Serious international crises are often rare, yet, to a great extent,
precious to those who can effectively take advantage of them. When a crisis of such grand dimensions
as that of the standoff between the 'international community' and the Islamic
'Republic' of Iran occurs, it is only customary for all the parties involved to
attempt to capitalize on the situation as best they can. Such behaviour can, of course, be either
positive or negative in nature (or both), insofar as it relates to profit
maximization and loss minimization considerations respectively. Below are some observations and
concluding remarks in this regard.
taking advantage of the standoff with Iran, the Bush
administration hawks have craftily managed to aggrandize Iran's nuclear
activities to such a level as would enable them the possibility of armed
conflict and eventual regime change.
Apart from their natural proclivity to the use of force, this is
generally because concerns for energy and the security of Israel play
pivotal roles for the foreign policy establishment in the United States
(US). The European trio,
Britain, Germany and
France, save for a military option against Iran, are mostly
supportive of the US concerns mentioned above. Japan is also acting in tandem in
this regard with the US and its European allies for
economic and geopolitical reasons of its own. Perhaps what brings all these countries
together in a time like this is their shared interest in the long-term stability
of the price of oil.
Russia and China, on the other hand, by opposing the drafting of a UNSC
resolution that would link the standoff with Iran to Chapter VII of the UN
Charter, have shown a great deal of resilience so far against much of
neoconservative politicking by the Bush administration hawks. No one can be too sure yet about the
true nature of their resilience, or to what extent it will last; however, more
than anything, such resilience can arguably be due to their perceived
long-term strategic and geopolitical interests, as well as to their
(re)emerging status as global giants.
For the Russians, the geopolitical factor becomes doubly important since
any further expansion by the US of its influence in the Middle East would necessarily mean an infringement upon
their long-term security interests. This, of course, is despite the fact that
another Iraq-like war in the Middle East would
render the whole region totally unstable, if not downright uninhabitable due to
a possible use of nuclear weapons by the US.
the case of Iran, the regime has tactfully
managed to divert attention from the high costs of its nuclear programme -
financial, environmental or otherwise - to one involving a national debate over
enrichment rights. As a result, all
voices of dissent have been effectively silenced, so as to project a false image
of national unity abroad.
Ultimately, this sort of oppressive pseudo-nationalistic behaviour could
prove useful to the regime since the combination of internal pressures and
external concerns have made clear that the Islamic Republic has reached the
logical and practical conclusion of its tenure, and that it is now facing
serious and unrelenting challenges from both within and abroad. Historically speaking, this is a result
of the many contradictions the regime has either violently suppressed or created
by way of its self-centred and totalitarian approach to socio-political
phenomena. The current standoff
with the West, then, could provide the regime with yet another opportunity to
hold on to power for a while longer.
can be seen from the brief explanations above, the major powers, as well as the
Iranian regime, have all tried to take ample advantage of the crisis at
hand. The majority population in
Iran, on the other hand, has had no
voice and no positive stakes in the current stalemate right from the very
beginning and, as a result, has been forced to a position of silence and
despair. To them, a negotiated
solution that does not take their plight into consideration is just as bas as a
military strike, if only because the end result will be the same: a more
systematic occupation by the Islamic Republic of the political space that should
rightfully be theirs. It is high
time, therefore, that concern for freedom and democracy parallel any
negotiations over Iranian nuclear ambitions. In the end, this would, indeed, prove
more useful to the safety of the international community.
About the author: Jalal Alavi is a
sociologist and political commentator residing in Britain. Please see: http://www.payvand.com/news/06/apr/1190.html
for a related article by this same author.