“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Oliver Stone Making a Movie about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Stone chatting with Fidel.

Stone plans Ahmadinejad the movie

Ed Pilkington
Wednesday August 29, 2007
The Guardian

One minute, he's denouncing George Bush, the next he's accepting an invitation for a biopic from Oliver Stone. No one can accuse Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of leading a dull life.

Barely had the dust settled on the war of words between the Iranian president and his counterpart in Washington yesterday than Mr Ahmadinejad was fielding questions about his prospects in Hollywood. To go from a pronouncement about Iran's nuclear future to a discussion about his own potential celluloid future without stuttering was quite an achievement.

Quizzed about Stone's desire to make a documentary about his life, Mr Ahmadinejad said: "I have no objection, generally speaking." Stone has a history of documentaries on American figures of hate. In 2003 he made a film on Fidel Castro which was praised on the left for debunking the myth of a Cuban monster and condemned by the right for soft soaping him.

That Mr Ahmadinejad should have no objections to being the next subject of a Stone documentary comes as a surprise, as the last word heard on the matter was a rejection. Last month the Iranian president's media adviser said Mr Ahmadinejad was against the movie.

"It is right that this person [Stone] is considered part of the opposition in the US, but opposition in the US is a part of the great satan. We believe that the American cinema lacks culture and art," he said.

To accuse one of America's most famous artists of coming from a country with no art is one thing; to accuse him of being part of the great satan quite another. Stone shot back: "I have been called a lot of things, but never a great satan.

"I wish the Iranian people well, and only hope their experience with an inept, rigid ideologue president goes better than ours."


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  2. "The end of state-craft"

    The O’Hanlon-Pollack Iraq trip report provides 13 pages of detail about their findings. In sum, their report confirms what Westhawk and other analysts concluded many months ago, namely that American company and field-grade military commanders are establishing useful relations with local Iraqi leaders across the center of Iraq. This has resulted in excellent results against al Qaeda in Iraq, some progress against the Shi’ite Mahdi militia, and some local economic and political development.

    Meanwhile, Messrs. O’Hanlon and Pollack report that political progress inside Baghdad’s Green Zone remains nonexistent. This confirms all evidence visible in the open media. Beyond the failure of Iraq’s central government, there is little evidence of cooperation or improving relations among low-level leaders across Iraq’s sectarian boundaries.

    The authors recommend that the U.S. government “reinforce success, not failure” by focusing its efforts on local and decentralized operations and objectives. This matches long-standing Westhawk advice. The authors also suggest that the U.S. government:

    … explore how the United States might fall back from the current strategy in more limited ways, for example allowing ethnic consolidation and displacement in some zones that are hard to preserve in their current multiethnic form while preventing that process from escalating.

    Advice Westhawk suggested again just a few days ago.

    Writing today at the Belmont Club, Wretchard posted his analysis of the Iraq trip report, which included this view:

  3. The Sadr boys and Hakims boys are going at it in the holy city of Karbala, I think is the name of the place. Where one of the 'holiest shrines' of all islam is at. Fire away. Nite.