Iranian President Ahmadinejad spoke today at the United Nations. The occasion was a meaningless conference on strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Ahmadinejad was the only head of state to attend the gabfest.
He spoke for about 35 minutes. During that time, he attacked the U.S. for, among other things, its past use of nuclear weapons, its alleged threats to use them in the future, and its “double standard” of seeking to prevent other countries from obtaining nukes while tacitly accepting that Israel has them. Ahmadinejad’s goal, quite plainly, was to embarrass the U.S. while reaching out to developing nations by arguing that the current world order favors the West, as it no doubt does.
About ten minutes into the tirade, the delegations from the U.S., Great Britain, and France walked out. Needless to say, they were not joined by the delegations from Russia and China.
Consequently, Ahmadinejad scored a double victory. First, the walk-out helped cement Ahmadinejad’s considerable status with those who resent the U.S., Great Britain, and France, and served to reinforce the image he was sketching of an arrogant West unwilling to listen to criticism. Second, the fact that Russia and China didn’t join in symbolizes the isolation of the U.S., Great Britain, and France on the issue of dealing quasi-seriously with Iran’s drive to obtain nukes.
I’m not suggesting that the U.S. should not have walked out. Any show of testiness by this administration at someone other than an ally comes as a small bit of relief at this point. But testiness is no substitute for sound policy. And it is apparent that the U.S. has no policy reasonably calculated to prevent our raving Iranian enemy from presiding over a nuclear arsenal.
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