This probably isn’t going to help the increasingly slim chances that the United States will attend next week’s Durban Review Conference on racism:

Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will attend next week’s United Nations conference on racism in Geneva, a U.N. spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

To which I respond: so? This is not really news; did anyone really doubt that the spotlight-loving Ahmadinejad, who wastes his yearly appearances at the UN General Assembly to issue incoherent and digressive rants, would want try to subvert this occasion by bloviating about his favorite anti-Semitic conspiracy theories?

But why let him? By attending the conference, setting down with other countries to get to work, and resolutely ignoring the juvenile distractions on the sidelines, the United States could both marginalize Ahmadinejad and actually help advance the cause of anti-racism. By working together and compromising, it’s worth mentioning, is how countries came together on what even Durban skeptics acknowledge is a vastly improved document to form the basis of the Geneva conference.

If Ahmadinejad wants to show up, let him. If attention’s focused on his diatribes, maybe it will be all the easier to get something productive out of Geneva.

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