Sunday, April 26, 2009

Second Thoughts About Durban-2

It is possible that I was too pessimistic about the result of Durban-2, at least in terms of the final resolution. Apparently, there were enormous changes at the very last minute in the text of the resolution. There is also an apparently valid argument that the NGO insanity of the first meeting was kept in check. So my mind is open on this point. I look forward to seeing more analyses as well, of course, as watching what happens to European policy especially in the aftermath.

I would add, though, that the Iranian regime scores propaganda points in the Muslim and Arab worlds by it s extremism without incurring any costs in the West. An expert who closely follows the Iranian media says that the criticism of Ahmadinejad for making Iran look ridiculous and stirring up hatred against it was extremely limited.

As that expert put it, "Within Iran, Ahmadinejad is like a winning football team, scoring one victory after another." That is not to understate the fact that his faction has many enemies, still does not control the country, and is not popular because of its economic failings.

The--it should be stressed very temporary--walk-out was both positive and a cover for not doing more.

The resolution was better but not great as it reaffirmed all the bad things in the previous resolution. And the extremist and dictatorial states are still in control of the process and no serious or systematic challenge is being mounted against them.

In short, I'm still outraged but only 20 percent less outraged! European governments should not have gone back to the conference and shouldn't have signed the resolution.

And most important of all there's nothing to change the process or the domination of the radicals, not the slightest hint of a lesson learned that it might not be a great idea to have the discussion of human rights, religion, and freedom of speech dominated by Cuba, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, and Libya.

His first step is reelection; his second, growing power within Iran; his third, along with the rest of the regime leadership, is primacy in the Gulf and Lebanon.

Who is going to stop him? At this moment, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, along with Israel--all acting separately--seem to be pretty much alone without a lot of help from Europe and America.

What's next? Listen to what Ahmadinejad says: a demand for the turning over of the international system to the radicals, playing on the anti-Westernism of the Third World and the anti-Americanism of the Europeans. This is his bid to be the creator and leader of a New World Order. This doesn't mean he thinks he'll get it.

And Ahmadinejad's next victory might well be a double-one: triumph in both Lebanese and Iranian elections in June.

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