The supreme leader of Iran spoke to Iranian Air Force officers recently. I watched the speech on C-Span while running on the treadmill at the gym. I listened as carefully to it as I did to Bush's State of the Union speech. I fear a war with Iran is much more likely that most of us have previously thought.
A fierce war of words has already broken out between the U.S. and Iran, both at the diplomatic and chief executive levels. This is alarming. The U.S. president is being bellicose on behalf of freedom and democracy, and the Iranian government is being equally beligerent on behalf of Islam.
Some amazing photographs of Khameini's Air Force speech are here.
Here's the Ayatollah's money quote:
"Death to America! Death to Israel! Death to the Infidels!"
"America is destroyed! Islam is victorious!"
Not "Iran" is victorious, mind you. "Islam" is victorious. We've got a budding nuclear superpower run by religious zealots who are explicitly calling for the destruction of America. And we've got an aggressive U.S. administration that shows every sign of itching for a showdown with the Iran's mullahs.
The fact that Iran is run by religious zealots notwithstanding, Iran is a sophisticated society with long traditions of learning and culture. Its population is overwhelmingly young and to a large degree sympathetic to liberalism and democracy. They aren't crazy about the mullahs.
Lots of Iranian-American organizations and individuals are watching the situation closely, and doing their best to mediate and educate in what looks likely to become the world's next gut-wrenching superpower vs. Islamic state showdown.
It's time for glocalists to brush up on our Iranian geography and politics, and to reach out to our Iranian-American friends.