Sprightly Ahmadinejad tours nuclear facilities, having stolen an election he marches on as his police batter and protesters. And everywhere he goes, he smiles his trademark loopy smile. The smile of a psychopath or a saint.
Why is Ahmadinejad smiling? The answer is not a terribly complicated one. With every step he takes and every day that he remains in power, he discredits the most deeply held ideas of Western liberals about the power of diplomacy to resolve conflicts and internal civil disobedience to achieve peaceful regime change. Despite years of diplomatic and hundreds of thousands of protesters taking to the streets– Ahmadinejad’s grip on power remains as secure as ever.
Walking over the bodies of student protesters, of political dissidents, of the thousands killed by the wars he has touched off, he continues to taunt the rest of the world to do anything about it. And the rest of the world has done nothing except talk. And as Ahmadinejad has demonstrated, talk counts for nothing at all.