Sharing a Cab with an Ayatollah

My Only In Davos moment this morning: sharing a cab from the train station to the conference center with an honest-to-goodness ayatollah, Mahdi Hadavi. He was a panelist at a session I attended yesterday, on faith and modernization, moderated by Tony Blair – that was the panel where I was so impressed by Rick Warren. Given the state of Davos traffic, we had enough time for an interesting conversation, about Tony Blair and Barack Obama.

Hadavi said on the panel that he was impressed by Blair’s moderation now – but that he was very unimpressed at the way in which moderates like Blair seem to transmogrify into extremists when they come into power. He said that all of the presidential candidates in the US were essentially the same, as far as he was concerned: committed to entrenching America’s status as the sole global superpower. Obama, he said, was just as committed to that end as the rest of the candidates, while he ought to be more focused on domestic issues within the US.

That’s one of the good things about Davos: it makes it impossible to think of anybody else as "other" when you chat away with them and realise their views would really not be out of place at a Brooklyn dinner party.

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