Prudish by American standards, we are slightly wayward by Iranian ones; nationalistic according to Americans, we are politically aloof according to Iranian elders; culturally proud by Iranian measures, we are often considered snobbish by American interpretations.
Ayatollah Khomeini's regime had, in effect, manipulated the results of the 1980 US elections by ensuring Reagan's victory. Such on-again/off-again, under-the-table 'I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine' politics continue to this day.
Von Hoffman rings the death knell for the 'American Century', claiming that despite its current braggadocio and so-called victories in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US has failed in its effort to bring any stability to the region.
In the 2004 US Presidential Elections, voters are faced with two northerners, but one is posing as an adopted southerner that everyone seems to have forgotten was adopted. Yet the façade of the 'northerner' vs. the 'southerner' and all the implicated strengths and weaknesses of those identities prevails, and history gives 'em each a 50/50 chance of winning.
Eerily mirroring the Internet's romance boom in the '90s, which saw the whopping rise of users flocking to matchmaking and personals websites, television has now cashed in on the demand-for-romance phenomenon by stepping in as matchmaker extraordinaire... with, more often than not, painful results.
Perhaps the most telling sentence in the book is at the very beginning: 'Religious terrorism arises from pain and loss and from impatience with a God who is slow to respond to our plight, who doesn't answer.'"