Friday, September 21, 2007

Don't you remember 2006? Disgusting behavior!

When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in New York in September 2006 for the opening of the UN General Assembly, his appointment book was full.

Do you not know when someone spits in your face or are you so naive to think this demonstrates our democracy at work? If the latter, we need to have a serious talk, you need to understand what it takes to keep a democracy from crumbling-your NY behavior demonstrates arrogance and ignorance.

He had breakfast at the Intercontinental Hotel with American academics and journalists; he chatted with the members of the Council of Foreign Affairs about whether or not the Holocaust occurred; and he was expected up at Columbia for the University’s “World Leaders Forum” speakers series. Ahmadinejad gave his talk at the UN and later was greeted with standing ovations by 500 Iranian-American dignitaries at the Hilton. “We’ve really progressed,” he exulted before his audience at the Hilton, making allusion to his diplomatic forays to Indonesia, Cuba and Shanghai: “118 countries have specifically supported Iran’s nuclear program.”[1]

The world seems spellbound in the face of this populist, who says what he wants and does what he says. Ahmadinejad’s limitless self-confidence impressed the Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, who in interviewing the Iranian President found himself reminded of the triumphalism of the Ayatollah Khomeini: “I sensed the same certainty that was expressed by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini back when this confrontation began in the late 1970s: ‘America cannot do a damn thing’” (Washington Post, September 24, 2006).
In Summer 2006, only Ahmadinejad acted strategically and used his chance. He successfully undermined the American effort to isolate Iran via the UN Security Council. It was thus that he was brimming with confidence as he came to New York: “You see, 118 countries [The Non-Aligned Movement] have specifically supported Iran’s nuclear program. That’s eliminated the excuse that four or five countries speak for the ‘international community.’”[17] Even when it turned out that Michael Moore could not be reached, Ahmadinejad’s good mood remained undisturbed. Others stepped in to provide a stage: Columbia University and the Council on Foreign Relations. They reinforced the triumphalism that reminded David Ignatius of Khomeini and his “America cannot do a damn thing” slogan.

But Ahmadinejad’s self-confidence is based on the premise that he can continue to act as global populist: a kind of Arafat with a Mao look. He is obsessed by the idea that the greater part of both the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds should admire, or at least accept, Iran as the avant-garde of a movement of liberation. He needs no “carrots,” but evidently does need applause. If one would call him out – in the Islamic world, in the non-aligned movement, at the UN – his veneer of sanctity would be destroyed. America “cannot do a damn thing” only so long as it avoids the ideological struggle with Khomeinism and conflict with its traditional European allies.

1 comment:

The back of the hill said...

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and spread the word if you can.
Thanks in advance.