Well, if President Barack Obama is looking for an enthusiastic supporter of his approach to the aftermath of the Iranian election, he could hardly do better than Reza Aslan, Daily Beast contributor and author of How To Win A Cosmic War. Those who were fortunate to catch Fareed Zakaria's June 14th edition of GPS already saw Aslan praise Obama's approach as "very sophisticated." On the Daily Show last night, Aslan went much further, telling host Jon Stewart, "All I can say is thank you God for President Barack Obama."
Aslan was Stewart's feature guest, and the two discussed the evolution of the Iranian protests and the way in which the United States has responded. It was on the latter subject that Aslan offered Obama his effusive praise. Stewart, for his part, said he was struck by the tone of the stateside debate, and how it almost entirely treated the Iranians as abstractions: "Of course, as in any situation in that part of the world, I think it's very important for all of us here to think, 'How can we make this about us?'" Aslan agreed, remarking, "I have a hard time believing Charles Krauthammer and Bill Bennett have the best interest of the Iranian people at heart." Ha! Probably because they don't!
Aslan opined at length about Obama's approach, calling it perfect and describing the way it went a long way toward sidelining Ahmadinejad. "If you want to put an end to this movement, to this revolution tomorrow," Aslan said, "Then let's listen to Bill Bennett. Let's listen to John McCain."
In Iran, Aslan said that the situation has shifted, that it was "no longer about an election," but rather, "now it's about a revolution on the future of the Islamic Republic and the legitimacy of the foundation of that state. The stakes are much higher...the bloodshed...much greater." Iran was, in Aslan's opinion, "teetering between North Korea and China" either "militaristic" and closed, or more willing to open up.
Since I adore ecumenicalism in all its forms, I obviously admired this exchange:
ASLAN: Iranians do two things really well. We eat, and we mourn.
STEWART: Are you sure you're not Jews?
ASLAN: We're practically cousins!