09.26.12 5:34 PM ET
Ahmadinejad, Man of Moderation
One always looks forward in a perverse way to an Ahmadinejad UN speech--one delivered on Yom Kippur, no less!--but he was a bit off his game today. (The text is here, if you're interested.)
Oh, there were a couple of mentions of the Zionist entity, but no dark conspiracies; his lone reference to the Holocaust implicitly accepted that it took place: "If some European countries still use the Holocaust, after six decades, as the excuse to pay fine or ransom to the Zionists, should it not be an obligation upon the slave masters or colonial powers to pay reparations to the affected nations?"
More interestingly than that, there was a tantalizing early mention of September 11 as "mysterious." Ah. Now we may be getting somewhere! The Mossad did it? No. He even acknowledged, without naming Osama bin Laden, that he was the mastermind behind it. He criticized the United States at one point because it "killed the main perpetrator [of the 9-11 attacks] and threw his body into the sea."
Clearly, he didn't bring his A game.
He did attack the decadent Western powers in a lengthy catechism that took up much of the speech and detailed all the bad things we've done in the world. Some of his points do have historical merit. Unfortunately for him, the representatives of the most decadent Western power of all, the Great Satan itself, weren't there to hear the jeremiad: US representatives walked out on him.
An anticlimactic farewell, no question about it. More seriously, what a blessing it will be to be rid of this demagogue and clown. He's calling it a day, and there are elections next year. What might happen? Well, I confess I haven't focused yet. One election at a time. But here is a very interesting and thoroughly reported piece from Tehran from The Times of Israel by Sabini Amidi, who ably chronicles life in Tehran for Jews and gay people and such like for different publications, that conjectures that things might get even worse there. Apparently the smart early money is on the guy who is the mayor of Tehran, and he is, shall we say, of a militaristic bent.
Well, if he's not a Holocaust denier, that's progress, I guess. And in the meantime, Ahmadinejad still has time to do plenty of damage. Bibi is a dangerous man and a demagogue in his own right, but this current bleak situation isn't his fault in the first instance.