By: Hassan FARAZIAN
SUMMARY : As expected, President-elect Donald Trump seemingly upfront and controversial manner of speaking his mind had spelled without interruption into his post-election victory on domestic and of course foreign policy arena on subjects of China-Taiwan relationship and the US “One China” policy, Russia, and his very complimentary remarks to the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif personally and Pakistan in general. He also praised the controversial Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev during a telephone conversation with him. However, contrary to popular belief, none of the above incidents or their public revelations have been haphazard and will eventually be decoded on this blog.
But, President elect’s vocal opposition and assertions, to say the least, about the Iran nuclear deal throughout the presidential campaign as one of his major criticism of US foreign policy has been conspicuously quiet in revealing his intentions and administration’s mindset on Iran and how he plans to approach it henceforth in the aftermath of his post-election victory . Thus, meriting a closer look at the US-Iran relationship awaiting his official entry into the White House and his administration’s policy towards Iran.
More so, in the light of the symbolically important UN Resolution 2334 demanding Israel to “.. immediately and completely…” halt all settlement activities on Palestinian lands that was tacitly backed by the Obama administration and strongly encouraged by both the National Security Council and the State Department in view of their frustration that has been a major obstacle to both the peace process and a continuously growing thorn in US-Israeli relationship for at least the past three decades . Further, the recent Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu’s arranged cocky interview with the CBS’s 60 Minutes broadcast of 11 December 2016 where, in the words of Ronald Reagan, debating President Jimmy Carter at the time stating “There you go again”, the stubborn Netanyahu’s major theme was again, Iran and how to battle and undo the already signed nuclear deal. Just as Netanyahu, the same self appointed instigator, had given foreign policy lessons against all protocols about the Iran nuclear deal during his speech of March 3, 2015, to US Congress which was a major source of contention between him and President Obama, amongst many others.
It could also be argued that the recent Trump /Putin public announcements about modernizing their respective country’s nuclear strategic arsenal will definitely have a certain spillover effect on both the Iran deal as well as the ongoing North Korean nuclear program. This would certainly add to the contentious prolongation of American foreign policy with the posture of the apparently two historically belligerent countries in justifying their strategic nuclear position.
Therefore, starting now, Four complementary blog posts addressing the above points will be published as follows:
First, below, a letter sent to The Economist in response to its Editorial about Iran (June 22-28, 2013);
Second, a paper on Nuclear Proliferation Titled “NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION: POLICY OPTIONS FOR THE 80s” written on May 1984 while at the Graduate School in Geneva, Switzerland, the conclusion of which was to have foreseen a more nuclear international club as a fait accompli and its accommodation as the only solution;
Finally, to conclude, a post titled – Epilogue: Nuclear Proliferation, American Strategic Thinking, And Iran Nuclear Deal, with the intention of tying the entire nuclear issue and the above three blogs in conjunction with the underlying strategic mindset behind historical American opposition and practice toward the question of nuclear non-proliferation, will be added.
These Posts sequences should allow for a more meaningful examination and analysis of the US-Iran policy within the context of not only the Iran nuclear deal but the most importantly relevant and interconnecting issues surrounding the American foreign policy strategy in the region and consequently vis-a-vis Iran, the only major Middle East / Persian Gulf player.
LETTER TO THE ECONOMIST
HASSAN FARAZIAN to LETTERS Aug 18, 2013
As a long time subscriber to The Economist, I am beginning to wonder about my judgment given the recent series of editorials, articles, and analyses about Iran, (The Economist, June 22-28, 2013 Cover Story – Can Iran be stopped: Syria, nukes and the rise of the Persian power) and your clearly bias approach and perception. The following points are pertinently noteworthy:
1. Your editorial ends with: “The West still has the economic and military clout to influence events in the region, and an interest in doing so. When Persian power is on the rise, it is not the time to back away from the Middle East.” Regarding your interventionist prescription, I am not sure what illusionary economic and military “Western clout” you are referring to in giving your free unsolicited advice by clearly putting on the cap of a conservative, governmental Think Tank advising an official line of policy. Or is it The Economist’s new and subtle “Pen For Hire” policy practiced since the Cold War? Further, have you not read The Economist’s past issues about the dire state of socioeconomic affairs across Europe? As for the United States, do you sincerely believe that after the bittersweet Iraqi and Afghanistan experience, the American social fabric is ready for another disastrous experience? Britain too, as pointed out by “Bagehot—Lonely Charge” article (same issue cited above, page 62) only means PM David Cameron. Obviously he too has not learned Tony Blair’s, mistakes. Also, the sad and bitter truth is that the West you refer to is only the United States and Britain. As for NATO, it is ONLY America. The one thing that you are absolutely right about is the rising Persian Empire. In the modern time terminology, Iran with its enormous resources , largest oil and gas reserve in the world (see The Economist, October 29, 2011, pg 76), geostrategic location, and an unspeakable cultural heritage and regional influence is the “Superpower” of the region and a force to be reckoned with—not only militarily, but diplomatically too, and on an equal part. Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons should be considered a fait accompli and confronted with a realist political approach. The age of Gunboat diplomacy has long dissipated and the West no longer has any economic, military, and certainly no moral credibility left. In fact, Western conduct of business all over the globe (such as dealing with Libya’s Muammar al-Gaddafi by Britain, France, and the U.S.) has left it with such a state of moral bankruptcy (receivership as you would say) that they have to completely close shop. In a nutshell, if Britain and the “West” as you suggest, persist on the same dead ended foreign policy of using force, then the Franco-British fiasco of the Suez Canal in 1956 that proved to be the coup de grace would be the best analogy for the consequences of the current prescription you are subscribing for the “West.” It is time to accept the “wind of change” as Macmillan had found out the hard way and let go of an era when the Third / Developing world was at the mercy of a bipolar superpower system—which has long disappeared.
2. I was equally disappointed to see the map on page 26 with “The Persian Gulf” labeled only as “The Gulf” despite many historical evidence to the contrary. I imagine that The Economist editorial board has forgotten that every Gulf has a name – just like every river, mountain, hill or other geographical location. Obviously it is only the sign of “He who pays the Piper . . .” and pointing only to the fact that you have long lost sight of The Economist’s original message that came to existence as you consistently suggest and publish it to underline that it was “a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress.” Sir, it is disheartening to see that The Economist shows clear signs of being set on “… unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing progress” by going backwards. I hope you reconsider your slantingly intellectual approach in any way , shape or form, whether in articles, opinions,editorial or maps , before it is too late in further tarnishing your reputation or , should it be said, what is left of it ?
Hassan FARAZIAN Ph.D.