- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.
The U.S. delegation walked out of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech at the General Assembly today, just as the Iranian president was putting forth an alternative theory about the 9/11 attacks:
"That some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East in order also to save the Zionist regime. The majority of the American people as well as other nations and politicians agree with this view."
Just from the press highlights, readers might get the impression that Ahmadinejad’s U.N. speeches are anti-American barn-burners, similar to classics by Hugo Chavez or Daniel Ortega. But the truth is they’re much stranger than that. Ahmadinejad tends to set up his political arguments with extensive discourses on theology and moral philosophy. The corrosive influence of materialism on human society is a theme that he seems to return to each year. Here’s this a sample from this year:
Nimrod countered Hazrat Abraham, Pharaoh countered Hazrat Moses and the greedy countered Hazrat Jesus Christ and Hazrat Mohammad (Peace be upon them all). In the recent centuries, the human ethics and values have been rejected as a cause for backwardness. They were even portrayed as opposin wisdom and science because of the earlier infliction on man by the proclaimers of religion in the dark ages of the West.
Man’s disconnection from Heaven detached him from his true self. Man with his potentials for understanding the secrets of the universe, his instinct for seeking truth, his aspirations for justice and perfection, his quest for beauty and purity and his capacity to represent God on earth was reduced to a creaturelimited to the materialistic world with a mission to maximize individualitic pleasures. Human instinct, then, replaced true human nature.
Human beings and nations were considered rivals and the happiness of an individual or a nation was defined collision with, and elimination or suppression of others. Constructive evolutionary cooperation was replaced with a destructive struggle for survival.
The lust for capital and domination replaced monotheism, which is the gate to love and unity. This widepread clash of the egoist with the divine values gave way to slavery and colonialism.
There really isn’t any other world leader who speaks this way on the international stage. Most Western analysts tend to gloss over the religious/philosophical portions, which seems like an oversight given the emphasis he puts on them.