Monday, December 10, 2012

Rudimentary Realpolitik

By Paul Iddon

Some of the more arcane and illogical views on the Iran issue that are propagated as 'realist' ones. 

Flynt Leverett -
LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images 
Suffice to say there has been a lot of myths and half-truths that have been propagated by a variety of different sources with regard to the image the so-called 'western world' has of Iran. The perception of a country full of Islamic fundamentalists hellbent on acquiring 'the bomb' and immediately using it to destroy the State of Israel is an image that many to the right in the U.S have been propagating since Ahmadinejad's now infamous comments regarding the 'vanishing of the Zionist entity from the page of time.' Which was, as you my astute reader well know, a quote of a statement made by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Interestingly that statement of Khomeini's was made in the early 1980's when the Jewish state was adopting a Realpolitik policy of its own, which saw to it cooperating with Iran and essentially taking its side against Iraq throughout the war. Iran's botched bombing of the Iraqi Osirak reactor in 1981 for example was a forerunner to the Israeli raid that successfully knocked it out. Yes, Iran and Israel cooperating in the bombing of another country's nuclear installation under the pretext of preventing said country from developing nuclear weapons, how times have changed.

Whilst one could go on for hours and hours about the dynamics of the geopolitical history of the Middle East that isn't the issue I want to address. The issue I think needs to be analyzed and cross examined is the issue Middle Eastern Realpolitik, particularly with regard to policies towards Iran and the present ruling regime in Tehran.

1953 is a year I never tire, and never will tire, of bringing up when it comes to the broader question about Iran, the present situation there and that country's future. Back then as you know it was a Realpolitik outlook the hawks in Washington took to Iran nationalizing its own natural resources. Mohammed Mossadeq was accordingly denounced as a communist and the Iranian people were forcibly denied a democratic and potentially prosperous future as a republic. And, to add insult to injury, these foreign entities went on to prop up the Shah and even trained his secret police to keep his dynasty in place and essentially solidify Iran as a bulwark against Soviet expansion into the oil rich Persian Gulf. An interesting fact about this period was that it was the secularist Mohammed Reza Pahlavi who oversaw the building of a large amount of mosques during his period of modernization. This was, in part, because his 'realist' view saw them as an ideological deterrent against communism. Indeed it was the so-called 'Islamic Revolution' of '79 marked the beginning of a new era of holy war, that would see committed ideologues armed with AK-47's and Stinger missiles in next store Afghanistan fight a tough and dedicated guerrilla war against the Soviet military and force it to cease its occupation of their land.

One finds it very difficult to elaborate in any way on the subject of the 'Islamic Republic' and the term 'realism' without mentioning Flynt and Hilary Mann Leverett. A couple you could call notorious for their advocacy of rapprochement with Iran and their strong denouncements of policies of the United States. In their eyes the Iranian regime isn't the radical and fundamentalist types vying for apocalyptic war but a relatively sober actor which has been undermined time and again by an aggressive United States.

It is certainly true that the Iranian regime isn't what it is in a lot of political circles claimed to be. And certainly a more sober policy on behalf of 'the west' needs to be taken with regard to conduct towards Tehran. Very recently the Leverett duo contrasted the currently crippling sanctions being leveled against the Iranian people to the previous ones leveled against Iraq. Which is a considerable point and one I have often made with regard to suggested policies that should be taken with regard to the current situation in Syria (of whose current President-for-life Flynt wrote an entire book about back in 2005 arguing that him and his 'British-born wife' represented the perfect people to do business with, since they are convicted reformers at heart). The sanctions against Iran, contrary to statements from Benjamin Netanyahu and Ayatollah Khameini, are having an effect on Iran, but an effect on the wrong people, namely those very same Iranians whose future and lives have essentially been stolen along with a vast majority of the country's wealth by the 'kleptocrats'. The ones who rule the country and regularly employ brute force against any dissent clearly demonstrating this to unequivocally be the case. This is an aspect of the regime that the Leverett's have strove to distort and to conceal, in their lectures and writings on the subject. Such distortion reek of an agenda on their part.

