Daniel W. Drezner

Open Ahmadinejad thread

So, did Mahmoud Ahmadinejad score a public relations coup by speaking at Columbia University? He had to sit there while university president Lee Bollinger told him him, “you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator.” And that was one of the nicer things Bollinger said to him: Frankly, and in all candor, ...

So, did Mahmoud Ahmadinejad score a public relations coup by speaking at Columbia University? He had to sit there while university president Lee Bollinger told him him, “you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator.” And that was one of the nicer things Bollinger said to him:

Frankly, and in all candor, Mr. President, I doubt that you will have the intellectual courage to answer these questions. But your avoiding them will in itself be meaningful to us. I do expect you to exhibit the fanatical mindset that characterizes so much of what you say and do. Fortunately, I am told by experts on your country, that this only further undermines your position in Iran with all the many good-hearted, intelligent citizens there.

According to the New York Times account, Ahmadinejad managed to parry back efforts to pin him down… but he also claimed that Iran has no gay people. Ezra Klein’s take is that Ahmadinejad is “outwitting us in the court of world opinion.” My take is similar to what Bollinger said about Ahmadinejad’s Council on Foreign Relations appearance last year:

A year ago, I am reliably told, your preposterous and belligerent statements in this country (as in your meeting at the Council on Foreign Relations) so embarrassed sensible Iranian citizens that this led to your party?s defeat in the December mayoral elections. May this do that and more.

What’s your take?

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