Tehran and Washington need to increase efforts in preventive diplomacy in order to set relations on a peaceful track instead of a clash course. They should put more concrete efforts to focus on shared or parallel interests, narrow their differences, and identify the issues that preclude normalization.
When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia University, he didn’t emerge with the propaganda victory that was expected of him. He didn’t seem to be having fun either. At the occasion of his speech, he was bitterly lambasted by the Columbia President Lee Bollinger over the so-called terrible state of affairs regarding civil liberties in Iran. Columbia also thrashed Ahmadinejad over executions, the political prisoners, and the persecution of homosexuals and also the Iranian foreign policy.
The begging question is that why Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was so desperate to address in Columbia University. The thing is that every Asian leaders always seem to desperate enough to address the American universities. Does this give them international acclaim, or does this add more credibility to their regimes? If it may add credibility to their regimes, then it must only be in the eyes of West, otherwise the people of their own nations doesn’t give a damn. Now look at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was ridiculed not only in Columbia University, but also in the US press for this. Blogs around the US made fun of him, and he was the laughing stock of the day. According to NYT, it was “a humiliating and public dressing down.” What more he wants.
When Benazir does that, that is try to address universities in West, her basic motive is to please US masters to get the rule in Pakistan, but Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has already got it, they why did he do that? Perhaps he was leaning too much upon the Western liberalism and freedom of speech. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may have himself learned a thing or two from the jeers, boos and laughter which he recieved after his every answer in Columbia. Perhaps it was an effort on the part of Iranian President to diffuse tension between US and Iran, and he perhaps also wanted to legitimize his rule, and his stance on various things, and he wanted to come out beaming, but instead came out bruised and battered.