Iran's ballooning oil cash into wage and pension increases, cheap loans and debt cancellations for farmers. He barnstorms the provinces, mixing promises of prosperity, folksy jokes and fiery denunciations of the American and Zionist enemy.
While there is no reliable polling in Iran, even the bitterest of dissidents say the president's campaign is working.

I'm just kidding about the "praise" thing - realistically, Jackson Diehl's article about the current popularity of Iran's president does present a good case for Ahmadinejad's current strength, and concludes by giving him about a year's worth of rope before the Iranian people get ready to tie it into a noose.

About a year...I believe that is a sufficient time to wait; too much longer and the job becomes significantly more difficult. In the meantime, if I was an Israeli especially, I would be planning for the worst...I hope the Pentagon is too.

UPDATE: Seriously this time, LGF refers us to an AP scribe who is absolutely smitten with Iran's man of letters:

With his 18-page letter, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered President Bush a history lesson, philosophy lecture and religious sermon laced with references to Jesus Christ.
The document gives rare insight into a man who has largely been a mystery to the West, showing him as fixated on a long list of grievances against the United States and seeking to build on a shared faith in God.
In places, he strikes a soft, almost fatherly stance. On its first page, Ahmadinejad strikes a tone of a man who is troubled by a friend's actions and decides to sit down and give him a little advice.
He ends the letter with what appears to be a last-ditch plea to Bush.
"How long must the people of the world pay for the incorrect decisions of some rulers?" Ahmadinejad writes...

The mind boggles...

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