CNN.com’s Reggie Acqi hosted a terrific discussion with four bloggers — Adam Kushner of Newsweek; Omid Memarian from Human Rights Watch; Fausta Wertz of Faustasblog.com, and myself from The Washington Note — on the subject of American engagement with problematic countries and leaders, like Libya’s Qaddafi and Iran’s Ahmadinejad, during the United Nations General Assembly.
Qaddafi really did make me chuckle when he said that the UN should be moved out of New York because of his jet lag — and that he thanked President Obama for hosting him for his first ever UN General Assembly visit, commenting that President Obama should be President for life.
As much as Colonel Qaddafi can frustrate folks as the UN’s court jester this week, we need to remember that in the realm of serious nuclear non-proliferation matters, Libya is a success story. Iran is not. I would be happy to tolerate all sorts of lesser problems with Libya in part exchange for getting off the rogue nation track. People need to keep that in mind as they ridicule Libya’s leader. I found that he made this week here much more dynamic and interesting – and he added some creative drama.
I also spoke about the Israel/Palestine meeting that President Obama organized yesterday, and the President’s home run speech today.
In my comments on CNN, I also got to reference that President Obama will be chairing tomorrow morning a head of state-level meeting of the UN Security Council on nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament, though I said US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice was chairing. Small goof, but Ambassador Rice is the key scripter of tomorrow’s historic meeting and also had major input into the President’s UN General Assembly speech today.
As a side note, I want to give a shout out to Basel Hamdan, a producer for Michael Moore. I had not met Basel until today, but he was kind enough to abandon the paparazzi-followed Moore for a moment in the Time Warner Building in New York and walk over to me and ask if I might be “the blogger.”
Basel has followed TWN for a long time — and I too am a big fan of Michael Moore’s provocative documentaries (and can’t wait to see Capitalism: A Love Story). And then Basel introduced me to Michael Moore who was gracious enough to say that he too had looked at the blog — made my day (!)….and got me hooked on his next film even before I’ve seen it.
Here’s the trailer to make it easy for you.
Moore has been saying he is going to give up making documentaries as the Dems got in and not a lot has changed. He wants to make some fiction. I want him to keep doing what he is doing.
So, enjoy the exchange posted above, but also — those of you who admire the iconoclastic Michael Moore like I do — ask him to stay in the business of holding a mirror squished against the American face. And if you aren’t into Michael Moore, well…keep it to yourself today.
— Steve Clemons