📌 We know that many of our readers would like to see some short, pointed posts here. So, in contrast to the longer, more analytical articles we usually publish – normal for an academic institution – an Oberg Comment is a short text by the editor of The Transnational, Jan Oberg, which alerts you to one or two main points, offers some informative links for self-study or is simply a recommendation or “MustRead/Watch” with lasting educative value. Since they will be maximum 600 words, they are also easier to use for the media. We hope you will like the format too.
July 21, 2020
Some may remember way back when US President Obama said that the US had now isolated Iran. The only problem was that on the very same day, some 130 leaders from the Non-Aligned Movement, NAM, were meeting in Tehran.
The more the US withdraws from international treaties, imposes sanctions, threatens wars and otherwise antagonizes the rest of the world, the more that rest will search – and find – new partners and create a future world order that is not Western- or US-dominated.
That’s what Iran is now doing.
After sanctions since 1979, verbal harassment, a broken JCPOA (nuclear deal), accusations of being the world’s leading supporter of terrorism, maximal pressure policies, threat of massive war, bombings, liquidation of a top government representative, infiltrations and much else – why on earth should the leaders in Tehran (no matter what you may think about them and their policies) continue to seek cooperation with the US and the EU – the latter, spinelessly, for all practical purposes violating the JCPOA and UN SC resolutions by submitting to US secondary sanctions being implemented in EU countries and thus suffocating Iran’s 85 million inhabitants?
Iran’s leaders would be fools if they kept on seeking co-operation with the West and only that. But they are not fools and they understand the West much better than the West understands Iran.
The Western press has hardly told you about it, but Iran and China have concluded a comprehensive civilian and military 25-year cooperation plan to the tune of no less than US$ 400 billion.
It’s a significant example of how a new world order is emerging. And how your mainstream “free” media omits important news that doesn’t fit the Western narrative and dominance.
The US/Western world that is now sliding into a Cold War with China for no good reasons – both countries and the world have everything to win from cooperation – will tell you that China is expanding and wants to dominate the world.
But that’s nonsense.
Much closer to the truth is that one fruit after the other is falling – ripe from disappointments and anger about unfair treatment and harassment – from the Western tree to the Chinese ground, e.g. to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Had the EU had any action capacity to speak with one voice, it would today be the de facto leader of the West, the partner the rest of the world, including Iran, felt it could talk sensibly with. But it doesn’t have such a capacity – indeed perhaps less so than before.
It may also never get there if you think of the failure to act as a union (that is, unified) when facing challenges such as refugees coming in 2015, the Brexit, failure to develop a cohesive common policy vis-a-vis Iran and other Middle East issues, a common security with Russia and, now, the nationalist response to the Corona where it could not even help a fellow member like the particularly hard-hit Italy.
It is easier to blame China than to take a look at oneself and one’s own miserable policy failures and problem-denials.
And, to conclude, do not forget that the US/Western treatment of Iran since the CIA-led coup d’etat in 1953 against Iran’s democratically elected Mossadegh government has been hurtful to the West itself. This sanctions are hard on Iran, yes, but to not have economic transactions with Iran also cost tremendous sums.
Enigmatically, the US isn’t declining and falling because anybody threatens its survival. It happens as a consequence of US policies, because of a counterproductive mixture of paranoia, militarism, exceptionalism, hubris and blowbacks from a serial interventionist/war policies over decades. And combine those features with a lack of leadership and a longterm vision…
Here are some links for the reader’s own study of the new Iran-China developments and their background:
Simon Watkins, OilPrice.com
China inks military deal with Iran under secretive 25-year plan.
Patrick Lawrence in Consortium News
Cold War escapades in the Pacific
Juan Cole, Informed Comment
How Trump lost Iran to China: 25-Year ‘Lion-Dragon Deal’ makes Iran part of One Belt, One Road
Marjorie Cohn, Transcend
Trump’s harsh sanctions lead to Iran-China partnership
James Dorsey, National University of Singapore
Turning Gulf security upside down
Suzi Taherian, Forbes
US continues retreat from global stage as China-Iran forge a 25-year deal
Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, at the UN, June 30, 2020
Before the United Nations Security Council
“Non-Proliferation: implementation of Security Council resolution 2231 (2015)”
And here some examples of what can be done – and should never have been done:
Paul R. Pillar, Andrew Bacevich, Annelle Sheline and Trita Parsi at The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
A New U.S. Paradigm for the Middle East: Ending America’s Misguided Policy of Domination
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