Sino-Iran Deal is a Rejection of Global Liberalism
Sino-Iran Deal is a Rejection of Global Liberalism Cultural Homogenization is an Inadequate Foreign Policy
China and Iran’s signing of a 25-year strategic cooperation agreement last week is the latest in a long series of foreign policy developments between the two nations that utterly deny the validity of prevailing Western ideas concerning international diplomacy.
The $400 billion deal will trade heavy Chinese investments in Iranian infrastructure for increased exports of Iranian oil and will increase cultural and military ties between the two nations. China is already expected to receive nearly 1 million barrels of oil per day from Iran in March, effectively removing any incentive for Iran to attempt to negotiate itself out of US embargoes.
Additionally, if earlier drafts of the deal are any indication, it may also include direct Chinese contributions to Iran’s nuclear program and military capabilities.
The deal was signed amid renewed Iranian attempts to enrich uranium beyond the limit set by the Iran Nuclear Deal (of which China is a signatory), including the development and operation of advanced centrifuges at an underground site.
The move is also sure to be considered within the context of a growing threat of armed conflict given a recent report by US intelligence that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard was planning suicide-style assassination attacks at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. and on General Joseph Martin, the Army vice chief of staff.
The deal is certain to have far reaching consequences in terms of economic, political, and military developments over the coming decades.
What has not yet been discussed, however, is how the dominant international relations ideology in the West contributed to the deal’s development.
Among the global elite, the prevailing political philosophy since 1945 has held that a liberal, trade-based, and democratic world is necessary to ensuring peace, and that increased freedom of trade and movement between all nations is vital to preventing the outbreak of world war.
If the world’s nations are dependent upon one another for trade, the thinking goes, then they will not try to kill each other.
The problem with this theory is that it directly threatens the identity of nations that do not have insider access to global institutions by undermining real cultural differences through the proliferation a global sameness of values. Thus, while globalism is frequently touted to champion “diversity,” it in fact encourages the development of a monoculture dependent upon an agreed-upon set of universal norms and values.
This is the primary reason why global cities of import such as New York, London, and Paris are increasingly devoid of meaningful cultural differences in terms of cuisine, fashion, architecture, or politics. Once defined by their former identities of American, English, and French, the indigenous cultures of those cities are now in the process of being erased and replaced with a sort of global non-identity, universally recognized through a shared consumerism.
It is this erasure of a people’s political identity, that thing that makes it uniquely its own sovereign entity, that has most served to undermine the US attempt to carry out meaningful and fruitful relations with nations such as Iran and China. Indeed, it is this very process of depoliticization that is now being rejected by China and Iran’s strategic agreement, under the auspices of “de-Americanization.”
The US is now faced then with the fact that its near century-long dedication to fostering global liberalism has created an international state of affairs in which it cannot adequately engage with truly politically distinct nations. Put simply, the ideal of liberalism can counter economic rivals but it is wholly insufficient to the task of combating political enemies.
US interventionism in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Vietnam, and elsewhere demonstrates the fact that the vision of a global liberal order is a pipe dream which always depended upon the exertion of raw power politics to function.
Iran and China understand this and have now called the bluff. These nations have their own unique political identities that can only be maintained through an overt resistance to global liberalism and a direct reaffirmation of real cultural difference.
If the US hopes to counter the threat posed by this new Sino-Iranian agreement, it will have to redevelop its own political identity, abandon the false dream of a global unity, and accept the reality of political difference and conflict.
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