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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Senatus Moronus Quae Republicanus...

With a full year still left to laugh at the deplorable state of the American right, I find myself not so much laughing as simply stunned.

The current game among the candidates is, "Yeah, well if I'm elected president I'll not only bomb Iran, but I'll kill several babies with my bare hands!"

One week a GOP candidate says people without medicare should get over it and get a job (literally the exact choice of words made), the next week a GOP candidate is attacking gay people in the military, then another GOP goof is talking about defending the vicious state of Israel "against Iran" as though the business of the State Department is to risk all US troops' lives for this bizarre escapade out in the Negev.

I've been dedicating myself to practicing my speed reading of late and the results have been absolutely astonishing. I mention this because at long last I've managed to get halfway through Abbas Milani's remarkable biography of the Shah of Iran (just buy it), a book which calls to mind a billion questions regarding Mubarak, Al-Assad, Ben-Ali, etc.

The Shah was a truly tragic figure, in the dramatically pure sense of the term; his life promised much but delivered nothing but sorrow for himself and his country. When grilled about his abuse of Iran's secret service (to spy on the entire nation), he once famously retorted that when the people of Iran "start behaving like Swedes, I will behave like the King of Sweden".

The fact is that although there was nothing remotely regal about the Pahlavis (Shah Reza Khan Pahlavi was a soldier, thug, and not much else), Pahlavi-fils was a damned sight more sane than the regime currently winning the diplomatic wars in the middle east.

Yet what is immensely depressing about Khamenei is that although I would prefer to despise him, I can't help but admit that he has already won. Russia has confirmed that there will be "no ground war in Iran"; that if Israel continues to pressure the US to invade the Russians will "take action". Lord knows what they meant by "action", but the Russians are about the last straight-talking nation left on earth. If Russia so wished, she could crucify the Israeli economy within six months and it would barely cost the Russians a thing. It also strikes me, in finishing off Martines' superb biography of Savonarola, that Khamenei has merely succeeded in creating the state that a great many of our oh-so-civilised recent ancestors wanted to create.

For me, the most interesting recent event in the saga of Ahmadi-Nejad (yes, in Persian his name is two names) versus Khamenei was when the former burst out laughing during an interview with CNN when the interviewer suggested a ground war could occur.

Such guffaws of laughter do not for political certainties make, yet with the US financially incapable of launching another economy-busting oil war, Ahmadi-Nejad is possibly entitled to laugh at Israeli threats.

All this meandering brings me back to the Grand Old Party and their tragic parade of pizza moguls, semi-literate accidental senators, and religious fruitloops. There is, simply, a political naivete about the GOP front-runners that smacks decidedly of the most puerile and dangerous recesses of American politics. It is pure Bombs Away McClay stuff; a rattling of sabers in the dark in some desperate attempt to appear ever more "American" (belligerent) than the last guy who spoke.

Sometimes I just wish Rick Perry would get up in one of these debates and say, "Look, the economy is wrecked, US industry is being destroyed by the Chinamen, the British have slipped away from us out of embarrassment, and now the Arabs have told us where to get off. I don't know jack about global politics but I do know that wars are cool! So let's go get massacred in Iran!!"

[Crowd goes wild, Perry elected with 49.2% of popular vote, something said on news about "chits", everyone tunes in to watch the US army get obliterated in the oil fields of northern Iran].

America just looks so weak these days. So helpless and messy.

The US needs to drop Israel in a hurry.

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