October 15, 2007

Cup of Poison

Once I read in an article about the Modern International Politics that in a Newtonian system of politics, i.e. a democracy, each nation’s strong and weak points are clearly visible to all sides; then, in the case of conflict, each nation exactly knows its own limits and maximum possible benefits it can achieve in the struggle. That way, war can be easily avoided.
When a non-democracy (i.e. a country of which there is no accurate estimate of power) there exists in the above equation, the whole debate changes. Clearly the non-democracy, usually the weaker side, tries to pretend being stronger than what it really is, in order to take advantage of the situation. If the conflict of interests ups to an extremely high level, around the threshold of war, weaker one finds itself in a very dangerous status: on one hand, it can avoid war; on the other hand, it may be fully devastated. The stronger the other side, the more scaring would be the case for the weaker side. Here, weaker side starts sending mixed signals: it shows some signs of compromise if the other side is ready.


During the 8 years of war with Iraq, Iranian leaders would always insist on this slogan that “we will fight to the last drop of our blood, to punish Saddam and free the Iraq.” Many young volunteers died for the sake of that holy war, which was in the name of Imam Hussein (the symbol of martyrdom for Shiite).
But when late Ayatollah Khomeini found that it wouldn’t be possible anymore to fight (with all the support Saddam had from westerners, the economy of Iran being a full bankrupt and the Iran’s army loosing the war to the re-empowered army of Saddam and all of his WMD), he almost gave up on all those fanatic slogans, wrote a letter and accepted the ceasefire… he said: “I drank the cup of poison”.


The tradition of ‘drinking the cup of poison’, which politically means ‘compromise’ in the glossary of extremists, plays an important role in their understanding of the world. (Though right now Iran seems to have the upper hand in Persian Gulf,) US administration should understand that IRI leaders would never commit suicide if they find the act they are doing is suicidal. Compared with suicide, drinking ‘a cup of non-lethal poison’ and keeping the power is a more rational choice, I think.


Anonymous said...

حالا این خوبه یا بد؟

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Merci beaucoup

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