Iran's genocidal President did the Apple last week....
WSJ pundit Bret Stephens attended a breakfast event starring Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His account of how Iran's Prez deftly parried questions from journalists & pundits makes for chilling reading. Stephens recounts how CNN's pompous Fareed Zakharia was toyed with perfectly by A-jad, as to Israel - Palestinian matters:
Now CNN's Fareed Zakaria asks Ahmadinejad whether he would accept whatever deal Palestinians might strike with Israel in the current negotiations.
The question is meant as a trap—if he says no, he is potentially contradicting the Palestinians; if yes, he might have to recognize Israel's right to exist. Ahmadinejad's answer showcases his rhetorical gifts. He says he has no trouble deferring to the wishes of Palestinians; he merely wishes they be represented by the people they actually elected, meaning Hamas. In a stroke, he has put himself on the side of democracy and exposed the central fallacy of the current peace process, which is that a majority of Palestinians want to co-exist with a Jewish state called Israel.
A little later, under questioning about Iran's obstruction of U.N. nuclear inspectors, he points out that the "Zionist regime" operates under no U.N. nuclear strictures. Which makes for a powerful argument the moment you accept the premises of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
By this point the questioning has become a little more testy. Ahmadinejad remains unflappable, even bemused. But there's also an undercurrent of menace in his answers, as if he knows he owes his audience the frisson of danger that is his trademark. In response to a question about a prospective Israeli airstrike, he says "the Zionist regime is a very small entity on the map and doesn't really factor into our decisions." As for a U.S. attack, he warns that "war is not just bombing someplace. When the war starts, it knows no limits."
Informed by a keen sense of history as to how Hitler outwitted the democracies in the long run-up to World War II, Stephens concludes with this assessment of A-jad:
Perhaps I haven't achieved the appropriate degree of jadedness, but my own impression of Ahmadinejad was that he was easily the smartest guy in the room. He mocked us in a way we scarcely had the wit to recognize. We belittle him at our peril.
In a follow-up column Stephens further explores A-jad's strategic calculus:
The U.S. and its European allies were quick to walk out on the Iranian president after he mounted the podium at the U.N. last week to air his three "theories" on the attacks, each a conspiratorial shade of the other. But somebody should give him his due: He is a provocateur with a purpose. Like any expert manipulator, he knew exactly what he was doing when he pushed those most sensitive of buttons.
He knew, for instance, that the Obama administration and its allies are desperate to resume negotiations over Iran's nuclear programs. What better way to set the diplomatic mood than to spit in their eye when, as he sees it, they are already coming to him on bended knee?
He also knew that the more outrageous his remarks, the more grateful the West would be for whatever crumbs of reasonableness Iran might scatter on the table. This is what foreign ministers are for.
Stephens then details attitudes in the Muslim communites around the globe, where large pluraliies think 9/11 was an inside job. In Pakistan, wehre Americans are helping Big Time with flood aid, two percent of Pakistanis blame al-Qaeda while 27 percent blame America for the 9/11 attacks.
A-jad may be nuts, but like Adolf Hitler his insanity is combined with utter ruthlessness, genocidal bent & wily intelligence. He is a good deal smarter than President Obama, who in his rambling UN address invited Iran to return to the negotiating table--nearly a full year past the administration's original end-2009 deadline--and show the "peaceful intent" of its nuclear program. A-jad, for his part, understanding far better how to use to global megaphone provided by a speech at the UN podium during UN Week, used his time to intimate that 9/11 was an inside job. It is with people like this that our Boy President seeks further peaceful compromise in which Iran surrenders nuclear weapons ambitions. Iran wins either way: if we do not protest we appear to admit that 9/11 was an inside job; if we protest too vigorously we will be accused of sabotaging possible new talks.
It goes one better, as recounted in this AP report on A-jad's UN turn: A-jad called for a UN investigation into the 9/11 attacks to determine whodunit:
The Iranian leader — who has in the past cast doubt over the U.S. version of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks — also called for setting up an independent fact-finding U.N. team to probe the attacks. That, he said, would keep the terror assault from turning into what he has called a sacred issue like the Holocaust where "expressing opinion about it won't be banned".
Ahmadinejad did not explain the logic behind blaming the U.S. for the terror attacks but said there were three theories:
_That a "powerful and complex terrorist group" penetrated U.S. intelligence and defenses, which is advocated "by American statesmen."
_"That some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East in order also to save the Zionist regime. The majority of the American people as well as other nations and politicians agree with this view."
After Ahmadinejad uttered those words, two American diplomats stood and walked out without listening to the third theory: That the attack was the work of "a terrorist group but the American government supported and took advantage of the situation."
Outrageous!, you say? Ex-CIAer Reuel Marc Gerecht sees A-jad's "parallel universe" in A-jad's UN speeches:
After Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speeches, press conferences, and interviews in New York City last week, it’s obvious the Iranian president lives in a parallel universe. This has been difficult for many in the West to grasp. The Western reflex to believe that there are “universal truths” is irrepressible.
