Posts Tagged ‘Ahmedinejad’

NYT’s Cohen: Arabiya interview signals end of War on Terror

January 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Roving New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, reporting from Tehran, makes the bold statement that President Obama’s interview with Al Arabiya signals a shift from the ideological War on Terror to a strategic struggle against terrorist groups.

What’s left is what matters: defeating terrorist organizations. That’s not a war. It’s a strategic challenge.

The new president’s abandonment of post-9/11 Bush doctrine is a critical breakthrough. It resolves nothing but opens the way for a rapprochement with a Muslim world long cast into the “against-us” camp. Nothing good in Israel-Palestine, Afghanistan or Iran could happen with that Manichean chasm.

Sounds a bit too aggressive to me, but maybe he’ll be proven right. Also not buying: Iran.

Still, words do not alter the fact that the post-Gaza challenge facing Obama is immense. Here in Iran, where anti-American rhetoric is too significant a pillar of the 30-year-old Islamic Revolution to be lightly sacrificed, the response to the president’s interview was cool. It came as the government, citing the Israeli assault on Gaza, approved a bill to investigate and prosecute alleged war crimes anywhere in the world.

President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad said change under Obama was good but would only be credible if America apologized to Iran for its role in the 1953 coup, among other things. The hard-line daily Kayhan said: “Obama follows Bush’s footsteps.”

—David Graham, Trinity ’09 and editor