"Obama's intelligent speech in Cairo has had a big impact in the Muslim world, and it is obvious that it is his presence in the White House – far more than any BBC broadcast – that is giving hope to the demonstrators in Tehran...I do not believe it could possibly have happened had John McCain been elected...Who knows whether [the Iranian protestors] will succeed, but we can safely say that the BBC and Barack Obama have done more to change Iran than Fox News and George W Bush."
So wrote London's mayor in an astonishing display of Obama Derangement Syndrome Monday.
In his British Telegraph article entitled "What has Ayatollah Khamenei of Iran got against little old Britain?", Boris Johnson sung the new American president's praises in a fashion likely to upset many a stomach (h/t NBer Right2thePoint):
There is a good reason why the ayatollah bashed Britain with such singular ferocity, and it is to do with the Iranians' changing view of America. We have been co-opted to play the role of Great Satan, because America is now led by Barack Obama, or Barack Hussein Obama, as Fox News always calls him, and it is obvious that the mullahs don't know quite how to handle him.
Obama's intelligent speech in Cairo has had a big impact in the Muslim world, and it is obvious that it is his presence in the White House – far more than any BBC broadcast – that is giving hope to the demonstrators in Tehran. [...]
The key point is that I do not believe it could possibly have happened had John McCain been elected. Why? Because McCain entertained American journalists by singing, to a Beach Boys' tune: "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran." If you want a population to abandon a hardline leadership, you don't threaten them with nuclear war.
Barack Obama has shown the Iranian bourgeoisie that America is willing to engage, to treat their country with respect, and it is that sudden hope – of a new role and status for Iran – that is driving the protesters to see if they can be rid of their crazy regime.
Who knows whether they will succeed, but we can safely say that the BBC and Barack Obama have done more to change Iran than Fox News and George W Bush.
Fortunately, such nonsense didn't go unchallenged, as Melanie Phillips, writing for Britain's Spectator, took Johnson to task:
A remarkably silly article by London Mayor Boris Johnson in this morning’s Telegraph suggests that Obama Derangement Syndrome has now spread to City Hall. [...]
Obama is thus credited with inspiring both the regime and those who want to bring it down. Truly the One has miraculous properties in Boris’s eyes.
So let’s get this clear. The Iranian protesters are trying to bring down the regime. According to Boris, they have been emboldened to come onto the streets by Obama’s hand of friendship to... the regime. Obama has repeatedly made it crystal clear to the regime that he will not act against it, will not bring it down but will ‘engage’ with it. By extending the hand of friendship to it, and thus strengthening it against its opponents both within and without, he has somehow motivated the Iranians to protest.
Moreover, it is Obama’s oratory in Cairo which is supposed to have brought the protesters out on the streets of Iran - but which, according to Boris, has made the regime less disposed to bash America.
I guess in England it's okay for journalists to battle Obama Derangement Syndrome.