Barack! Give Pacifism a Chance!

One of the occupational hazards of having just won the presidency, I suppose, is the tidal wave of advice, from parties near and far, that immediately crashes over you. Here’s a counselor who might make Barack Obama sit up and take notice, if he could ever hear word of what he has to say: yes, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran. We learn about Mahmoud’s suggestions to Barack courtesy of the French press agency AFP, as published in an article in the French conservative newspaper Le Figaro: Iran: Obama should opt for pacifism.

These words of wisdom, obviously issued in reaction to Obama’s election, were actually conveyed through Ahmadinejad’s press spokesman, Ali-Akbar Javanfekr, speaking on al-Alam, an Iranian TV station. (Which is why Obama will never hear of them. By the way, in the article AFP incorrectly calls the TV station “Arabic”; if you’re curious, you can peruse its English-language website.)

Said Javanfekr: “Obama needs to opt for a peaceful path to replace the military path of Bush and make friendship, justice, and cooperation the basis of US foreign policy. Obama was elected in a situation where the moral credit and position of the United States have largely been damaged because of the war-like policy of Bush.”

He even added some fiscal tips as a sort of bonus, noting that the on-going financial crisis means the American government needs to spend less. How to do that? “[T]he departure of American troops from the Middle East would help to lower considerably these expenses.”

Thanks, Mr. Javanfekr. I think President-elect Obama probably can’t give your boss’ suggestions much consideration right now, but please be sure to bring them up as a reminder when the two governments begin talks under his new administration – something €S sees as perfectly appropriate, by the way, if engaged upon with caution.

UPDATE: And then Ahmadinejad actually goes ahead and writes a letter addressed directly to Obama. This was clearly an unexpected move, not only because of all the unflattering comment directed Ahmadinejad’s way during the just-finished presidential campaign, but also because no other high official from Iran’s Islamic Republic since its very founding has seen fit to congratulate a new American president on his election.

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