Russia, Iran and Turkey Hold Tehran Summit
While the Paranoid West Views it Suspiciously
Western leaders sceptical of Tehran summit
Most Western leaders enjoin lingering suspicion if President Putin, President Ebrahim Raisi and President Erdogan will meet or could produce any tangible outcomes of Tehran Summit. Despite political discord, they met and shared their differences to cooperate for change and future-making. Why can’t the US, NATO and the EU do the same to end the military confrontations and agree to a ceasefire in Ukraine? The Tehran summit demonstrated that Putin and Raisi could engage with the West in dialogue to stop the acceleration of military conquests and perpetuated political animosities.
Historically, Tehran summit reminds us of Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin (1943) joining at the Tehran Conference to plan to invade Southern France to dismantle Germany’s Nazi occupation and seeking freedom movement for the rest of Europe. Ironically, this time at Tehran Summit, on July 19, 2022, Presidents Putin, Raisi and Erdogan met to talk about peace in Syria and how best to coordinate their policies and practices to strengthen their futuristic relationships. This appears to be in sharp contrast to what Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin had in mind – a collective offensive action to challenge the Nazi German occupation of Europe and its continuous military strength against the US and its European allies that were victims of German aggression.
Come to understand the contemporary issues of the 21st century’s Russian-American-European discord over Ukraine, Syria, Iran and the future of oil and gas supplies, grain exports and economic relationships all under scrutiny between those who once stood united against foreign aggression and killings of fellow human beings. There is amassed collection of fear, ambiguity and distrust that spells out the prevalent reality of current global affairs. There is no corresponding communications and dialogues between the superpowers to change the horrible present into a sustainable, peaceful future for the humanity populating this planet. All that is happening, or could happen, will be interpreted paradoxically befitting their own self-interest or national policies and practices carved out by senior civil servants aligned to their masters. The perplexed statistic of weapons and money to aid Ukraine represents a shaky scenario of encountering the military onslaught; it is an elite obsession embodying the decision-making at NATO and the EU. Victory is not in sight for the six-month-old proxy war.
The trilateral Tehran summit with a reason for change
Comparatively analyzing the recent visit by President Biden to the Middle East and self-repeating the myriad of support for Israel and more oil production in Saudi Arabia, as well as opposition to Iran nuclear deal, Russia, Iran and Türkiye organized a trilateral summit at a critical juncture in history and they were able to listen to, and learn from, each other without any tragic fallout against any enemy. The summit acquired a reasonable cooperation and credibility to facilitate meeting amidst many political odds, yet without any regrets, they did reach a political understanding on Syria and on enhancing their collaborative efforts to resolve more serious issues at future gatherings in Astana and Istanbul. The unchallenging truth arising out of the Tehran Summit clarifies the scenarios that leaders with divergent opinions and rational choices could meet, cooperate, agree to disagree and try to sort out their differences with reason and a sense of moral responsibility. Not so, for the US, NATO or the EU leadership; they are allergic to meeting with Russia’s President Putin and Iran’s President Raisi to discuss the political problems or the revival of Iran nuclear agreement including the Ukraine crisis or stalled natural gas or diminishing oil supplies to Western Europe. These leaders live in conflicting time zones as if Russia, Iran and Türkiye are just symbolic entities to be pushed aside or not worth listening to, and are treated as people of the primitive past. This characterization injects history into a negative direction that once there was a Russian Empire, a Persian Empire and an Ottoman Empire dominating the Middle East – European hemisphere. The Western leaders try to belittle the leaders of Russia, Iran and Türkiye in their hollow laughters and after -dinner jokes, yet these nations are equally credible, sincere and vital to global interest, peace and security.
Are the leaders of America, NATO and the EU living in stunned, embarrassed silence to watch Putin, Raisi and Erdogan as they conclude a successful conference? At the Tehran summit, their differences on Syria and its future were noticeable but they discussed their rationales and agreed to disagree on Syria and its future course of peace and nation-building. Türkiye explained its opposition to the authoritarian rule of Bashar al-Assad and the operations of several terrorist groups launching attacks against Türkiye. Russia keeps considerable military presence in support of al-Assad and helps him to avoid the endgame; and so does Iran to provide continuous military support to the dictator for almost 11 years. There is no end in sight to the prolonged Syrian war but the leaders were open to discuss it. Perhaps, in time and future context, if they continued to manage the differences, the besieged people of Syria could see the light at the end of the tunnel for peace and normalization of life. Russia and Iran do not host Syrian refugees but Türkiye and Germany have the largest number of several millions displaced Syrian refugees without any hope for a peaceful return to their homeland. In sharp contrast to Ukrainian refugees, Europeans, other than Germany and France, have not shown any interest to accommodate Arab refugees in their socio-religious midst.
Global leaders must be realist, not opportunist
Would the acrimonious debates for peace and ceasefire in Ukraine stick in mud across America, NATO and the EU? Reflecting politically and logically on current global affairs, the US and its Western allies will sooner or later hold meetings with Russian and Ukrainian leaders to strike a peace deal. Why to waste time and opportunities and extend unpredictability and unthinkable frightening trends to future-making and start the dialogue right now for an immediate ceasefire and peacemaking?
At the threshold of the 21st century, America, NATO and its European allies appear to have lost the moral and intellectual capacity necessary to visualize the vision and phenomenon of realism to serve the interest of people – the larger humanity for peace and security. This scenario of realism demands urgency in current affairs for rational approach to conflict-resolution and peacemaking. Hans J. Morgenthau (Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, 1978): the legendry theorists of the 20th century, points out:
“Realism, believing as it does in the objectivity of the laws of politics … politics must be subjected to the dual test of reason and experience … for realism, theory consists in ascertaining facts and giving them meaning through reason … If we want to know the moral and political qualities of his (politician’s) actions, we must know them, not his motives.”
Viewing the catastrophic war and daily human causalities in Ukraine, the political realism demands urgent consideration to stop the tragic tension of history and try to cease a moment for navigational change overpowering the individualistic absurdities of Western national interest and NATO’s agenda for increased influence across the world. Naïve egoism shrouds the strategic mystery as to why the US, NATO and the EU failed to stop the war in Ukraine. The hilarious impersonation of enemies in Russia and Iran dwells into unthinkable consequences for the whole of mankind. Neither America nor NATO is the sole leader of collective security of the planet Earth; it’s the shared responsibility of all nations – a collective, proactive vision to be at peace on this fast-moving Earth. The sense of mystery and mortal danger to the interest and security of mankind must not be allowed to become an agenda item of political intrigues and global cataclysm-in-waiting, be it the gas-oil supplies, be it the grain export and, above all, realism of morality to be One Humanity living in coexistence on One Earth. Otherwise, the prevalent political and hypocritical ignorance and arrogance could lead to a Third World War. The equality of human beings and state sovereignty synthesize an equal consideration and treatment of all involved in this warfare. The global awakening of human soul and consciousness demands an immediate ceasefire and return to face-to- face negotiations amongst Russia, Ukraine, NATO and the EU. If they reject, surely, a debacle could sweep unthinkable catastrophic consequences and ends for all on this planet. Immanuel Kant’s advice that “intellectuals must be seated in assemblies” to ensure rational policies and practices is a timely reminder to all the leaders in America, Russia and Europe.
Isn’t it true that intelligent leaders and people always readily accept reasoned advice?
Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in international affairs, global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: One Humanity and the Remaking of Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution. Lambert Academic Publications, Germany.