International Security in the Trend of Anti-globalization
----Speech at the 6th World Peace Forum
Kamal Kharrazi , President of Iran's Strategic Council for Foreign Relations
It is my pleasure to share my views in this important conference which addresses issues related to international security. I deem it necessary to thank the organizers of this forum for the hospitality extended to my delegation.
At the outset, I would like to refer to three post-World War II major developments in international security:
1- Independence of colonized states and their takeover by dictatorial regimes which enjoyed the support of western countries; besides, dissection of large countries into smaller ones with fabricated borders caused displacement of many people from their homelands and separated them from their history, culture and identity; This phenomenon, like fire under ash, prepared the grounds for ethnic clashes and constant instability in those countries which in some cases turned into regional and international conflicts, perpetuated to this date.
2- Annihilation of the bipolar world order; following the breakup of the Soviet Union, the United States unsuccessfully tried to establish a unipolar world, but instead, a number of regional powers were emerged which hold much power and influence in their own regions. In this new circumstances, in which both world and regional powers play roles, a new paradigm in international relations is imperative, in which all world and regional powers should cooperate.
3- The emergence of globalization which has been expedited by the development of information and communication technology in past decades, could be an opportunity for participation of all state-nations in advancement of global affairs in order to create synergy and bring benefits for all. Globalization could also help with trans-national and national transformations in cultural, economic, political, social and security domains.
Therefore, globalization could prove to be the desirable model for the post bipolar world system.
4- Unfortunately, despite the optimism which globalization created among nations, it turned to be a tool for acquisitiveness and cultural influence of big powers, and led to discontentment and frustration of small countries. In fact, globalization helped the powerful countries to have more resources at their disposal and small countries remained in their impoverishment and under¬development. The contradiction between theory and practice of globalization still exists in such a way that makes it a failure.
On the other hand, following the development of information and communication technologies and expansion of social networks, western powers tried to expand their cultural influence in other countries including Muslim world and sub-European Muslim communities which led to their humiliation. This disgruntlement helped the extremist groups to recruit the youth in those communities, and to consider globalization tantamount with the loss of their values, and identity as a result of cultural influence of those powers. Economic pressure and unemployment were among the other factors which facilitated the grounds for recruitment of the youth by those extremist groups.
In these circumstances, the agenda of international and regional cooperation organizations has been also changed. The regional alliances which could help the global economic development turned to be an instrument in serving the interests of big powers. This trend continued up to the recent US presidential election, when each power tried to secure its maximal interests. The rivalry between economic powers was in practice in favor of one, and to the loss of the other, in which the United States found itself to be at loss. Therefore, anti-globalization was used by Donald Trump, the US presidential candidate as a slogan, which helped him to win.
In the meantime, the breakout of Arab revolutions in the North-Africa and Middle East regions and its aftermath interference of some countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, in which their support for extremist groups, such as Al-Qaeda (Jebhato-Nosrah) and ISIL (Daesh) could result in the ouster of the governments of those countries and their replacement with a Takfiri anti-human entity.
On the other hand, activities of terrorists and their recruitment from various countries including European ones, and the return of some of the trained members of the afore-mentioned groups to their homelands, in order to orchestrate terrorist acts, what sparked an anti-globalization wave, and led to the rise of ultra-nationalism and populism in countries such as the United States and some parts of Europe.
What needs to be stressed here is the role of some western countries in supporting or keeping silent against formation and activities of those terrorist groups in Middle East. In this encounter, European countries and the US extended their support for those countries which had created this mess and even provided those groups with intelligence, weapons, training, and helped them to topple the legal governments in Iraq and Syria.
However, the Islamic Republic of Iran upon the request of the governments of Iraq and Syria, did not hesitate to help them to prevent the overthrow of those governments. Of course, Iran took note of its own national security too, keeping terrorism away of its borders.
