It’s hard to really understand the workings of the mind of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but this brief quotation from his letter of yesterday to President Bush could hold a significant clue:
Liberalism and Western-style democracy “have not been able to help realize the ideals of humanity,” said the letter, obtained late Monday by The Associated Press.
“Today these two concepts have failed. Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the Liberal democratic systems,” it read.
Shattering and fall? There are a lot of wisecracks that come to mind (just as there are every time Ahmadinejad speaks) but this is a serious matter, obviously, and the Iranian president may be revealing more than he thinks here. Leaving aside that Ahmadinejad is supposedly the victor in a “democractic” election himself, the Iranian leader is trumpeting the demise of his principle enemy (liberal democracy) because he fears it is winning. He undoubtedly views the Iraq War from a radically different perspective from the editors of the New York Times or a student demonstrator in St. Germain. The former two see it as abject failure but to Ahmadinejad, Iraqi democracy, for all its myriad inadequacies, is a nightmare that, despite Iranian infiltration of the Shiites, will not go away.
UPDATE: Meanwhile, here’s a positive development of which I was entirely ignorant.