One column and you're drunk.

As if fulfilling some preordained mission of total impoverishment -- political and literary -- the New York Times writer once more takes up his worst subject, Iran. Bertie Wooster once referred to a roll as tasting as though it had been made by one of the nastier-minded members of the Borgia family. He should have tried this:

I was too disgusted — by the media merry-go-round, by more incendiary provocations from Ahmadinejad, and by the sterility of an Iran debate that turns in the tight circle formed by fear-mongering, ignorance and the ghastly stew of Western carrots and sticks.

A debate turning in a tight circle formed by a stew of carrots and sticks must be anything but sterile.

But Cohen isn't finished (except in the metaphorical sense):

Iran is a paper tiger, a postmodern threat: It has many uses but a third Western war against a Muslim country is a bridge too far.

I can't tell if this is more insulting to the reader or to the dissidents surely wondering about the poststructuralist narrative of being jailed, executed and raped in Iranian prisons. 

Ahmadinejad, a breakfast companion of Cohen, is also described as 'all hat, no cattle,' and a 'bogeyman out of Central Casting'. Are cliches the new deterrence?