Foreign Affairs

Academia’s Failure is Ahmedinejad’s Success

Without doubt the United States failed to deal at all — far less effectively — with Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s propaganda stunt on American soil this week. And this failure shows that the Jihadist global machine, both Khomeinst and Salafist, is winning the public relations part of the war of ideas.

In forty eight hours, the executive head of one of the most repressive regimes in the world was able to score points from the podium of one of the most prestigious universities in the US and later on — today — from the General Assembly of the United Nations. There was an opposition to the Holocaust denier, and naturally many Americans demonstrated against his appearances. New York officials opposed his visit to Ground Zero and Iranian-Americans voiced their pain for the torture and oppression his regime is causing in their homeland.

But at the end of the day, the man who oversees terror operations against American and Iraqi soldier , who threatens to obliterate entire nations with nuclear weapons so that the world can live “without them,” and who backs the leader in Damascus who is involved in the assassination of politicians in Lebanon won. Mahmoud Ahmedinejad made it to the United Nations and more importantly, to the heart of Columbia University, scoring important political points against American efforts to contain terrorism, to defend democracies and to assist peoples in jeopardy, including Iran’s.     
 
Although the Iranian regime has involved itself in major breaches of international law and in oppression for over a quarter of a century, the present state of affairs at the United Nations doesn’t enable the organization to even abide by its own charter and universal declaration of human rights. Even though his regime has suppressed and continues to brutalize their own society, including women, students and minorities; and despite the fact that Tehran’s petrodollars fund Hezbollah and Hamas; and as a nuclear bomb will soon be in the hands of the Pasdarans, this United Nations cannot stop the symbol of all these threats from performing business at the General Assembly.

Short of a major UN reform, war criminals (especially if they have the foundation of oil revenues) will continue to be honored in Manhattan’s blue building. But there was worse on New York soil.        

Columbia’s academic and administrative leadership, shattering common sense and demonstrating a stunning lack of knowledge, invited the man who pledged to terminate America and other nations to their microphone to lecture his victims through the media. One shouldn’t blame Ahmdinijad for coming, for he is the foe. But one must realize how catastrophic has become a large segment of the country’s intellectual elite, how suicidal and how ignorant.

Behind a façade of architectural buildings, history and prestigious appearance, the leadership of Columbia looked primitive in comparison with the shrewd propagandists of the Iranian regime. Standing across from the foxy dictator, Columbia’s president thought he would be demonstrating skills in mind games as he threw a few “hard” questions at his guest. Unfortunately for the United States, he failed, miserably, and with him the panache of American academia. Here is why:
 
One, in his so-called criticism of Ahmedinejad, which he thought enough to justify the invitation, President Lee Bollinger said “you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator.” The public must realize that in this game of words, Bollinger didn’t say “you are” but he said “you exhibit” which means you show the signs, and you are accused of. In reality the introduction was a pass from which Ahmedinejad didn’t need to defend himself. To connoisseurs of how propagandists outmaneuver liberal democracies, the so called criticism by the US academic was part of a game, already rehearsed by the Iranian speaker. This was the first failure.
 
Two, Columbia’s leadership, its academics and influenced students, flashed the believed-to-be invincible argument of “we need to know more about him.” Yes, it is a wonderful thought, but why would an Ivy League establishment needs to listen personally to a speech by the Iran dictator to learn about his thinking? What happened to the multi million dollars programs supposedly teaching about the Middle East, its politics, its ideologies and its leaders?

Ahmedinejad is constantly in the news, informing the world about his intentions and objectives. He isn’t the silenced dissident to be given a podium, he is the one who is silencing them, and by giving him the podium he was given one more hour to further silence them. This was a second failure.
 
Three, the advocates of this dictator show-off argued that at least “there should be a dialogue.” Columbia’s President and some academics said naively that he will be asked “hard questions:” Wonderful, but by whom? And why were they so self-deluded to believe he’d answer them?  Has President Bollinger been a political prisoner in Tehran? Have any of his professors been tortured by the Mullah regime before they were asked to challenge their bully: obviously not. If Columbia and the self projected truth seekers wanted to achieve a commendable goal, and if they wished to challenge minds, they should have asked Ahmedinejad to face off with a panel of Iranian dissidents. This is how American liberalism can distinguish itself with intelligence. Those qualified to challenge the man of the mullahs are those who have suffered at the hands of his henchmen.
 
If you want to play hardball with a violent figure like Ahmedinejad don’t organize a press conference for him and call it a lecture don’t describe it as a dialogue when there are no other knowledgeable parties to challenge him; and don’t lead the American public into the expired slogans of the 1990s. Remember that the nation that suffered 9/11 grew smarter than its own elite.                    


Sign Up