The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, September 24, 2010


In a speech in front of the UN General Assembly yesterday, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suggested that one of the plausible explanations for 9/11 was that it was planned and executed by the United States in an effort to “improve the economy” and prop up the Zionist regime (Israel). In a rare moment of clarity and candor, a member of the US delegation called Ahmadinejad’s comments “abhorrent” and “delusional.”

Within 4 - 5 minutes of those comments, I heard a talking head on CNN suggest that we couldn’t take Ahmadinejad’s comments too seriously because he was pitching them to his domestic audience. This is the continuing trope of those on the Left who cannot bring themselves to condemn unequivocally a man and a regime that denies the holocaust, advocates the stoning of women who have had an affair, hangs gay people in the public square, and advocates “wiping the Zionist entity (Israel) off the face of the earth.” So instead, they listen to Ahmadinejad’s words and then pooh-pooh them, suggesting that he really doesn’t mean it, and he’s just being provocative (tell that to a woman who is about to be stoned to death).

Richard Fernandez comments on this phenomonen:
The way this is going to be translated in some circles is, “Ahmadinejad doesn’t really mean what he says. He’s playing to a regional audience. What he is really signaling is a willingness to talk, and we must go that extra mile for peace by showing him good will.” And if he rebuffs them again, the translation is, “Ahmadinejad is playing hardball, but he really doesn’t mean what he says. We have never been so close to a genuine peace, etc.”

Maybe it is true. But how do we know? Ultimately Teheran must show some concrete tokens of goodwill. Their malice cannot always be put down to “holding out”. But if you are part of the agency tasked with building bridges, self-interest requires than every brick thrown your way be represented as a missive of love.

President Obama is a member of the “building bridges” brigade. Ironically, just a few hours before Ahmadinejad’s speech, Obama spoke to the same audience suggesting that the door remained open to diplomacy with Iran. He did later characterize Ahmadinejad’s comments as "offensive" and "hateful," but the word used earlier by a US spokesperson—“delusional”—is far more accurate.

And that goes to the heart of the President’s continuing attempts at dialog with Iran. How does one have a meaningful dialog with the President of a regime that is “delusional?” More important still, can we afford to allow such a regime to acquire nuclear weapons? Our current feckless policy is likely lead to that end-result.