Sunday, December 31, 2006

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Is Scoundrel Of The Year

In the grim year that was 2006, no figure behaved more provocatively and fundamentally out of accord with humanitarian values than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran. He is my choice for "Scoundrel of the Year."

Adverse results in local Iranian elections in December, and demonstrations against him by students in Tehran again cast doubt on the legitimacy of Ahmadinejad's election in the first place in 2005. That election may well have been stolen, and apparently there are powerful elements in Iran opposed to him.

But, still, he confirmed many times during the year that he is a sinister and threatening figure.

Iran's determination to defy world opinion and proceed with development of its nuclear capability profoundly disturbed many countries, but, as in the past, the United Nations showed it was incapable of taking firm action that would preserve the peace. The Security Council passed a weak sanctions resolution, but Iran immediately defied it. Russia in this case stood in the way of definitive international action to change Iran's course.

Ahmadinejad unquestionably has the support of the Mullahs who dominate Iran for his nuclear policy. But there is some question whether he has their total support for his repeated calls to "wipe Israel off the map" and his questioning whether the World War II Holocaust, the murder of millions of Jews by the Nazis, ever took place.

We have learned in the past that when psychopaths conspire to do evil, they often telegraph their intentions by provocative language. So Ahmadinejad's threats cannot simply be dismissed as fulminations without much chance of ever being implemented. Should Ahmadinejad actually get the chance to wipe out Israel, if Iran does succeed in acquiring nuclear weapons, he could well try to do it, even if Israel's own nuclear retaliatory capacity could lead to the destruction of Iran in the process.

Ahmadinejad's sincerity is demonstrated by Iran's support of Hezbollah, its conspiring to overturn the legally elected Siniora government in Lebanon, its backing for Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank and its support for extremist Shiites involved in sectarian murders in Iraq.

Iran, fortunately, does not have the power or skills of Nazi Germany, but the Ahmadinejad regime is the closest thing we have seen in the world since the Nazis were crushed in 1945.

This will be a continuing challenge to the world, unless the opposition in Iran gains power, or other means are used to remove Ahmadinejad from his present position.

In the last couple of days, I've chosen Dean Baquet, ousted editor of the Los Angeles Times, as journalist of the year, Time magazine reporter Michael Duffy as mistaken journalist of the year, and the victims of sectarian murders in Iraq as persons of the year. These choices, I believe, represent the significant trends of 2006.

Hopefully, 2007 will be a better year. Let's all take resolutions to help bring that about.
So, everyone, Happy New Year.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy New Year!

You've fullfilled the promise of the internet with your passionate and informative blog. Thank You--

Best wishes for an inspired 2007.

12/31/2006 10:37 AM  

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