Professor calls for non-violent policies
In a talk titled “The Cases of Afghanistan and Iran,” Danspeckgruber noted the changing role of the United States in international affairs and the consequences of neglecting countries such as Afghanistan and Iran. Central Asia is now one of the most dangerous areas in the world, he explained.
“For me, it’s no longer a question of whether a nuclear detonation may happen in a conflict in the future, but when,” he said.
Danspeckgruber cited the suicide attack on the Indian Parliament on Dec. 13, 2001, as an example of how close the world has come to nuclear warfare in recent years. Indian leaders suspected Pakistan of launching the attack, which prompted Tony Blair’s emergency visit to New Delhi to discourage Indian and Pakistani leaders from using nuclear weapons against each other.
Iran is an obvious state of concern, Danspeckgruber continued, saying that unilateral action against Iran by the United States would not be easy under the watchful eyes of global powers such as Russia, China and the European Union.
“We may still have a heating up in the U.S.-Iran crisis,” he said in an e-mail after the lecture.
He noted that he has heard “grave concern about the deteriorating relationship between Washington and Tehran, especially since the latest trip of Vice President Cheney to the region. Many there also feel that with the decapitation of Saddam Hussain, the U.S. has served parts of Iraq and a large geopolitical advantage to Iran on a silver plate.”
Danspeckgruber said that the “clock is ticking” on Iran, because for the first time there are regional spoilers such as Russia and China who may enhance Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
When speaking to Iranian diplomats, Danspeckgruber said that Iran cannot be treated in the same manner as other nations.
“You can’t be expected to be treated as a normal regional power if your president states that ‘Israel should be wiped off the map,’ ” he explained.
One solution he offered was the creation of a regional regime involving Pakistan, India, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and other countries along the Gulf to ensure that outside influences, such as Russia and China, do not exploit the region’s unstable situation.
“We ought to communicate: I respect your culture and hope you can respect mine,” Danspeckgruber said.
He also said he frequently asks the diplomats with whom he negotiates whether they want children. He said he hopes that asking such forward-looking questions will discourage diplomats from allowing attacks to continue.
“You have to neutralize them before they do attack you; or make them incapable of doing it,” Danspeckgruber said. “That’s why it’s much better to talk to them, listen to them, and communicate with them, and try to convince them without actual use of brute force.”
Danspeckgruber is the founding director of the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination at the University and currently works on issues related to democratization in Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asia.
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