Columbia's Bollinger didn't have to go into details regarding our relationship with Iran. His childish and churlish introduction was all about tone, not problem-solving. He was also catering to a certain constituency regarding Iran. I'm not talking about Jewish/Israeli protesters. There are many, many disaffected Iranians in this country who came over after 1979, who were part of the Shah's machine. They want 'their' Iran back. Just like the disaffected Cubans in Florida want 'their' Cuba back. Most of the media emphasis has been placed on the emotional Iran vs. Israel issues, but the real stakes in this game are who's going to 'get' Iran and its tremendous wealth. One of the chief reasons we invaded Iraq was to secure economic control of that nation's resources, and as a stepping stone in achieving the same with Iran. What better to approach this goal by taking cheap and over-obvious shots at an easy target, such as the current Iranian president, who we all know full well is no dictator because he does not have pure dictatorial powers. He is, however, a convenient target for a variety of reasons.
Also, we are not engaging Iran directly. Instead we engage in a coy and elusive game of teasing the Iranians on the premise that they are, as a nation, a terrorist organization. Nothing they say is to be believed anyway, so we will not dignify ourselves by talking with them. If Condi or Bush himself dared to fly to Teheran and engage in person, that could short-circuit a lot of the Iranian bravado. The Americans are purposefully timid because they don't WANT conciliatory gestures from Iran. They don't care what Khamenei says. They do, however, care very much about what Ahmadinejad says, the more outrageous and threatening the better. I have even thought that Ahmadinejad is on the CIA payroll, just to keep things stirred up. The neocon strategy requires keeping Iran hostile so that there will be high purpose in 'taking back Iran'. Even something so trivial as Lee Bollinger's rant against his guest is extremely valuable in sustaining this strategy. This situation has to be examined holistically. Getting hung up on the Iranian president's blather, meant to annoy, is as worthwhile as taking the utterances of 'Reverend' Fred Phelps as gospel. Ahmadinejad may be a head of state, but so is Bob Mugabe, and we all know what a creep he is. Ahmadinejad gets a lot of flak for smiling as he's being interviewed (e.g. white knight Scott Pelley's comment on '60 Minutes'), but how many times has Bush smirked his way through an interview? Americans who think they're right about everything usually cannot tolerate 'the pot calling the kettle black' when it might apply to them.