Saturday, March 21, 2009

What If Iran Really Means What It Says?

Making a Nixon-to-China analogy, Nathan Gonzalez says Iran's coolness in response to President Obama's video valentine shouldn't be taken as proof that his policy is either reckless or ineffectual. Though useful for domestic consumption in Iran (and sometimes in China even these days), anti-U.S. rhetoric doesn't always reveal what leaders are really thinking:
During President Richard Nixon's historic visit to the China in 1972, Mao Zedung apparently couldn't believe that U.S. policymakers had taken his "anti-imperialist" propaganda to heart. Henry Kissinger writes: "[Mao] laughed uproariously at the implication that anyone might be taking seriously a slogan which had been scrawled for decades on placards and on the walls of public buildings all over China." In Iran, the cult of anti-Americanism has inspired government-sanctioned murals that depict the United States as a wretched country, and the phrase "death to America" ("marg bar emrika") is still something of a national political slogan.
Interesting. Unless, of course, Iran really means it.

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