<em>Reporting from the UN</em>: Ahmadinejad Steals the Show

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(Photo of people at the UN watching Ahmadinejad’s speech)
When UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon kicked off the special session on climate change in the hopes of capturing the news cycle to build political momentum toward the December UNFCCC meeting in Bali.
Unfortunately, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seems to have stolen the attention of the New York and national media with his speech at Columbia University this afternoon. Even at the UN it seems the controversial figure has captured the attention of the attendees of this session. Much to my chagrin, the entrance to the cafeteria was blocked off my the mob of people crowded around the one television displaying the live CNN feed of Ahmadinejad’s speech.
This underscores the difficulties the climate change debate has encountered time and again — how do we raise the

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spectre of global climate change to the level of imminence, and in turn, raise the political salience? There is wider debate in the US than I think there needs to be but nevertheless, even those who are willing to acknowledge the climate threat are not convinced it trumps more imminent threats like blowback from the Iraq war, the next terrorist attack on US soil, or possible Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons. Hence the reason Ahmadinejad stole Ban Ki Moon’s news cycle.
When the job of the President and this Congress is increasingly driven by crises rather than long-term planning to meet emerging challenges — especially the greatest collective action problem perhaps the world has ever known — it would take someone fiercely determined like former Vice President Al Gore (who thundered away at the UN today in his call to arms against climate change) to manage crises without allowing the total usurpation of a long-term agenda.
–Sameer Lalwani

Comments

14 comments on “<em>Reporting from the UN</em>: Ahmadinejad Steals the Show

  1. erichwwk says:

    Kathleen writes:
    “Given Prescott Bush’s efforts in support of Nazi Germany, perhaps it would behoove us to study THE holocaust more, as Ahmadinejad suggests.”
    It would be interesting to know whther the gas chambers happened BEFORE or as a result of STOPPING the appeasement.
    In addition, ALL of WWII could stand a revisit, as the victor no longer has the ONLY soapbox. What would be of interest to me is to know how many of the 60 Million deaths occurred BEFORE winter of 1941, and how many after. The MSM alleges Iraqi deaths in the neighborhood of 75K, others add another degree of magnitude, ie 750K. It is now clear to many that the most cost effective way to address 9/11 was not to “win” the GWOT by military force.
    I would like to see WWII addressed that way, and to compare what would have happened, with MORE appeasement, rather than less. Might the deaths of 6M Jews been greatly reduced, as well as a considerable reduction in the 60M total deaths?
    It now seems clear that the USSR threat during the cold war was BS, with Reagan taking credit for stopping the inevitable decline of the USSR predicted as early as the 1960’s by Franklyn Holzman (and by Team A in the early 1970’s) a threat created by Richard Pipes, Paul Wolfowitz,et al, and much of the terrorism we have now was avoidable.
    As Billmon wrote in his wonderful blog, the USSR fell because the insiders believed their own BS, a path which the USA is itself now taking.

    Reply

  2. Kathleen says:

    JW… indeed. I was so offended by Bollinger’s rudeness.
    Meanwhile back in the Beltway, Dopey and
    Darth are Palestinian holocaust deniers.
    Given Prescott Bush’s efforts in support of Nazi Germany, perhaps it would behoove us to study THE holocaust more, as Ahmadinejad suggests.

    Reply

  3. Carroll says:

    Posted by JW at September 24, 2007 05:30 PM
    Posted by erichwwk at September 24, 2007 06:38 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    Me too.

    Reply

  4. William B. Jensen says:

    Yeah it’s hard to advance a rational debate about global warning when the dialogue is being driven by half wits followed by a media bent on war. Get a load of this, Bush, Amadenijad and the media want war. Bush wants it…well because he’s nuts. Amadinejad wants it because he needs to unify his splintering country. And the media needs the ratings and a reason to keep their 24 hour “news” programs going. So, we’ll get our war, the ice will continue to melt,and the climate will get more extreme.

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  5. Daniel says:

    If any of the actual working, tax-paying, loyal American citizens would have said in public the bile that Achmaidiot has spewed we would have been arrested and sued. What is going on with Freedom of speech when only terrorists are allowed to speek their minds? Stand up America get loud and drown out his lies.