The Leverett's arguments are quite a lot of the time questionable. Especially their blatant attempts to sucker us into calling Iran an 'Islamic Republic', something that it is in name only and something we should cease calling it, lest we want to palpably fool ourselves. If we're going to have a 'Nixon goes to China' moment we should at least tell the truth about what the Iranian regime is, how it came to where it is today and how recognizing it could seriously undermine Iran's democratic aspirations and could potentially serve to alienate a whole new generation of Iranians.

American imperialism is of course something that should be investigated and accordingly scrutinized where it rightfully deserves and warrants said scrutiny. However, the Leverett's are in essence advocating, through their talk and propagation of a supposedly thoughtful and symbiotic 'Nixon goes to China' type of rapprochement, another form of imperialism. This kind would see to the United States once again taking at face value a brutal authoritarian regime that is far worse than the last one it embraced.

Persia's history of British paranoia that was fostered from the colonial era is essential understanding when it comes to Iranian paranoia and conspiracy theorizing about how imperial entities are plotting against their own developments. One such theory half-jokingly asserts that if you look under the beard of a Mullah, you'll see an imprint which reads 'Made in Britain'. The obvious point being that it was the British, up to their usual tricks and malevolence again, who imposed this current regime on Iran, to rob it of any future free from the shackles of dictatorship and regression. Since a weak Persia is an exploitable Persia. Recognizing and doing business with this regime would be in essence an imperial move on behalf of the west. As would enriching and prolonging the rule of this regime a great disservice and another unjust act carried out by the west against the Iranian people as a whole.

Flynt and Hilary are right in saying that such a rapprochement would have highly significant economic advantages to the United States. They are completely correct in this regard, as Flynt is at pains to point out, Iran is very important when it comes to the geopolitics of imperial control, it has vast resources and is in a highly strategic location, and whoever controls that territory wields substantial power, influence and control in this world of ours.

Iran was effectively robbed and its people killed and even massacred by the tyrants that reigned following the coup of '53. An imperial coup that led Iran to the sorry state it is in now. What is more 'imperial' than cooperating with the gangsters in Tehran now and dealing with them as if they represent anything more than their own exorbitant business interests? What a horribly unjust thing that would be to advocate and propagate as policy. What is essentially at its base more divide and rule via proxy.

The couples upcoming book is entitled 'Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic'. When one looks up the elementary dictionary definition of the terms 'Islamic' and 'republic' one wonders how the United States could possibly come to terms with something that doesn't even exist in Iran.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Paul, you capture and depict the Iranian Sentiment and View very well; yet this is the very Sentiment and view that is not allowed to happen and evolve in Iran; the essence of the Regime is that very denial of Iranian Identity; it is very hard and frustrating to understand why this (dark Point there) is; it is not clear at this Point, whether it is the Iranian Regime or it is the United States who is refusing to accept the other side; obviousley there is very oscillating Point of view whether that Kind of Engagement is beneficial to iranian People on the Long run; would the american Engagement Change/reform the Regime from within? Would it enable it to remain intact? history will tell ...

Jabbar Fazeli, MD said...

Paul, great piece, as usual.
It is easy for me, and others like me, to say that sanctions are better than war, but I do say that.
Do you think that reproachment is possible if the regime in Iran insists on being treated as a superpower, or at least be allowed to retain the nuclear option?

Anonymous said...

Flynt and Hilary as well as others and myself are right in their thinking, that the only chance for the US is to come to terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran....

There is no chance that the teritory of Iran will become a base for the western militaries, as is no a chance to establish the Russian military base in Mexico....

A-F

B.M.A said...

GANGSTERS?-A new tittle from IDON!.

do we have gangsters ruling in IRAN?-THIS IS NEWS!