Take his recent speech at the United Nations. His country had a nuclear program that it kept secret for 16 years, before it was discovered about four years ago.
Iran's story is that in needs nuclear plants to provide safe, clean power for its people. Iran sells roughly 3/4 of the oil it pumps out of the ground, but maybe they're being green, or preparing for the future, or something like that.
Whatever reason Iran has for maintaining a secret nuclear program, the Iranian position is that it's to make power. For civilian purposes. Strictly civilian.
Claims by other nations, now including France, that Iran may be trying to develop nuclear weapons, could hurt Iran.
Instead, the president of Iran is turning what could be a liability into a considerable asset. Judging from what he said in the United Nations, this is his somewhat new, improved, image:
- President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran is standing up for the colonized world
- He's standing up for the right of colonized countries to develop nuclear programs
- He's standing up to the colonial powers: imperialist America and imperialist Europe
To someone who knows history, it's fairly obvious that America got over imperialism sometime in the 19th century. With the exception of the irresponsible way that America participated in carving up Europe's colonies after World War I, the sort of "imperialism" that America has engaged in for the bulk of the 20th century has been a matter of self-defense, cooperation with the United Nations, or honoring treaty obligations. If that's "Imperialism," maybe we'd be better-off with more of it.
Back to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Let's give the man credit. He knows how to turn an political liability into an asset. And, as I've mentioned before, he's knows how to pace the rhythm and pitch of his delivery.
He's an effective speaker.
Related posts, on Individuals and the War on Terror.