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Monday, October 22, 2007


What planet is Fareed Zakaria on?

Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria takes on conservatives (Norman Podhoretz specifically) who claim that Iranian President Ahmadinejad is "like Hitler … a revolutionary whose objective is to overturn the going international system and to replace it in the fullness of time with a new order dominated by Iran and ruled by the religio-political culture of Islamofascism." Zakaria responds, correctly:
Here is the reality. Iran has an economy the size of Finland's and an annual defense budget of around $4.8 billion. It has not invaded a country since the late 18th century. The United States has a GDP that is 68 times larger and defense expenditures that are 110 times greater. Israel and every Arab country (except Syria and Iraq) are quietly or actively allied against Iran. And yet we are to believe that Tehran is about to overturn the international system and replace it with an Islamo-fascist order? What planet are we on?
So far so good. But naturally it wouldn't be a column in the corporate media without the author assuring his readers (and his editors) that he's not some crazy leftist, so he feels obligated to add this:
If I had to choose whom to describe as a madman, North Korea's Kim Jong Il or Ahmadinejad, I do not think there is really any contest. A decade ago Kim Jong Il allowed a famine to kill 2 million of his own people, forcing the others to survive by eating grass, while he imported gallons of expensive French wine.
Has Fareed been to the liquor store lately? I'm not sure what kind of expensive French wine he buys, but does he really think that for the money you could spend on it you could feed 2 million people? The idea that Kim Jong Il "allowed a famine to kill 2 million of his own people" is so preposterous that I wouldn't take it seriously, were it not for the fact that a mainstream publication chooses to publish it, and for my expectation that such a preposterous claim won't even raise an eyebrow among its readers.

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