Power play politics is not new as we all know. It has been used effectively in the past to alleviate threats by adversaries whether political or economic and many experts can probably come up with a long list of historical precedence where power play really did work. What I would suggest, however is that this approach in policy is one of demising returns when used aggressively and in situations where it is warranted. As a matter of fact it come become a vice/vulnerability rather than a strength and reason is quite simple and requires no political expert to conclude; desperate situations call for equally desperate measures, so prudence/wisdom go out the window and dangerous reactionary politics rules the day; this is just common sense. Now when taking Iran here are a few points I’d like to make;
- The Iran nuclear deal if anything is a proof that pressure/power play does actually work but only when it is balanced/measures while allowing “compromise” to an important factor in the negotiation. There is no better/viable deal that we’ve heard of so far, so to scrap it without basis is the kind of power play that eventually becomes an own goal. What it should be is one of the confidence building measures to build on it NOT remove “confidence” from the equation altogether. Chickening out of the deal is NOT defeating Iran but rather undermining your own trustworthiness not to mentioned more importantly your own values as a nation – things that only take generations to build. We all agree there needs to be visible action from Iran to change course in Middle East politics but that ain’t the way to convince them to do it and baring in mind the interconnectivity of issues in the region. This approach only translates to more actors meddling into regional politics of the Middle East which can get messy pretty quickly judging from history.
- The U.S. policy on Iran is driven solely from foreign influence whether it be from Israel or Gulf states pure and simple. This is something I’ve eluded to in many of previous posts, and I call it; importing foreign conflicts into our political eco system either through mis-judgement/naivety or through intent by openly allowing/normalising the approach where allies – or sometimes even adversaries – circumvent our Democracy through lobbyists/special interest groups in making key foreign policy decisions that we do NOT actually support and the reason is simple; we’ve become passive observers when it comes to foreign policy matters – many of which even go unreported – because we assume it doesn’t really affect us – well think again and think really hard.
Nothing makes this case better than the news we learn today of John Bolton security adviser to Covfefe traveling to Israel for talks focusing on Iran. I am not sure if he plans further stops in the Gulf but it might be easier for the White House to establish branches within the Middle East to make life just a tad easier when formulating policy infecting the region.
- Let me also suggest that it is truly disappointing to see many European businesses including car manufacturers chicken out of the Iranian market due to economic pressures by the Trump administration. If our businesses are not even willing to put up a fight in protecting their interest against this kind of economic blackmail may I suggest that we’ll be encouraging/normalising this approach and we’ll be undermining our own values in favour of a buck which is much more serious; so trust me this ain’t the way to go if your really want to know.
Bottom line is this; I want us in the UK and in Europe in general to understand that foreign policy matters/affects us all with consequences felt now and more to come in the near future. As such we need to make sure that politicians understand they are accountable to us in making foreign policy decisions not just hypothetically but by developing mechanisms that allow direct public oversight of the decisions made. I would also highly recommend that we start a Europe-wide public/open debate about Foreign Policy, it’s effects and equally important the influence of Lobbyists/Special Interest groups – whether national or foreign – on our policy/decision making structures. Here are some of the questions that deserve answers/solutions;
- How does Foreign Policy affect Immigration, Security, the Economy?
- What role if any did Foreign Policy & Foreign Influence play in the rise of the far Right in the West and undermining our Democracy?
- How are decisions to support/supply arms to allies sometimes impact in prolonging conflicts and causing human right abuses/suffering? Does that affect us in anyway?
- How do we cleanse our Democracy from the disease of influence/corruption instigated by foreign and national Lobbyist & Special Interest groups and powerful individuals?
Our Democracy really deserves some attention before it is fit enough to evolve and propel us to a more sustainable path towards social, economic and environmental development; so let’s first ensure the foundation is sound.
Hope that makes sense, and if not well maybe it’s just the heatwave 🙂