What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Question: Does Ahmadinejad really believe everything he says?

Hooman Majd:    He’s a politician and he understands his audience whether he’s talking to a domestic audience, whether he’s talking to an Arab audience or whether he’s talking to a Muslim audience, in Africa, or even in the American audience.  Anybody who watches him carefully and watches the interviews he gives on American television will see a kind of difference between his tone, his rhetoric and when he gives his speech in Tehran to a group of revolutionary guards for example and Hassiv people.  He understand politics very well and he understands that he’s immensely popular in the Arab world, for example, so his position on Israel is an interesting one, I mean, I don’t think he believes that Israel is a lovely country that he would want to be friends with, of course, he doesn’t.  Does he believe that Israel should not exist?  Of course he believes that Israel should not exist.  Does he believe that it should be physically demolished by nuclear weapons?  No, he absolutely does not and would he go along with an Iranian decision at some point at the highest levels and I mean, the supreme leader and a group of clerics who really, ultimately, at the end of the day control Iranian foreign policy to recognize Israel as part of a Palestinian-Israel settlement?  Yes, he would along with that. 

Question: Why did he start blogging?

Hooman Majd:    He took to the Internet pretty early, yes.  And I don’t know, he’s not that much of a blogger, I mean, he does blog on his website and… but if you look at the dates, sometimes the 3 months will go by and he hasn’t written anything but yeah, he is curious about that phenomenon, he was well aware of the internet.  One of the questions they asked him right before he was elected last time and I was in Iran during the campaign and there was this idea and the reformists were putting it at the side that he’s a hard lying conservative who’s going to ban the internet, who’s going to, you know, all that kind.  He said, “Why would I ban my kids are on the internet all day long, I can’t get them off.  My phone line is occupied,” ‘cause in Iran most people at the time are still using dial-up and that’s changed but even in 2005, people… he is curious and fascinated by the internet.

Question: What is the biggest misconception about Ahmadinejad?

Hooman Majd: By large the policies of Iran don’t, you know, certainly when it comes to foreign policy don’t change that much between presidents as they don’t even in America.  The foreign policy tactics change, strategy changes but the foreign policy of America doesn’t suddenly change when President Obama takes over for someone radically different like George Bush.  There’s still interests that the United States has that any president recognizes or in the national interest of the United States, same is true for Iran.  The misconceptions, I think, are that Iran is leadership and particularly someone like Ahmadinejad who uses belligerent language and uses the kind of language that Americans squirm when they hear such as, you know, whether it’s… Israel, I mean, it was mistranslated but when… what was translated as is Israel will be wiped off the map or should be wiped off the map, things like that, I mean, the misconception is that first, he doesn’t have the power to do anything about wiping Israel off the map or attacking another country or on system, there are checks and balances in Iran like there are in every country, it’s not a pure dictatorship in the way that we think, we think of Iran as a dictatorship and here’s this guy, Ahmadinejad and it’s easy to consider him the leader of Iran because he’s the most visible and he’s the president and he’s got his finger on the button.  They don’t have nuke right now but maybe if they do, he could just press that button, he’s a little crazy, he talks about the Messiah coming, all of that stuff is unrealistic.  First of all, Iran doesn’t… first of all, the presidency doesn’t control the armed forces, unlike in America, he’s not the commander-in-chief and there’s so many checks and balances for him to do anything, for any president in Iran to do anything that would have effect the United States, would effect our national security.

More from the Big Idea for Wednesday, June 09 2010

 

Interpreting Ahmadinejad

Newsletter: Share: