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September 26, 2007

Lee Bollinger, Courageous Man Of Principle

We found out with Ahmadinejad how Columbia President Lee Bollinger introduces foreign leaders who are (1) unsavory and (2) Official Enemies of the United States. Bollinger doesn't back down! He tells it like it is!

So, how does he introduce foreign leaders who are (1) unsavory and (2) Official Friends of the United States? John Caruso has the details.

Posted at September 26, 2007 04:37 PM | TrackBack

A very good post and I could not agree more. Bollinger was not the only one to take advantage of the situation. Bloomberg and Clinton also partook of a little grandstanding.

From the WaPo:

Michael R. Bloomberg (I) minced no words. "I happen to find his views disgusting, disgraceful, abhorrent," he told reporters Monday.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) joined a host of presidential candidates in blasting Ahmadinejad, and Columbia for even asking him to speak. "If I were the president of a university, I would not have invited him," Clinton told CNN. "He's a Holocaust denier."

Certainly Ahmadinejad is awful as a leader but are our leaders any better? Are they really?

I found the whole thing embarrassing to say the least. Apparently Americans need to have their diapers changed more often and burped twice a day. And what did Bloomberg and Clinton have to lose with their remarks, nothing, but they had everything to gain and with no pain on their part. I hope we all note how Hilllary cannot wait to unabashedly use any situation to create an atmosphere of fear and hate that leads directly to nuclear bombs over Iran.

Posted by: rob payne at September 26, 2007 06:01 PM

There was a nice bit in the Nation about a student speaking from an alum's perspective, giving the same basic story about Musharraf, here:

As to whether our leaders are better, I would say the question is in degree rather than in kind. If we magnified Ahmadinejad's power to the level of George Bush's nearly god-like capacity for destruction, I wouldn't say there would be much difference. Well, maybe less imperialism. But who can say?

Posted by: saurabh at September 26, 2007 06:13 PM

Yes, a matter of degree certainly, a very good point because Iran is not the threat that our leaders have magnified it as though I am sure that fact is merely an oversight on their part. Cough.

Posted by: rob payne at September 26, 2007 06:35 PM

Well, that's right, but "leaders" are, with few exceptions, egomaniacal brutes. They're very much like the top dogs of mafia families.
The few decent heads of state tend to be benign bureaucrats (Scandinavia, current Germany...)in relatively small countries. The bigger they are, the worse they tend to be. Latin American and African dictators imitate the big boys, small family values yearning to get bigger.
Bollinger kisses rings or tosses darts. That's academe.
"We don't need no stinkin' leaders." I wish.

Posted by: donescobar at September 26, 2007 07:08 PM

I like that, kind of the fractal theory of national leaders.

Posted by: rob payne at September 26, 2007 10:29 PM
Certainly Ahmadinejad is awful as a leader but are our leaders any better? Are they really?

Yeah, but our hazing rituals really have the potential to make the other guys look better. So it sort of evens out.

Watching Ahmedinajad run the gauntlet with that smirky smile on his face is quite entertaining and makes him look like the kid that blows you off despite any criticism that you may fling his way. I saw a short clip where someone followed up the, "You sure there's no gays in Iran?", and he seemed to laugh it off with , "Well, I don't know or hang with any", which I found a fairly acceptable answer in front of that pack of wolves.

And Saddam? That dude never looked so good until we gave him dignity on execution(?) day that made us look vengeful, petty and clownish. When you get into a tiff with Saddam and HE winds up looking more dignified and more mature, than we's got real problems there. And not just with image.

Observing the diplomatic finesse of Bollinger in action makes me cringe. This is apparently where our foreign policy intellectuals get the signals on how to elevate Saddam's and Ahmadinajad's standing in the world.

I have such hopes for future Columbia graduates heading out into foreign policy work.

Posted by: Ted at September 27, 2007 08:48 AM

Ah, the myth of "The Age of Reason", the enlightenment of Man, the belief in the common good, tossed out with the Baath Waterboard, I suppose. Why would The President of Iran even SUSPECT he could change the minds of OUR Academeia? They are rabid dogs slobbering for war. (NO DRAFT)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at September 27, 2007 04:46 PM