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The Iranian Gamble

The signing of a nuclear pact between the United States and Iran, allowing the latter to possess nuclear capabilities has predictably caused political chaos in regions of the world that perceive the agreement as a threat to global stability. Barack Obama has come under intense criticism in the US for agreeing to terms from which America has allegedly received little. Right wing western media outlets have characterized Iran as a rogue state that is both infiltrated and supported by Islamic terrorist groups. However beneath the rhetoric and if one historically analyzes nuclear acquisition, a different picture emerges that demonstrates the geo-political advantages in allowing Iran to possess nuclear capabilities

Global stability is critically dependent on there being an equal distribution of both military and political power. A disproportionate concentration of geopolitical control lends towards higher levels of both economic and social instability, which have historically been associated with the onset of military conflict. For example after the 1st WW the defeated Germans were forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles, which encumbered their nation with a crippling economic burden and subsequent decline in political power. This set the stage for the civil unrest which Adolph Hitler exploited, to establish the National Socialist Party, otherwise known as the NAZI Party, from which he communicated his narrative that blamed the oppression of the German people on the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler then convinced his people that the only way to regain their former glory was through war, which then led onto the 2nd WW. An argument made by Oxford University historian, John Keegan, is that had the Treaty of Versailles been less stringent it is likely Hitler would not have had such a receptive audience and the 2nd WW might have been diverted. In essence the marked disparity in power created an instability that caused a second world conflagration. The principle therefore of a balancing of power is what both motivated and guided the US-Iranian nuclear pact.

India and Pakistan both have nuclear capabilities. However one need only examine the hysteria that surrounded the moment Pakistan acquired them to realize the media reaction did not match the subsequent course of events. There were predictions, as always, of a nuclear Armageddon but one that never materialized and today both countries are more respectful of the position their opponent holds. There has been a balancing of power and force, which has fostered improved relations and regional stability. The ethical and moral arguments surrounding the acquisition of nuclear capabilities are pointless, as the only meaningful consideration is the distribution of power, which when configured fairly will lead to peace. Nuclear deterrence is the concept that was employed by the Americans, British and Russians during the Cold War and is premised on the belief that if both sides to a conflict have equal capabilities of permanent human eradication, then there will be no victors and the incentive for war is negated.

The nuclear negotiations and agreement were reported differently in the Iranian and US media. Allegations that terrorist groups would now have nuclear warheads at their disposal were speculative and intended to manufacture fear. The fact that radical muslim communities in both US and Britain have not been able to obtain nuclear weapons makes the allegation seem unreasonable. Within Iran there is a fully functioning government that administers a country with which both India and Russia have robust trading partnerships. Admittedly there is, as in Britain and America, a small part of society from which a disenfranchised youth emerge and who choose a non-peaceful interpretation of Islam. Ironically though, the much maligned deal will likely cause these groups of frustrated young men to rejoin the ranks of civil society, as the legitimacy of a ‘holy war’ will lose its impetus, now that Iran has nuclear warheads.

Geopolitics is nothing more than an elaborate game of psychological one upmanship, but one that has potentially devastating consequences. However the most peaceful outcomes in the geopolitical arena are those characterized by an equalization of power. History is replete with examples of oppressed nations that are left with no option but violence and America is one of them. Had the revolutionaries not taken up arms against their colonial masters then the United States might simply have been another British county. It is therefore hypocritical to criticize a particular race, people or nation in their quest for justice against what they perceive to be an oppressive force, when the history of the world is exactly that. Economic sanctions do nothing but deepen political rifts and fortify the determination of the affected party to hold their position. Iran was not globally isolated and the intended impact of US led sanctions was not achieved.

The solution, or “the path” as Gandhi called it, towards global peace is found in the understanding that humans are one and that the maintenance of arbitrary divisions of race, nation and politics are counter productive to achieving this goal. Whether one currently agrees or disagrees with the Iranian deal, the Obama gamble is more likely to win than lose as history has repeatedly proved.

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