Speaking of Ahmadinejad…

September 26, 2007 at 1:58 pm | Posted in Ahmadinejad, Foreign Policy, Iran | 4 Comments

This is probably the best analysis of Ahmadinejad’s appearance at Columbia University yesterday.

But the most tragic part of the event was the Q and A segment. The Iranian regime is as vulnerable with regards to its domestic policies as America is with regards to its foreign policy and war in Iraq. It is true that Iran has occasionally funded various groups that have been hostile to U.S. interests. But the United States has done the very same thing to Iran and much more. An example which Ahmadinejad pointed out to was Reagan’s sales of weapons to Saddam, which he used against in Iran for eight years. I can still vividly remember the sound of sirens, duct taped living room windows and American-funded air strikes.

And yet, most of Bollinger’s questions focused on Iran’s foreign policies. By keeping the focus on international issues, Columbia gave him an easy way to turn the conversation around time and again and criticize American policy. One question was why Iran was enriching uranium, which Bollinger naively ended with “would you stop?” And why should they stop? There is no evidence that they are building a bomb, they are a member of the NPT, which gives them the right to enrich uranium, and their two main open enemies — Israel and America — both possess nuclear weapons, with the former not being a member of NPT and the latter breaking its rules by not moving toward the treaty’s ultimate goal: elimination of all nuclear weapons.

Without asking these significant questions or any meaningful understanding of more than 2,500 years of Iranian history, Columbia provided an environment for Ahmadinejad to criticize American policy, divert every viewer’s attention from the country’s brutalities and oppression and play to the audience’s idealist beliefs that scored him more applauses than any meaningful challenge to his stance and record on issues that mattered the most.



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  1. I liked this analysis too, but I think also that we are concentrating too much on Iran’s problems and not enough on our own. Who are we to criticize a homo and female hating society when we have legalized abortion, abu graib, the Patriot Act, Guantanamo Bay, and secret CIA prisons? Who are we to criticize their apparently peaceful nuclear energy program (according to the IAEA) when we have enough nuclear weapons to kill the world over many times? or when we support Israel in their secret nuclear weapons and don’t pressure them to sign on to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, while we ourselves are in violation of the spirit of the NPT with our new generation of nuclear weapons testing? What sort of moral authority do we have to be drilling Ahmadinejad on supporting terrorists when we have supported some of the worst of them, including terrorists that work in Iran?

    We sure are good at drilling the next handpicked enemy of the USA, while embracing much worse, and ignoring much worse in ourselves. Truly, we are like the pharisees who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.

  2. There are also ones on Steve Clemon’s thewashingtonnote.com and by Gary Sick of Columbia University on the Council of Foreign relations (cfr.org).

  3. My problem with Ahmadinejad is my wife likes his eyes and thinks he’s cute. My father-in-law occupied Oliver North’s STOC seat at the Pentagon, so she fell quite a distance from the ol’ tree.


  4. heh too funny.

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