Consequently, globalization evolved into its antithesis, namely anti-globalization and entailed expansion of unemployment, terrorism and insecurity in real and cyber environments, which has turned to be a complicated trans-national phenomenon. Unlike governments which are confined to their borders, the world has become so borderless that detection, monitoring and assessment of security threats have become impossible. Due to the countries’ interdependence, insecurity in one country may have impacts on others. Meanwhile, what impedes efforts in the fight against terrorism is the lack of collective endeavor.
Unfortunately, we are witnessing today that some countries take their economic interests over their national security. For instance, following the September 11th attack in 2001, the US congress in collaboration with the American intelligence and security apparatuses prepared a 28 page confidential report which corroborated the involvement of Saudi citizens in that horrific attack. However, as a result of the economic interests of the US and the slush funds paid by Saudi Arabia, the prosecution and penalization process of this culprit state has so far not come into realization.
Unfortunately, such cautionary behavior is observed from some European countries too. Despite the fact that they know that Saudi Arabia is the origin and breeding ground of Wahhabi Takfiri terrorism and that this country has played a key role in creating and supporting these terrorist groups, they have kept silent for the sake of their economic interests, and in spite of receiving blows from terrorists groups, they show no serious reaction against that country.
Anyway, opposition to globalization was well manifested in the recent US presidential election, in which Trump as an anti-structural candidate was able to win. Criticizing foreigners, blocking the travel of citizens from Islamic countries to the US, building wall at the US-Mexico border to prevent illegal migration, threatening China for exporting its competitive commodities to the United States, unemployment of American workers were all items stressed in the presidential race by this candidate who considered all of those problems as the results of globalization.
The US economic problems, falling behind its new competitors like China, which had experienced double-digit growth, manifested itself in reduction of American exports and its declining share of world's production, causing massive discontentment within the United States. As a result, the United States found itself a loser in this competition and reacted by joining to the anti-globalization camp. Trump’s antagonism towards globalization was shown in his presidential slogans of withdrawing from regional and international agreements, such as Paris Agreement on climate change, as a symbol of globalization; what he fulfilled after winning the election.
Thus, globalization sparked the emergence of extremism and security troubles in other societies; caused economic powers like US to lag behind other economic powers and led to the rise of ultra-nationalism. Some of the European politicians in their electoral campaigns took advantage of terrorist incidents in their countries and unemployment, security and migration issues, in order to rally opposition to globalization and thereby provoked nationalism. The migration of refugees and job seekers from East Europe to the United Kingdom triggered a wave which led to Brexit referendum. Therefore, it can be said that anti-globalization has led to the expansion of extremism, terrorism, security fears, unemployment and migration of refugees.
Consequently, international security in 21st century is featured by close relationship between globalization and decline of economic growth, expansion of terrorism and rise of ultra-nationalism. Globalization through the expansion of its social networks, media, and financial institutions has strengthened terrorist organizations, and lack of international cooperation in fighting with terrorism has led to international insecurity.
At the end, it is necessary to emphasize the followings:
1- Globalization, if promoted the participation of all countries in global governance and if precluded the big powers' acquisitiveness and imposition of their influence on others, could culminate in the growth, development and prosperity of all parties. Iran welcomes such a multi¬polar world which has to be founded based on democratic principles.
2- On the other hand, the anti-globalization phenomenon which is the fruit of western powers' acquisitiveness and imposition of their culture on others has led to the humiliation of Muslim communities, the rise of religious and national extremism, and the ominous phenomenon of terrorism which can engulf the whole world.
3- The West, for the sake of its national interests, should not condone Takfiri terrorism which is rooted in Wahhabism ideology, because the youth borne in western countries and joined the ranks of Takfiri terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria, would eventually return to their homelands and may perpetrate terrorist acts in those countries.
4- The Islamic Republic of Iran, which has been a major victim of terrorism and was recently subject to an attack by ISIL, is firm in its fight against terrorism and is prepared for cooperation with other parties to that effect.
(24 June 2017, Beijing)