Could Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have a worse grasp on geopolitical strategy? Here’s the dubiously-reelected Iranian “President” challenging President Obama to “debate
The administration, meanwhile, has been preparing for two opposite possibilities: One in which the Iranian leadership seeks to regain a measure of legitimacy by taking up Mr. Obama’s offer to talk — a situation that could put Washington in the uncomfortable position of giving credibility to a government whose actions Mr. Obama has deplored — or one in which Iran rejects negotiations.
Now, if you were Ahmadinejad and you had a crisis of legitimacy after stealing an election *and *you wanted to outfox your American adversary, why in the world wouldn’t you pick Sanger’s first option? By daring Obama to take him on at the General Assembly, Ahmadinejad invites Obama to dismiss him, since, in the words of White House spokesman Tommy Vietor, the Obama team thinks “now is the time to explore direct diplomatic options, as with the P5+1,” which is the U.N.-backed nuclear-diplomacy track, meaning he’ll rightly see the “debate” proposal as a ruse. And if Ahmadinejad is interested in pulling such ruses, then he’s more interested in getting the United States to implicitly bless his “re-election” by meeting with him than he is in substantive diplomacy. I suppose no one ever accused Ahmadinejad of diplomatic mastery, but it’s still surprising that he’s not forcing Obama to choose between diplomacy and human rights.