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Saying No?


Seth, “should all the laws go unenforced, but one?” That’s a nice quote, and cleverly used. But as you know, in this context it’s an exaggeration.

It’s also important not to let understandable moral outrage at the idea of Ahmadinejad swanning around Turtle Bay get in the way of America’s pursuit of its national interest. As I said, the current approach being taken by the US (or at least one of the approaches being taken) in its efforts to contain Iran is to work through the UN. Why make it more difficult with a gesture of only symbolic value? I’d add that if the US is to start stopping leaders who fit your (accurate, in the case of Ahmadinejad) description of “terrorist[s] who direct the killing of innocents” from attending the UN, the place will start emptying out. No loss, you may say, but I suspect it would only make a bad world worse.
It’s a rough planet, Seth, and the UN reflects that. That’s why, for example, the Reagan administration, for reasons of Cold War Realpolitik, supported (doubtless through gritted teeth) the continued recognition of a coalition that included the deposed Khmer Rouge as Cambodia’s legitimate government at the UN well into the 1980s. You can argue with that policy (I certainly would), but you cannot deny that it was the policy of an administration prepared to deal with (and, ultimately, change for the better) the world as it found it. I wonder if the same can be said of the Thompson campaign.
I should emphasize that I’m only talking about giving Ahmadinejad access to the UN. The proposed visits to Columbia and Ground Zero are a different matter altogether.


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