Along with the economic crisis, a political preoccupation around the world is trying to figure out what to make of the new American president.
Hamid Karzai joins the list today. Asked by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria about Obama’s statement that the Afghan leader has a “bunker mentality” and “seems detached” from what is happening in his country, Karzai attempts condescension:
“I was surprised to hear that statement. Perhaps it’s because the administration has not yet put itself together. Perhaps they have not been given the information yet. And I hope as they settle down, as they learn more, we will see better judgment.”
Back in this hemisphere, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, better known for invective, is trying soft soap. “Any day is propitious for talking with President Barack Obama,” he says while trying for another referendum this weekend to keep himself in power forever.
This marks a change from Chavez’s assessment last month that Obama has “the same stench” as George W. Bush after the new president expressed concern about Venezuelan support of guerillas in Columbia.
Meanwhile, the noisiest tinpot pol of all, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, also in trouble back home, has been running through the demagogue’s handbook, at first claiming Obama’s willingness to talk as a victory for Iran but now trying on a statesman’s costume.