Yes, it’s that time of year again — time for the annual Mahmoud Ahmadinejad roadtrip to New York, to which the annual UN General Assembly opening happens to be appended.
If only by contrast with the usual migraine-sustaining tedium of UN proceedings, these visits, involving their own special brand of totalitarian burlesque, are never dull. For four straight years now, Ahmadinejad has managed every September to come up with fresh antics. Who can forget his interest last year in dropping by Ground Zero? Blessed relief — that was foiled. But along with dining and whining with select members of the media, he did get to Columbia University for a speech in which he offered to his ivy league audience the epiphany that no one in Iran is gay.
One of my favorite Ahmedinejad roadshow moments came during his New York visit in 2006. Iran was at that stage in volation of the first in a series of UN Security Council resolutions demanding that Iran halt its program of uranium enrichment. Ahmadinejad gave a press conference in which he said that none other than Kofi Annan, then Secretary-General, had told him not to worry about it.
And of course in 2005, during Ahmadinejad’s maiden speech at the UN, there was the aura, or halo, which he was sure appeared around his head while he was at the podium, speaking to the eminences of the UN General Assembly.
This year, while fresh and surprising thrills might lie ahead, he has already come up with a proposal which, to my shock, I find I can entirely support. He’s actually on to something. The Tehran Times, getting a jump on the news, reports that “Ahmadinejad Proposes Moving UN to an ‘independent state.’ “ Apparently he has in mind someplace “where everyone can make comments… with no limitation.” That would seem to rule out Iran itself, where there are all sorts of limitations on what “everyone” can say. But wherever he wants to take the UN, the proposal would at least have the salutary effect of getting it out of the United States — thereby removing some of the credibility and maybe even some of the billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars that flow yearly into providing a global stage for Ahmadinejad and his ilk.