The desire to see common sense and shared interests in the worst ideologue strikes Republicans and Democrats with almost equal intensity. Ahmadinejad and his boss, supreme leader Ali Khamenei, also believe in universal truths and the “rational” conduct of affairs—they just use, to borrow from mathematics, a different base system that allows for little overlap with the way Westerners think. The result: When we see individual liberty squashed, they see divinely guided human freedom being fully expressed; when we see women oppressed, they see women being protected from male rapacity; when we see religious hubris, intolerance, and bad taste, they see man struggling hard, against terrible odds, to be a “sincere slave of God.” When President Barack Obama talks about his continuing desire for engagement with Tehran, the Iranian president talks about America’s sins against Islam and the world’s oppressed peoples.
Look at how Ahmadinejad opened his speeches to the United Nations General Assembly. It goes without saying that no Western leader would ever invoke the second coming of Jesus Christ at a big international conference not about religion. When we see Ahmadinejad solicit the arrival and “victory” of the Mahdi, who will usher in the end of time and paradise, our instinct is to pass over such words as a personal eccentricity or a pro forma invocation that must be a matter of politesse for pious Iranians. (Not all VIPs in the Islamic Republic, however, behave in this matter with the same zeal.)
But Ahmadinejad comes to the United Nations every fall to tell the truth, to share with us what he cherishes most. The General Assembly for him is the most important bully pulpit—a dais built by infidels who must give him, a devout Iranian peasant, the chance to speak for Allah, the Prophet Muhammad, Imam Ali and his descendents, and the glorious Iranian nation, the great bulwark against unbelief and Western oppression. After Ahmadinejad gave his first speech to the U.N. in 2005, he claimed that he felt bathed in a divine light that transfixed him and, more important, the entire General Assembly.
Well, the illogic of the UN investigating 9/11 is no more absurd than that of the UN investigating Israel for imagined sins in the Gaza War, while exonerating Hamas. Both are appallingly farcical ideas, yet Team Obama does not object to the UN investigating Israel.
Michael Goodwin sees Muslim addiction to conspiracy theories we dismiss as bizarre as a major animating factor in Muslim rage today. He finds a kindred spirit, he writes, in Tony Blair, who understands what President Obama simply fails to grasp:
Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, identifies the wide acceptance of the victimization narrative as a major factor fueling terrorism. As he writes in his memoir, "A Journey," actual terrorists "are small in number, but their narrative . . . has a far bigger hold."
He says Muslim political leadership often "feels impelled to go along with this narrative for fear of losing support."
Or their heads.
Blair sees President Obama's outreach to the Muslim world as ambiguous at best. Writing of Obama's Cairo speech last year, he says,
"It was in part an apology, and taken as such. The implicit message was: We have been disrespectful and arrogant."
However, he adds: "The trouble is, respectful of what, exactly?"
Respect for Islam "should not mean respectful of the underlying narrative."
He suggests Obama has work to do. "It is the narrative that has to be assailed," he argues. "It should not be respected. It should be confronted, disagreed with, argued against on grounds of politics, security and religion."
At Commentary Blog J. E. Dyer dissects the Byzantine complexity of Russia's strategic calculus in canceling sale of its top-end missile defense system to Iran. Interwoven with US & European policies, India's policies and Israel's, Dyer's piece is rich in detail and best read in full rather than summarized by me. In a nutshell, once again Moscow plays chess while the West plays checkers.
It is all reminiscent of the famous anecdote told by Count Ciano, Mussolini's son-in-law, about the prewar meeting between the Italian dictator and English PM Neville Chamberlain. Overcome by Il Duce's professions of desiring peace, Chamberlain broke into song with "For he's a jolly good fellow..." Upon which Il Duce turned to his son-in-law with a puzzled look and asked of the untranslated serenade: "What is this song?"
No, Iran does not have a military machine that, as Hitler's did, could fight, with 1-1/2 allies, 26 allied nations to a near draw. But Iran soon likely will have what Hitler ardently desired but never came close to: deliverable nuclear weapons. America suffered 400,000 dead and 600,000 wounded in 3-3/4 years of World War II. Just a pair of Hiroshima-size nukes detonated in Manhattan and downtown DC could easily top those figures. Even one such detonation could top the 400,000-death toll.
In all this there is but one possible bright spot: unconfirmed reports says that the US & Israel developed and unleashed a superbug computer program that attacked Iran's nuclear plants. A Monday NY Times story adds much detail, but if the Gray Lady story is right about the lack of cover-up tradecraft, it intuitively makes Israeli participation unlikely. If true, Iran's program may have been badly set back, as malicious software can take over control of hardware from legitimate programs and run the hardware so that it breaks down. Leave us hope the report is utterly true.
Bottom Line. The match-up between A-jad & The One is beginning to resemble to same mismatch that exists between Tsar "Vlad the Bad" Putin and The One. When your enemy has better leaders, beware.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, 9/11, National Security, Terrorism, Homeland Security, Cyberwar, Cybersecurity, Cybercrime, Nuclear Proliferation, Arms Control, WMD, Foreign Policy, UN, Conservative Politics