On Saturday, September 19, the ReAsonance Forum will host an event entitled “Nation-states in a multilateral environment. An online discussion on the policy dilemmas facing key countries of the Middle East, South Asia and China”. The platform, established only recently, is a bilateral Indian-Russian initiative; following the professional background of its founders, the topics brought up at the Forum concern various legal and socio-political questions.
Distinguished speakers and practitioners from Australia, China, India, Iran and Pakistan will take part. To learn more about the Forum and stay informed of its future activities, please refer to its Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/reasonanceforum/
Registration is required; to attend the discussion, kindly fill an online form at https://forms.gle/z6v6CLwBhYxtHXi9A
September 19, 1:00pm (IST, Delhi)
Foreign Finance Advisor and Political Analyst. NECOS (Italy); WHO in Tehran, Iran.
Foreign Policy Author. Former diplomat, shadow ministerial advisor in Australia and the UK, columnist.
Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director, Center for West Asian and African Studies, Shanghai Institute of International Studies, China.
Zahid Shahab Ahmed
Research Fellow at Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalization, Deakin University, Australia.
1. Ideology vs. pragmatism: values-guided or values-free politics?
The ascendance of Ayatollah Khomeini in the revolutionary Iran was marked by the struggle of many factions holding on to differing visions. The consolidation of power thus required a merger of the so-called third worldist – essentially Marxist – ideas and Shia Islam. Khomeinism insisted on the evil nature of both the USSR and the US, while itself being an ideology that eventually had to give in to the pragmatic considerations of geopolitics.
Is ideology relevant today?
How do divergent interpretations of Islam affect the foreign policies of Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia?
Can Indian soft power be felt across the Muslim world?
Is China ideology-free and if so, does this imply it can act as a mediator between the values-driven governments, such as those of Iran and the US?
2. Security concerns and business connections
In the 1980s, a scandal erupted in Germany as it was found that many companies, both legally and illegally, shared the technology and equipment needed to produce a nuclear bomb with some of the potential proliferators. Several years earlier, a Pakistani physicist Dr. Khan returned home from Europe to help the country develop its own bomb following its acquisition by India. He then set up a global undercover proliferation network and was selling sensitive know-how and physical items to the states whose interests could have easily clashed with those of Pakistan. Since these activities had been revealed, the IAEA mandate was expanded and the NSG export criteria grew more serious.
What influence does Iranian nuclear program bear on its relations with India and Pakistan?
Does China, like Germany, disapprove of the ultimate endorsement by the US of the nuclear possession of these two countries and Israel?
Are states doing enough to ensure that the non-state actors do not undermine regional and global security?