Saturday, September 02, 2006

Rush week for the Nuclear Club

When you look at who is in the Nuclear Club, or suspected to be, Iran's inclusion in that fraternity doesn't seem unreasonable. Pakistan and India (orange, above) have nuclear weapons and Saudi Arabia (green) could develop them within a few years, according to an article on Wikipedia. Between them is Iran (yellow). Of course Iran wants to protect itself from neighbors on either side.

While watching the C-Span broadcast of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaking at a press conference in Tehran on 29 August, I was amazed at how..."ordinary" he seems. In the same kind of setting, Saddam's arrogance and bloated self-importance were pretty obvious. (Yes I know Saddam is Arab and not Persian.) But Ahmadinejad moved easily between chuckling with questioners to speaking seriously about political topics. I didn't get a sense of an ego of Saddamic proportions.

I also didn't get a sense that he was just another Ayatollah Khomeini type but without the turban (Khomeini is in the picture behind Ahmadinejad below). (All photos are AP.)

I don't know... While watching him talk, I was more reminded of Lance Armstrong than Saddam or Khomeini. Ahmadinejad is no doubt a super-competitive type like Armstrong, but I don't see him, in a tense situation, pushing the Big Red Button nearly as quickly as

Molten Bolton

or Dubya might in a similar situation. Am I wrong? Are Ahmadinejad's small, shrewd eyes those of a madman?

My only reservation is that Ahmadinejad's refusal to budge on his nuclear position may provoke the invasion of Iran. He must know that this decision to stand tough may result in the deaths of many Iranian soldiers and civilians. Is he just goading the Big Boys? Or is it the adrenaline of his competitiveness talking?


Jonathan Versen said...

occasionally I wonder if Ahmedinejad's bombastic rhetorical style is something calculated-- he saw Bush get reelected and Chavez survive the recall election ushered on by US oil companies, and decided to model himself after them.

Jonathan Versen said...

re Iran: this longish post by Billmon "Only the beginning" might interest you.