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  6. mw says:

    If President Bush and his band of merry men had a backbone they would have told Ahmadinejad in no uncertain terms that if he stepped foot on US soil then the Marines would have been there waiting for him and arrested him. He would then be brought before a court and charged with crimes against humanity. After the verdict was carried out he could expect to spend eternity with his 75 virgins and his buddy Saddam. America, stand up and be the great country you used to be !!!!

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  7. erichwwk says:

    Sameer Lalwani:
    You ask how to change the focus from the short run to the long run?
    I suggest the problem is in the model used to make intertemporal comparisons. There are basically two views on this. The first supposes that “might makes right”, and rights accrue to those that have the ability to deny others the ability to realize expectations of their access to your goods in the present. In this model (I call it “Future generations inherit rights from previous generations”), the expected value of ANY future costs and benefits rapidly approach zero. Do the math for any positive real discount rate.
    The other model I call “Present generations borrow rights from future generations”. Using this model, unlike the previous one, one has the incentive to consider events far in the future, as it is the final STATE, rather than the sum of events in the present that matter to the economic agent. This model also suggests using STOCK variables (comparing relative states) rather than FLOW models (income-expense variables) as Kenneth Boulding proposed over four decades ago in his 1966 article “The Economics of the Coming Spaceship Earth” http://tinyurl.com/28yu6t

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  8. downtown says:

    The local tabloids in NYC have been foaming at the mouths over the past few days. Bollinger got cold feet and kowtowed to the war mongers of the NY Daily News and NY Post. Once again, Mort Zuckerman got to exercise full editorial control in his DN and express his neocon views, advocating for American involvement in support of a certain country in the Middle East.
    http://www.nydailynews.com
    View the front page!

    Reply

  9. erichwwk says:

    Sameer Lalwani:
    You ask how to change the focus from the short run to the long run?
    I suggest the problem is in the model used to make intertemporal comparisons. There are basically two views on this. The first supposes that “might makes right”, and rights accrue to those that have the ability to deny others the ability to realize expectations of their access to your goods. In this model (I call it “Future generations inherit rights from previous generations”), the expected value of ANY future costs and benefits rapidly approach zero. Do the math for any positive real discount rate.
    The other model I call “Present generations borrow rights from future generations”. Using this model, unlike the previous one, one has the incentive to consider events far in the future, as it is the final STATE, rather than the sum of events in the present that matter. This model also suggests using STOCK variables (comparing relative states) rather than FLOW models (income-expense variables) as Kenneth Boulding proposed over four decades ago in his 1966 article “The Economics of the Coming Spaceship Earth” http://tinyurl.com/28yu6t

    Reply

  10. erichwwk says:

    Bollinger’s comments were not only demeaning to Ahmadinejad, but to all people who view themselves as capable of thinking for themselves students -students, faculty, and public at large
    To assume that the audience required Bollingers’s personal assessment, was arrogant and presumptious to the extreme, and gives the impression that Bollinger Columbia University is engaged, not in the business of assisting students in developing their critical thinking skills, but in mere ideological indoctrination.

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  11. erichwwk says:

    Well said JW.

    Reply

  12. JW says:

    Personally, I think Pres. Bollinger, with his incredibly insulting introduction of Ahmadinejad, was the attention-getter. And whatever one’s opinion of Ahmadinejad is, I think Bollinger handed Ahmadinejad a hugely effective tool for propagandizing against America by the replaying [excerpts from] Bollinger’s speech in Iran. I was embarrassed. And I thought Ahmadinejad handled it very well.

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  13. jonst says:

    I think there are, at least, two dynamics at work here, and both are pernicious and dangerous. One group clearly wants to take advantage of this to stoke the fires of war. However, another group generally does not want free speech and free exchange of ideas. They don’t want it from Ahmadinejad…and they don’t want from, or with, many others they disagree with. It was just another day, and another time, for saying to myself…..what the fuck happened, and is happening, to my country.

    Reply

  14. Sandy says:

    The biggest threat to the world are the insane Bush and Cheney. And, if anyone really believes — or wants to promote the idea that Bush is just being brought along, reluctantly, by Cheney…and doesn’t really want to attack Iran….give me a break! You haven’t been watching the family’s fortunes then in the recent buying up by Carlyle…not to mention Dubai. $$$$$
    http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2007/09/24/ahmadinejad/print.html
    Turning Ahmadinejad into public enemy No. 1
    Demonizing the Iranian president and making his visit to New York seem controversial are all part of the neoconservative push for yet another war.
    By Juan Cole

    Reply

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