Relations between the US and Iran reached a new low today when Barack Obama drew a line across the playground with his foot and told Mahmoud Ahmadinejad , "I warn you: if you step across that line I'm going to thump you."
Ahmedinejad responded by sticking out his tongue and going "Ner ner ne ner ner." Instead of taking a step forward he then took a step to the side.
Obama responded by saying, "You'd better watch out. The line might have moved. Anywhere you walk you could be crossing the line."
The upping of the playground ante comes after months of exchanges of taunts. Ahmedinejad has already said to Obama, "I'll get my dad to beat your dad up. And my dad's bigger than your dad."
Obama made the counterclaim, "Yeah, but my dad's got a bigger car and he'll come and smash into your dad's car."
Child psychologists say that Obama takes the role of a typical bully in the playground exchanges, while Ahmedinejad is the archetypal annoying kid who can't keep his mouth shut.
The taunts took a more sinister turn earlier this month when Ahmedinejad informed Obama that he had a knife at home, and that it was "a proper flick knife and everything. They're not even legal."
Obama responded with, "Yeah? Well I've got nunchucks at home and nunchucks can always beat a knife. I'm going to start bringing them into school."
None of the claims made in the highly ritualised playground taunts have yet been tested, though taunts between similar antagonists have led to violence in the past. Observers say that while Obama is undoubtedly the bigger of the two, he and playground bullies like him have a history of stupidity that often undermines their efforts to be 'king of the playground'.
At the time of writing no teachers could be found to intervene.