By Dr. Mahmoud Reza Golshanpazhooh (Source: Iran Review)
1. Constructivists maintain that your mental image of another person is a great determinant of how you interact with them. By generalization, this means that at international level, increased military power of a country should not necessarily frighten other countries and make them bolster their military capacities. In fact, if a country's image is seen positive and friendly in another country, military empowerment of the former would not possibly seem threatening to the latter. However, if that image is a hostile and belligerent one, the smallest development in capabilities of the former country will ring the alarms for the latter.
2. Some realist analysts of international relations maintain that power is source of legitimacy. From their viewpoint, promoting conventional and unconventional military abilities of a superpower like the United States will be totally legitimate in the eyes of the world people or, at least, will not be faced with remarkable opposition. Therefore, technical assistance offered by the United States or the European states for countries like India and the Arab states of the Persian Gulf to help them develop their indigenous nuclear technology or ignoring nuclear activities of Israel, especially for military purposes, can be entirely justified on the basis of this relationship between power and self-proclaimed legitimacy of the superpower. Interestingly, nobody cares for widespread protests to such conflicting behavior and double standards because big powers are presumed to be the sole source of truth.
3. Obama Administration gave the go-ahead for the allocation of 8 billion dollars in state loan to start construction of two new nuclear reactors in Georgia. The US President also announced that the United States needed new reactors which would be both safer and less pollutant. He added that nuclear energy was required to reduce Washington's dependence on imported oil while helping to reduce air pollution.
4. This is a mode of thinking which easily ignores possession of more than 200 nuclear warheads by Israel; argues in favor of nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 as being expedient; believes in its own prejudgments about nuclear goals of another country and announces Iran's nuclear program illegal while overlooking South Korea's nuclear violations; tries through heavy propaganda to convince the world that reducing atomic weapons and warheads is the sole way to global peace while stockpiling 1,550 nuclear warhead every one of which is capable of razing a big part of our world; and shows no concern for the possibility that such an attitude may not be acceptable to the world public opinion. Form this standpoint, attacking a country to stymie development of unconventional weapons is totally justified even when, in a case like Iraq, no positive evidence could be found by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors. Perhaps, constructivists believed that Iraq was no more a friend or its dictator was of no use anymore.
5. Neighboring Iraq, there is another country, where before the Islamic Revolution in 1979, western companies were on a racecourse to have a bigger share in building its nuclear reactors. Although they knew that the country abounded in oil and gas reserves, it was by no means a cause of concern for the United States and its western allies to be suspicious about true intensions behind its nuclear program. The German Kraftwerk Union was following its original schedule and had completed one reactor in Bushehr up to 80 percent while the second one was half-finished when, all of a sudden, it stopped operations in January 1979. Both reactors were later victims of the French missiles which were shot at them by Iraqi planes during eight years of war from 1980 to 1988.
6. The Iranian public opinion maintains that the Iraqi planes were guided by the American AWACS and western intelligence agencies in attacking Bushehr reactors. Interesting to the Iranians was the fact that the same Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, who had fought against Iran for eight years with no fear of international prosecution by western countries, met his doom at the hands of his former American and European patrons in 2003.
7. The fact that the west gives credit to its arguments on why Iran should not have nuclear energy proves that western research institutes are still looking at an erroneous picture of Iran and its people. Due to their special historical background, Iranians do not necessarily consider problems from the same angle as the American officials. A western diplomat should know that the picture of the west in the minds of Iranians and the country's public opinion is shaped by many factors including the west's contradictory treatment of Iran's nuclear program and similar programs in India and Pakistan; disregard for Israel's nuclear arsenal; regular attempts by the west to promote its nuclear facilities and find new outlets for such facilities in other countries as opposed to their obstinate opposition to any kind of scientific progress in Iran on ground of possible access to atomic bomb by terrorist groups; special treatment of the Persian Gulf littoral states and west's incessant effort to equip them against Iran's alleged threat (which has been never proven); historical distrust to big powers in Iran; historical sense of insecurity among Iranians who have witnessed their country being frequently overrun by various empires and even neighboring countries; strong attachment of the Iranian people to Shiite Islam and their subsequent support for the Islamic system despite criticism which aims to improve performance of the system; lingering memories of the west's support for Iraq during its war against Iran; and a host of other factors.
If a solution is to be found for the existing standoff between Iran and the west, it is imperative for both sides to evaluate their understanding of the opposite side before taking necessary steps to build confidence.
That solution will not come out of more sanctions, military threats, and the ongoing debates in the western research institutes and news media on the consequences of tougher sanctions or a possible military attack on Iran.
... Payvand News - 04/27/10 ... --