In addition to the disturbing fact that a man of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s ilk was allowed even to speak at the United Nations yesterday (a fact that surprised not a single observer of the UN), one should take pause at the reception afforded the man who has persistently threatened war and who currently stands as the world’s most evil tyrant. In short, Iran’s president received a mostly warm reception. George Bush, to draw a contradistinction, was granted only a polite acknowledgment by the member states of the General Assembly.
Reporting in the New York Sun, Benny Avni writes:
Delivering a speech redolent of classical European anti-Semitism, the Iranian leader accused Zionists of controlling the banks and was embraced yesterday by listeners at the General Assembly. He exchanged a long hug with the Assembly president and was feted afterward with mostly friendly questions from handpicked reporters.
Steven Edwards, of Canwest News Services, notes:
As demonstrations against him continued outside, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad received applause inside the United Nations on Tuesday after he railed against Israel and said his country would resist the “bullying powers” seeking to curtail the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.
On the flip-side, leaders of other nations did not seem too excited to see President George W. Bush, Oliver Burkeman of the Guardian observes:
He didn’t get much of a reception: fewer than 10 seconds of polite applause – and a “thumbs-down” gesture from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, whose own speech was a typically anti-Bush and anti-Israel affair.
There seems to be an ever-growing notion that America must “repair its standing the world.” Sure, it’s old news that many nations regard America as arrogant, one-sided, and out of touch. But so what? I mean, so what if leaders of nations who sit through, and take seriously, Ahmadinejad’s vitriol regard America as out of touch? If other nations want the respect of America, it seems to me, they must be able to stand-up and walk out when somebody like Iran’s current President takes the floor.