Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Billionaire Tea Outrage

I met an Iranian billionaire, his mother and mother-in-law for tea last night. It was a very interesting evening for me, having never moved in those kinds of circles (I was once a security guard at Prince Khalid of Saudi Arabia’s London residence, but I never actually spoke to him).

As the elderly mother was rude to the Filipina maid and the mother-in-law discussed how hard it was to keep up with which city her kids were in from week to week, I discussed the political situation in Iran with my host. What interested me was the lack of rancour when he discussed the present regime. Despite being exiled since the Islamic Revolution and abhorring the fundamentalism of the theocracy, he was remarkably sanguine about the situation. I suppose he can afford to be.

He suggested that, after years of Bush foreign policy, western governments are now screwed whatever line they take over President Ahmadinejad’s belligerence. Aggression will just nationalistically galvanise the population. Passivity will embolden Iran and make conflict more likely.

This was all very interesting and, as the evening passed, I was vaguely uncomfortable to find myself in agreement with most of what this urbane, educated man had to say. Well, for one thing he thinks Bush is a buffoon too.

What a sinfully lapsed socialist I am…

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