Thursday, November 6, 2008

Barack Obama's Presidency: History Being Made

Barack Obama will soon be America's first black president.

I don't think who a person's ancestors were is as important as who the person is, but each ethnic group's 'first president' is a matter of some note.1 As important as President-Elect Obama's ancestry is, to some, Barack Obama has achieved another first. Before being sworn in.

President Ahmadinejad congratulates President-Elect Obama

Heads of state sending congratulations to the winner of an American presidential election is usually a pleasant routine. In the case of President Ahmadinejad, though, it's the first time an Iranian President has congratulated an American president-elect since - well, ever.

It hasn't happened since 1976, when the Shah was kicked out of the country and the Ayatollahs started popularizing the "Death to America" slogan.

This diplomatic first could mean quite a few things, including:
  • President Ahmadinejad has oil to sell
  • Barack Obama is viewed as a
    • Soft touch
    • Open-minded leader
    • Gullible newbie
  • Peace, love, and siblinghood2 are at hand
  • Something completely different
One way or another, it looks like change really is coming.

President Ahmadinejad's Advice to President-Elect Obama

A translation of the whole letter is available at the Washington Post. Here are some excerpts:

"...I hope you will choose to honor the real interests of people and justice and equity over the insatiable appetites of the selfish minority. Use this chance to serve to the extent you can. And leave a good name behind for yourself...."

"...In the sensitive Middle East region, in particular, the expectation is that the unjust actions of the past 60 years will give way to a policy encouraging full rights for all nations, especially the oppressed nations of Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The great civilization-building and justice-seeking nation of Iran would welcome major, fair and real changes, in policies and actions, especially in this region...."

This is going to be an interesting four years.

In the news:
1The next big "first" I'm looking for is the first Japanese, Chinese, or Vietnamese president. Or, for that matter, the first Hmong in the Oval Office. I'm not holding my breath, though. These things take time.

Related posts, on Individuals and the War on Terror.
2Can't say "brotherhood:" that wouldn't be politically correct.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.