Ahmadinejad in New York

Once again, Iran’s despot manipulates a global forum to advance his fanatical ends.

America’s favorite megalomaniacal thug, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was back in town yesterday to deliver a preview of what is expected to be a blistering anti-Western diatribe before the United Nations. Tuesday, Tehran's despot wasted no time hectoring the West about the evils of capitalism and its “unjust government structures.” Ahmadinejad is something of an expert on unjust government structures, considering he has been “elected” in two very controversial "elections" and is the head of state of a misogynist, fanatical, repressive theocracy. The fact that the UN continues to provide a forum for dictators like Ahmadinejad further undermines whatever remains of that body’s credibility. The Iranian leader’s rants always evoke cheers from fellow tyrants who use the United Nations to alternately denounce the West and plead for more aid, but for the rest of the world, Ahmadinejad’s harangues grow ever more tiresome.

Were it not for the fact that Iran is both hellbent on destroying Israel and is moving ever closer to developing the nuclear means to accomplish that goal, it would be easy to dismiss the nation’s president as a joke. As it stands, the world has good reason to worry about Ahmadinejad, but those fears should provide all the more reason to deny him access to a forum that lends an air of legitimacy. Sadly, that has not been the case.

Ahmadinejad blamed those “unjust government structures” and “transnational corporations” for the world’s woes, declaring that capitalism is on death’s door. Yet, one cannot help but wonder how many of his abused, impoverished countrymen yearn for a bit of capitalism today. The Islamofascist regime that the Ayatollah Khoemeni founded thirty-one years ago hasn’t exactly created the paradise on earth that the mullahs promised. Except in the case of the mullahs and their hired hands, of course. Iran should be awash in petro-dollars. Instead, Iran’s leaders have squandered billions upon billions to develop nuclear weapons while millions of Iranians wallow in poverty and despair. No rational person in the civilized world believes that a country floating atop as much cheap, readily accessible crude oil as Iran would find nuclear energy economically desirable. Ahmadinejad knows that, but the lie that Iran needs nuclear energy to survive rolls as shamelessly off his tongue as do all his other mistruths.

Ahmadinejad urged world leaders to prepare for a new world order, now that capitalism is supposedly on its way out and presumably Pax Americana is set to expire along with it. Here, the Iranian President sounded a lot like his American counterpart. The biggest difference between the two is that Obama’s version of a new world order in the post-American era involves a broad global coalition in which America sagely sacrifices its principals and visions at the altar of multiculturalism. The Iranian vision places Iran in the leadership role within the Muslim world, which of course means that Iran would be the center of the new caliphate and that it will thus dominate the globe. At least that’s the future according to the Iranian President’s dreams. That will be a tough sell among the Sunni majority within the Islamic world, but Ahmadinejad has never been one to let practical realities get in the way of fanatical religious fervor. It’s clear that he believes that once he has the bomb and an accurate means of delivering it over long distances, anything will be possible. Once Israel is destroyed, he’ll have the House of Saud groveling at his feet and, by extension, the oil-hungry West as well.

The biggest worry with Iran in general -- and with its possible possession of nuclear weapons in particular -- is that the Iran’s leadership cannot be considered rational in any sense of the word. Ahmadinejad’s bizarre, often contradictory pronouncements emphasize the point. Sometimes, he calls for Israel’s destruction and says that the “Zionist and racist regime that occupies, creates wars, terrorizes, and destroys the homes of people, and prevents people from accessing water, medicine, and food in their own home, attacks its neighboring countries, and threatens everyone around.” Yet, this is the same man who extolled the virtues of peace and justice before the UN yesterday, calling for good deeds and compassionate coexistence around the world.

Those who believe that the United States should just learn to live with a nuclear Iran as part of a new, 21st century version of realpolitick ought to be given pause by Ahmadinejad’s bizarre, schizophrenic pronouncements. The doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction worked for forty years during the Cold War because the West’s chief nuclear-armed opponent thought about its survival, its identity, and its goals in recognizably rational terms. MAD can’t obtain when applied to a nation, an ideology, and a ruling-class that are about as far removed from Western values and ways of thinking as the Klingon Empire.

Every time that Ahmadinejad takes his show on the road, one is torn. Is Iran’s President a brilliant fool, or a foolhardy fanatic? Ultimately, the answer doesn’t matter all that much. Ahmadinejad is a dangerous man who controls a very dangerous state. Whatever the combination of megalomania and fanaticism that lurks in his soul, his goal is clearly to make the civilized, prosperous Western world dance to Shia Islam’s tune. And, every time he manages to convince the UN to provide him with a forum to advance his murderous agenda, he gets another step closer to achieving his nefarious ends. There is little hope Ahmadinejad's speech slated for Thursday will have any different outcome.