Iran as a Global Issue?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Behzad Khoshandam
PhD Student in International Relations

Active ImageThe modern world of globalization and uncertainty is riddled with complexities and interactions. Manuel Castells maintains that as a result of changes in the network society, nations and states have come closer to each other and there is more convergence among common policies and global goals. In this environment, a lot of issues have been globalized, which call for global solutions and international coordination and cooperation.

The need to recognize the most pressing global issues has been underlined by a great number of global players such as international organizations, non-state players, states, multinational companies, and nongovernmental organizations. Terrorism, organized crimes, drug trafficking, nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, radicalism, human rights concerns, refugees, development, radicalism, failed states, environmental issues, and crises in Afghanistan and Iraq are important international issues with urgent need to global solutions and leadership.

Following adoption of the Security Council Resolution 1929 (June 2010) Iran has been facing problems due to the existing international political conditions and in relation to its political interactions with the world. In the meantime, some international players have been trying to make the global community believe that Iran is, in fact, a global issue.

From the viewpoint of global common sense, negative representation, manipulation, and persuasion techniques used by media, think tanks and politicians indicate that Iran is going to be dealt with as a global issue. But is this really based on factual evidence?

Ample evidence and a realistic analysis of global architecture will prove that Iran can be considered an important crossroads where many global problems needing global solutions meet; but it cannot be considered a global issue.

Comparative energy, political, civilizational, international, cultural, and humanitarian advantages of Iran attest to this. Meanwhile, there is international consensus that Iran has frequently suffered from global conflicts and international issues. Therefore, given Iran’s influential role in relation to developments in the Middle East and its potentials for strategic partnership, the country can serve as a critical point where solutions to international problems can be found in cooperation with big powers.

Paul Kennedy maintains that in our interconnected world, the hegemonic power is overstretched. Farid Zakaria has also used “post-America” as his term of choice to describe the future world. Thus, the role and stabilizing capacities of countries like Iran can be taken advantage of to promote international peace and security.

Therefore, Iran’s position and weight can be revisited from the standpoint of global progress as well as foreign policy approaches taken by big regional and transregional powers.

The situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, as Iran’s neighbors, has proven that transregional policies alone will not help to solve global issues, but as put by Barry Buzan, will end in more global problems and failure of global solutions within the context of global security complex.

According to Richard Haass, to solve global issues in an age of “concerted non-polarity,” advantage should be taken of unparalleled opportunities as well as multilateral international obligations.

Interaction of international community with Iran at an age of information flow in addition to adoption of new, innovative, soft, engaging and complementary policies will be more compatible with changing global realities, strategies, interactions and solutions.

Military hard options will certainly fall short of promoting interaction with Iran under the current international security conditions. As put by the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “The third war that so many feared never came.” Therefore, efforts made to promote international interactions with Iran are better based on the country’s core values as well as global shared responsibilities.

Global diplomacy is useful to encourage strategic patience in this regard. The existing model of relative peace which dominates the relationship between big powers at the beginning of the third millennium could serve as a good model. The relationship between big powers and countries like Iran should be also based on compromise and equity, multilateralism, long-term confidence building, respect, and movement toward global sustainable progress.

When the moment comes to select an international strategy for dealing with Iran, application of such options will lead to reinvigoration and reconstruction of future diplomatic, strategic, and economic order and lead to global common benefit.