I will never cease being amazed at the speed with which the world's leaders miss the point.
As I write, the Capitol dome is visible through our office windows. I'm thinking about the great ideas that America has championed for more than two hundred years. I'm thinking about freedom of speech.
Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad is feeling heat at home over the money he is spending on his nuclear program and charges that Iran has spent a fortune supporting Hezbollah while 40 percent of the Iranian people live in poverty. So he has launched a new blog
, apparently to shore-up support among conservative Muslims at home and abroad.
The site is available in four languages and says precious little in any of them. The president's first post drones on about his childhood, select Iranian history, and of course includes a reference to America as the great Satan. He also asks if the United States and Israel are trying to start World War III.
Is it good for leaders to communicate with their people? I think most folks would say so. Good for them to solicit feedback to better inform their decisions? Again, many of us would agree.
But human rights activists say that is not what is happening in Iran. They say while the president expands his already vast capacity for free speech, his government is shutting down free speech for all its critics -- online, in newspapers, on TV, radio, you name it. And recent history in Iran lends a ring of truth to the critics' charges.
I think the point of free speech is supposed to be that everyone has it, not just the people who can already say what they wish because of their wealth, position or power.
The Iranian president's blog implies that he likes the idea of free speech, but I'll bet he doesn't like what I've written here.
What do you think: Is he missing the point?