Five minutes ago Zain Verjee almost disclosed the secret newscasters have been dancing around for months, when she remarked that President Ahmadinejad of Iran may have more in common with Latin Asmerican left wing leaders than with his neighbors.
Current events would make a lot more sense to a lot more people if they knew that of the two main Islamic sects, Shi'ism is and has always been about equality. Thus, the Iranian president's Latin American tour, scheduled to coincide with the inauguration of yet another left-wing leader, in Equador, makes perfect sense. And when he asks in a too briefly shown interview what the United States has done recently for its southern neighbors, that is anything but rhetoric.
Moving on now to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who just won a third six-year term in an election that nobody thinks was rigged, the U.S. press's comments about his plans to nationalize power and telecommunications remind me of President Bush's post re-election declaration: "I've got political capital, and I intend to spend it." It wouldn't' hurt skeptics to reflect on the comparative human value of what our president did with his political capital and Chavez's announced intention to spend his oil money to help the poor. One comentator (sorry, too tired after Memphis to remember the name, mea culpa) came close to telling it like it is when he explained that the Venezuelans need to feel that they own their own independence.
Aside from shedding much needed light on the real reason for the Shia- Sunni violence (the importance of who should have succeeded Mohamed 1400 years ago being one of equality versus elitism), it's not surprising that the leader of the largest Shia nation should cosy up to the newly empowered socialist-oriented Latin American leaders, in a world far too heavily dominated by American capitalism. The fact that these two entities - Latin America and Iran - are located in opposite areas of the world, with the United States in between, should receive equal attention with the rise of China.
I can't wrap up this coverage of the evening news without signaling that Condi Rice's current junket to the Middle East would seem to indicate that the Bush administration got at least one thing right from the Baker report: the Palestinians have got to have their state if ever things are to settle down in that part of the world. Notwithstanding her claim that this has nothing to do with Iraq, I wager she's got a deal going with the Saudis to accept an eventual American withdrawal that would leave their fellow Sunnis to their fate, in exchange for settling the Palestinian claim once and for all.
Some readers will wonder why the Saudis should care about the Palestinians. It's their hutzpa they care about.
P.S. This morning (Jan 16) CNN confirmed the deal with the Saudis.....