Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Dream of "Pax Persica"

The Dream of “Pax Persica”

Ali-Asghar Kazemi
18 April 2006

April 2006 will be remembered in contemporary history of Iran as a landmark. In this month Iran has become once again the focus of attention in international media. At the end of this month the fate of Iran‘s nuclear ambitions will be decided upon by the U.N. Security Council.

While waiting for a deadline to comply with the demand of this world body to halt its presumed peaceful nuclear activities, the Islamic regime has opted for a policy of defiance and confrontation. Claiming that it has reached the full cycle uranium enrichment, it has said that the breakthrough was for the benefit of peace and security of the all Moslem nations, leaving the impression of “big brother” trying to bring the region under its nuclear protection. This reminds the unfulfilled dreams of the old regime that, according to antagonists, wanted to revive the Persian imperium by ascending to regional supremacy and becoming “gendarme” of the Persian Gulf region. Now as a self-claimed member of the nuclear club, the Islamic fundamentalist regime contemplates the vision of achieving that objective by establishing what I venture to call “Pax Persica” among the Moslem community (Umma’h).

Once the Persian Empire ruled the largest known political dominion of the ancient times and challenged the Greeks and Romans on land and at sea. Persian supremacy in those days was not merely backed by the audacity and courage of its warriors or instruments of war but transpired from the leadership, tolerance and ingenuity of its rulers. Jewish people still remember and celebrate the memory of the Persian king, Cyrus the Great, who liberated them from the tyranny of Pharaohs in ancient Egypt.

Pax Romana and Pax Britannica were indeed the product of wisdom of great diplomats and politicians who guaranteed the capacity to tip the scales by allying themselves with the weaker nations of their times against whatever state or coalition of states threatened to become predominant. The whole idea relates to the concept of “balance of power” as a prerequisite to avoid crisis escalation and to establish a durable peace and order or to preserve the status quo in a vulnerable region.

The balance of power system was a process of checking power with a counterpower. The suitable method to accomplish this end was the formation of alliances. One chief alleged benefit of the balance was to guarantee the survival and independence of small nations who were protected by the “balancer” from being overwhelmed by the large ones or, otherwise saying, to ensure peace and stability in an anarchic world.

A careful scrutiny of this theory in the current state of affairs in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, leads one to believe that the present international relations fall short of proving the validity of balance of power. This is especially true at this critical time with respect to the Islamic regime in Iran that not only lacks the world support and that of the Islamic community in the region, but also is far beyond the current state of art and technology needed for a power to be reckoned with. Furthermore, to act as a “balancer” a state should not be guided merely by national egotism but by universal values and international altruism. In other words, if the endeavor reduces to self-interest for survival, any such plan or strategy is doomed to failure and my further aggravate the situation.

“Pax Americana” is a good example which, despite its worldwide hegemony, earnestly seeks the support of other great powers in the Security Council and elsewhere in order to form a viable coalition against the presumed threats of the Islamic regime in Iran; whereas this latter even lacks the support of Moslem nations. We should recognize that in the chaotic state of world affairs, it is not much difficult for a superpower to deal with a threat of minor magnitude in the military scale. This means that no matter how powerful a nation might be, it has nonetheless the need the support for its plans and strategy.

If a political entity is caught in the obsession of challenging the power or the very existence of other nations, surely it has to be either supported by some unknown forces beyond the actual equation of balance of material power or it should be devoid of conventional wisdom and common sense. Indeed, the power and merci of the Almighty God is not the monopoly of a specific religion, sect or creed. No single nation can claim to represent the true path to salvation and preach the other the accepted norms of ethics.

“Pax Persica” can be reached only through tolerance, compassion and sympathy towards other nations in the tumultuous region of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. Great powers should abstain from aggravating the already volatile situation of this area. Since, this will only benefit the adventurers who would like to escalate the crisis situation to the threshold of an unwanted war in order to consolidate their power and guarantee their own survival. The dream of “Pax Persica can turn to nightmare if not properly handled. /


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