Iran is a sovereign state and can change the course of history
War is in the air. According to Clausowitz war is the extension of politics by other means. Iran is not making the news because of some important event having just come up, and all the talk about nuclear capability is just a distraction – here is a state which refuses the supremacy of the American-British-Israeli axis of Zionism and can afford to do so. The Americans know only too well that Iran is not a push-over, having painfully learned over the last year that even sanction-crippled Iraq was not a walk-over, but they have Iran firmly in their sights. Propaganda is frequently a prelude to aggression in that it helps justifying the same. To achieve this purpose, fear is made a factor: weapons of mass destruction before the illegal occupation of Iraq, nuclear bombs in the case of Iran.
One of the biggest mistakes the targeted countries often make is to assume that the aggression will go away if only they comply and play the game by the rules imposed on them, forgetting that the goal post will be moved regularly. Luckily for Iran the new government seems to want to grab the nettle, although there is much more they could do. Let’s not forget that Iran is a sovereign state with an elected government and president. Elected by the people, not won in the Supreme Court (Bush) or stitched up behind the barrel of a gun (Iraq, Afghanistan). In fact, Iran is probably the only proper democracy in the Middle East given that in apartheid Israel the majority of people have only limited rights.
Of course, this is not about democracy or the rule of law, this is about power. It is almost bizarre to watch commentators make u-turns in the opinions they present depending on the issue in hand. The same people who complained bitterly about the insecurity of future gas supplies to Europe when Russia turned off the taps to Ukraine argue that Iran should trust Russia in energy matters by letting them enrich their Uranium for them. The same people who argue that Britain needs more nuclear power stations because the long-term future of fossil fuels is in doubt argue that Iran’s nuclear ambitions cannot possibly be peaceful because they already have plenty of oil.
Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad has gone some way in exposing Western hypocrisy by pointing to the fact that Israel has undeclared nuclear weapons whilst in illegal occupation of another country (therefore a rogue state), whereas Iran has signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and abided by all the rules. He has gone even further by pointing out that there is no real freedom of speech in the West, because Western governments do not permit a thorough historic questioning of the Jewish holocaust, and that there is no justice in making the Arabs pay for the crimes of Europe. This has, of course, earned him the hatred of all those who peddle the myth that Israel is entitled to the land of Palestinians because they would almost have been an extinct species courtesy of the Nazis.
In my view, however, the new Iranian administration has not gone far enough. It is about time that some of the assumptions underpinning global relations are being examined. The laws governing the world were all drawn up by the former European colonial masters with no regard for other cultures or religions. This holds true for the victors’ justice after Nuremberg defining the laws of law and peace, the Anything-but-universal declaration of human rights making white Anglo-Saxons the blueprint for humanity, and the United Nations with its undemocratic Security Council set-up. This tilted view of the world considers it normal and acceptable that a belligerent state like the USA does not need to sign any treaties or be subject to any international inspections or checks or judicial overview, but that other sovereign nations constantly have to explain themselves even if they voluntarily sign treaties or agree on openness.
What Iran should do is to unilaterally withdraw from any such treaties and agreements which are unfairly tilted in favour of those wanting to destroy the independence and sovereignty of Iran. Iran’s enemies use this tactic to their advantage: America cannot be hauled before an international war crimes tribunal because they have never given any legitimacy to an international court of justice; Israel cannot be referred to the UN Security Council for non-compliance because it has never signed up to a nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
Of course, one could argue that this would make the chances of a military intervention more likely to the detriment of Iran. I do not think that this is the case. As the shamble of Iraq weapons inspections has shown the US will attack if it wants to, irrespective of what the unfortunate victim will do. The only language a bully understands is power; he will not pick on somebody with the potential to fight back or to weaken his image substantially. America will not go for a show-down with North Korea, less so with China.
Iran should concern itself less with the tilted rhetoric coming out of Washington, Tel Aviv or London. Instead the Iranian government should strengthen its defences by forging strategic alliances on the one hand and weakening the US on the other. The latter is best done by denominating oil sales in an alternative currency to the dollar. The American economy is the most indebted one in the world. Its survival and apparent strength is only due to the fact that countries around the world use the dollar as a standard currency in which they keep their reserves. If the artificially supported value of the dollar falls the American economy will collapse and with it the threat of future foreign military adventures. Others in the coalition of the willing and coerced will not stand by their ally when he falls; their support for the bully is only in order to achieve protection and share the spoils – when he is down, they will kick him, too.
As an oil-rich industrialised nation Iran has a leverage in these matters that most of the countries of Africa and Asia do not have. If Iran uses this strength to its advantage, it might even change the course of history.