However, we can all be heartened by the news that Iran, on the same day that it started fueling its nuclear power plant, has unveiled a new long range drone bomber. Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – a man known for his colourful prose, if not for his subtlety – has called it “An Ambassador of Death”, a title which demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of an ambassador’s role. It may look like something off the set of an Austin Powers movie, but the most salient bit of information released about the Ambassador of Death is that he (it’s definitely a he) can go 620 miles with ease. No, that’s not enough to reach Israel from Iran, but it’s pretty close. And it’s more than enough to reach Israel from Lebanon.
Ahmadinejad’s been having a good few days. He also told Al-Jazeera that Israel was “too weak to face up to Iran militarily“, a comment which set off a firestorm of indignation within Israel. The thing is, the man may sounds crazy, but he’s probably right. Yes, we all know Israel has the technological capacity to do it, but I’m not sure they have the political capital. They spent most of that in Gaza. An unprovoked, premeditated attack on Iran – particularly its nuclear facilities – will create far more immediate problems than it will solve, not least amongst them war in southern Lebanon. Bibi will hold his guns for the time being.
Ahmadinejad is a fascinating politician. His off the wall, inflammatory comments often make him sound like a mad man, but he is anything but; he’s one of a new breed of politicians who have figured out that the crazier they sound, the more the world will hate them but – and this is crucial – the more they will appeal to their core audience, the people who form the basis of their power. Hugo Chavez is another; Julius Malema in South Africa; and even the Tea Party Republicans in the States. None of these people are crazy; they’re just canny politicians, doing what politicians do best – keeping themselves in power.