Fair enough

In an increasingly fast-changing world,there are decisions being made and changes taking place everyday that affect the lives...

Written by Nikhil Roshan | Published: January 19, 2009 11:47 pm

Intelligence Squared

BBC World News
10th of every month,8.40pm
Rating ***

What is it about? In an increasingly fast-changing world,there are decisions being made and changes taking place everyday that affect the lives,economies and ecologies of millions of people across nations. As a clamorous media bombards us with facts,figures and talking heads,it’s easy to loose sense of the present or the past. The classic tradition of debating has always been a perfect way of re-examining the past and putting the present in context. Intelligence Squared,a series of topical debates,to be aired by BBC World News,begins with a very timely motion—’George W. Bush is the worst American president of the last fifty years’. A name that evokes more heated reactions in parts of the world far removed from the one he presided over for eight disastrous years,President Bush stands fairly evaluated in this debate.

Who’s in it? The debate series that are being conducted in two cities are moderated by BBC World News presenter Zeinab Badawi in London and ABC News’ John Donvan in New York. The first debate that take place in New York happens just after the recent presidential elections. Debating for the motion is Jacob Weisberg,author of The Bush Tragedy and editor of Slate magazine and British journalist Simon Jenkins of The Guardian. Karl Rove,former-deputy chief of staff to George W Bush and William Kristol,editor of The Weekly Standard argue against the motion. All four names are highly credible,heavy-weights in their fields and pose convincing arguments.

What’s hot? What’s great here is the way it brings together names like Jenkins who pose their arguments with such crystal-clarity that outshine the ridiculous pleas of conservative block-heads such as the conservative Karl Rove. Jenkins ends his introductory argument with a remarkable insight into the incredulous faith that not just the America,but people around the world have in Barack Obama. Another especially relished instance is the subtle dig the moderator takes at Kristol,revealing his willingness to defend the Bush administration as long as he could leave the economy out of it.

What’s not? The debate doesn’t involve the audience as much as say,

A Doha Debate that was conducted by Tim Sebastian. Also,the very subject in question may at times seem banal—the same way our own media repeatedly dubbed 2008 as the worst year for India since Independence. Here Kristol weakly provides ‘better’ contenders for the Worst President prize.

Should you be watching it? Future topics deal with the credibility of The United Nations followed by the financial viability of major carbon reductions. All subjects being debated are of extreme currency and it would be fascinating to hear what the best (and worst) of world leadership and media have to say on the subject. A must watch-especially for the young and cynical before their time.

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