"Why do you always want to settle world affairs by using force and weapons? This era is finished and we are in the era of thought and culture."
(A response by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran to President George W. Bush of the USA who recently branded him as tyrant and threatened to use force to solve the nuclear dispute)
In diplomacy, words play very important role in conveying messages from one government to another. The diplomats might put the messages in flowery words to disguise their real intentions but often time the words are straightforward and directly targeted. President Bush of the USA and President Ahmadinejad of Iran are examples of diplomats or heads of states that do not mind the use of direct wording in conveying their messages across.
Remember the time when President Ahmadinejad told his supporters that “Israel should be wiped out of the world map” and “the Jewish holocaust by Nazi is a myth”? And remember the day after September 11 attacks of WTC in New York when President Bush said that “either you are with us or against us” as reference to Al-Qaeda? And his recent comments on “Islamic fascists” and description of Iran's leaders "tyrants," compared them with Al Qaeda terrorists and that the world's free nations would not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon?
These are examples of direct use of words in diplomacy that tends to convey some confrontationist and aggressive policy.
It is a public secret that Iran and the US have not been able to get along well ever since the Islamic revolution took place in Iran in 1979. Moreover, the hawkish policy of the US government in the region and towards Muslim countries as a whole has provoked even further the disenchantment between the two governments. The latest is the Iranian ambition to acquire nuclear technology and strong opposition from the US government regarding the matter. Accusing Iran of building nuclear weaponry in the disguise of developing peaceful nuclear technology, the US use all its resources to block the realization of Iranian nuclear program.
Acquiring nuclear technology is the right of any sovereign nation. This is not an exclusive right of certain group or countries to possess the technology. As long as the concerned country is responsible and using the technology for peaceful purposes, there should be no objection to it. Iran, as well as other country like India or Indonesia, is eligible to acquire the technology for peaceful purposes. The increasing needs of energy to sustain the development of these developing countries have urged them to find sustainable source of energy. Nuclear technology is one of the ways to fulfill this energy need and thus they should not be denied of this right to acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Coming back to the quotation above, it is interesting to see that the president of a country that claims to be the leader of the “world’s free nations” and the oldest democracy in the world used strong and even confronting rhetoric to force its personal agenda of “dominating the world”. The use of “language of force” or threats to solve differences is an opposition to democracy and democratic principles. It is like a cowboy who always pulls his gun whenever and wherever he wants to solve problems he is confronting. In the free world, cowboys only live in movies, not in reality. Instead, dialogue, deliberation, discussion as well as the rule of law are the guidelines that should be followed by all inhabitants to solve problems. The use of force is no longer an acceptable way to resolve problems. On the contrary, the use of force will only add to more problems.
President Bush’s use of language of force in this free world against Iran’s “stubbornness” to defend its right as a sovereign nation is like a cowboy who is eager to pull the trigger of his guns to resolve his problem. Once enemy’s dead, problem’s solved. Simple. But look at Iraq, Afghanistan or Lebanon in recent time. The use of force only added to more misery and complication of problems to the populace in these countries. It did not solve their problem.
Realizing the grave outcome of any use of force, President Ahmadinejad said that the cowboy’s era is finished and “we are in the era of thought and culture”. Iran, a country led by a “tyrant”, is ready to discuss the nuclear dispute between Iran and the rest of the world and listen to the argumentations in order to arrive at the solution to the problem. Iran is against the use of force and weapons and it is against the US and British plans to dominate the world.
Furthermore, President Ahmadinejad last month invited President Bush to a television debate "under the condition that nothing is censored". However, the White House rejected the invitation terming it as a "distraction" from the nuclear dispute. It is an attempt by Iran to “threaten” the US.
Iran’s insistence to conduct dialogue, discussion and negotiation to resolve problems and differences instead of confrontation and the use of force and weapons shows that in the world of free nations even a “tyrant” prefers the peaceful means of discussion and dialogue and the rule of law to solve problems. The era of settling problems and world affairs by the use of weapons and force is over and the era of thought and culture has arrived in which reasons and dialogue rule. It is now “the era of people and nobody should believe that they can sit in their glass houses and rule over the world.”
Who is the tyrant and who is the cowboy? Is it something of two faces of the same coin? Or is it really two different things? The answer is up to you to decide.