If the Thais had to have a coup, they couldn’t have picked a better time for it — upstaging for a moment Tuesday’s all-Ahmadinejad all-the-time media coverage of the UN General Assembly.
But only for a moment. Ahmadinejad came to New York to strut the world stage, and last evening that is exactly what the UN helped him do — despite Iran’s mockery of the Security Council’s August 31 deadline to surrender its nuclear bomb program.
From the United Nations press balcony, with its view across the vast chamber of the General Assembly, there was a particularly good view of Ahmadinejad’s transmogrification during this performance from a scruffy little man in a sports jacket to Big Brother gloating over his nuclear racket. Standing in front of the dais manned by high UN officials, the whole scene set against the stage’s sweeping golden backdrop and UN emblem, he began speaking in a soft voice. He quickly got louder and louder, declaiming, ranting, and finally almost chanting, shaking his finger, slicing his hands through the air, delivering a speech packed with “truth,” “peace” “virtue” “justice” — but inverted, twisted, indifferent to facts and emptied of meaning. He lied his head off about Iran’s nuclear bomb program, he rewrote history in his continuing campaign to erase the state of Israel, he blamed on others the terrorist atrocities underwritten by his own regime. He told us that together we can “pave the road for human perfection,” and that peace and justice — as he imagines it for all of us — will sooner or later prevail, “whether we like it or not.”
All this was, as Hugh Hewitt sums it up, “chilling” — “establishing a precedent for all future rogue regimes.”
And what was the UN response? Not all UN delegations were present, but from the many that were, Ahmadinejad drew applause. In keeping with UN ritual, Deputy-Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown (Kofi was presumably at dinner) descended the dais to shake his hand.
That, apparently, is what you get at the UN these days if you are a messianic rogue terrorist-sponsoring tyrant making nuclear bombs in defiance of the Security Council. You get a lot of high-level handshakes, many on camera to beam back home to remind your oppressed citizens how powerful you are. Earlier this month, Kofi Annan himself traveled to Tehran to shake Ahmadinejad’s hand. They had the chance to meet again, at last week’s Non-Aligned summit in Cuba, where Annan thanked each and every participant for the many valuable contributions to whatever Annan’s been doing all these years. Annan’s schedule yesterday showed yet another meeting with Ahmadinejad, in New York — a few hours before the Iranian tyrant’s speech.
Whatever UN officials have been saying during all this handshaking, Ahmadinejad instead of closing his bomb factories keeps voicing demands of his own. In his speech, he demanded among other things that the UN Security Council be reconfigured to eliminate the privileged positions of such nations as the U.S. and U.K. (Russia, China and France, the other members of the veto-wielding Permanent Five, don’t seem to bother him as much). And until his full roster of favored candidates can be added, he wants seats for some of his favorite groups, such as the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Non-Aligned Movement.
What to do about all of this?
The NY Sun has a good idea: Arrest him.
Geneva-based UN Watch says: Expel him.
I’ll add to the list one more suggestion. What makes that UN stage such a prize for the likes of Ahmadinejad is the support — both political and financial — conferred upon it by the democratic nations of the world, especially the United States. If the UN can’t deal with Ahmadinejad, let Ahmadinejad deal with the UN. Get out, and give it to him. Send it to Tehran, lock, stock and reconfigured Security Council. Let him make all the speeches he wants. With that clutter out of the way, and with the $5.3 billion the U.S. would save every year, plus the considerable moral and political capital we have been squandering on the UN, we might just have a shot at creating in its place institutions that work.