Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ahmadinejad has slapped down the gauntlet to Washington on the fundamental issue of nuclear equality.
It matters little whether or not Westerners pay heed to Ahmadinejad’s message. It matters little even if the non-Western global majority trusts Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad posed a fundamental question:

whether granting extraordinary authority in the IAEA to the nuclear weapon States and entrusting them with the critical issue of nuclear disarmament is appropriate

Summarizing the issue neatly as “a knife never cuts its own handle,” Ahmadinejad issued to the West a fundamental challenge to its right to lead the world. What matters is whether or not this challenge will strike home in the minds of world decision-makers.

To the extent that Ahmadinejad’s message rings a bell in the minds of Cairo and Ankara and Brasilia and perhaps even Tokyo officials, not to mention the broad masses of the non-Western world, Washington will have lost stature and, consequently, power. This is not about Ahmadinejad. It does not matter if you do not like him. This is about ideas, and the question is the degree to which this idea stands on its own.

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