Last week, Frida Ghitis wrote this in her WPR column on the U.N. conference on racism in Durban:
The United States ultimately decided to boycott the conference. But with Ahmadinejad's absurd statements today, the fact that the U.S. was not in attendance makes little difference in terms of the consequences for U.S.-Iran rapprochement. As Ghitis predicted last week, the events at Durban II now seem very likely to increase tensions.
The larger question, of course, is what exactly Ahmadinejad thought he was doing. Playing for domestic political points? Perhaps. Still, he doesn't need an international forum to do that. Many have argued that Iran is traditionally a rational actor in foreign policy. In WPR's own pages, for example, R.K. Ramazani wrote last month that Iran "has a history of prudent statecraft." That may be true, but it's hard to see how the same case can be made for its current president, and how with him as president a U.S.-Iran rapprochement is even possible.