The Importance of Being Ahmadinejad & Chavez

On one of the talk shows this week, former UN Ambassador Richard Holbooke called Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad an anti-semite and a pipsqueak. Anti-semite, certainly. A pipesqueak, I'm not so sure.

When Ahmadinejad railed against US and UK attempts to dominate the world through the Security Council as if this were the early post-WWII era instead of the 21st century it was a message that resonated globally. Venezuela's Hugo Chavez laid it on futher in his harangue, confident in having recently obtained China's backing, in return for oil, for his country's quest for a seat on the Security Council.

It would be a big mistake to dismiss their comments as the ravings of mad men when they are only saying what the rest of the world -- China, Russia and France on the Security Council as well as countries from Brazil to South Korea -- actually thinks. Hot though the rhetoric may be, its reveals a cool calculation about where they stand in the new global balance of power.

In tandem at the IMF meeting this week in Singapore, Brazil, China and Turkey managed to wrangle greater influence on the IMF governing board from the powers-that-were since the institution was set up after WWII. Inevitably, the World Bank will follow suit.

Certainly, George Bush's unilateralism has ended up pushing the multipolar order out of its post-Cold War womb through inciting a worldwide reaction against Anglo--Saxon dominance. But, in truth, the baby was already on the way. W's policies have only accelerated the delivery.

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