Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Ahmadinejad's Americanism

I know it can be hard to relate to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He's the political head of a vast Islamic theocracy devoted to anti-American and anti-Israeli rhetoric. He's much shorter than any American leader our enlightened electorate would ever allow. But his policies aren't all alien.

First, there was the much-reported episode in which Iranian bakeries started calling Danishes "Rose of Muhammad pastries" in response to the cartoon scandal, recalling the Republicans' childish obsession with Freedom Fries. And now we have Ahmadinejad's education policies.

Just like Daniel Pipes (Campus Watch) and David Horowitz (author of Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America)—not to mention our friends at FOX News and the Rush Limbaugh program—President Ahmadinejad would like to see liberals purged from the universities in order to strengthen the country's "cultural revolution". You see, Iranian universities are stuck in a morass of secularism and liberalism that threatens to derail the country from its divinely-ordained path.

And to show this comparison is not just a mirage, there's this nugget from the AP:
Ahmadinejad's call was not a surprise — since taking office a year ago, he also has moved to replace pragmatic veterans in the government and diplomatic corps with former military commanders and inexperienced religious hard-liners.
Does that remind you of anything?

Now, I'm not making a wholesale comparison between the U.S. and Iran (that would be absurd) but it is worth noticing where our paths cross. We have no problem seeing this kind of extremism for what it is—when it's happening to someone else.
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