Russian-Iranian Partnership for a Multipolar World
Aleksandr Dugin’s speech at the Russian-Iranian cooperation in the modern geopolitical conditions roundtable with Ali Akbar Velayati in RISS.
We live in a transitional period. It is important to understand what the “transition” is, from what and to where. The Era of Transition. After the Soviet Union’s dissolution, since 1991, the unipolar world order model began to develop. This model, proclaimed by Charles Krauthammer, the American political scientist, as the “unipolar moment”, ended in 2000. Krauthammer himself recognizes this fact. Thus, we live in a moment of transition away from a unipolar world. But a transition to what kind of world?
Unipolar, American hegemony, American domination still exists, they have not yet stopped. But, it is evident that in some perspectives, as a trend, this unipolarity is not long-term and cannot remain stable. Thus, the alternative gradually develops. Unipolarity ends, but what starts? It is very important for Russians and for Iranians to understand clearly these two aspects: from what we are moving from (unipolarity) and to what we are moving towards. The answer for the second question is far less evident.
Russia counts on the “multipolar world” concept. The multipolar world is not a return to a bipolar world, to a confrontation between the two systems. The multipolar world implies a balance between not a few countries (it is not the Westphalian system), but of several civilizations.
In the modern world, most of the national states are formally recognized as sovereign, they can be neither sovereign, nor free. Their sovereignty and freedom are fictitious. In reality, the states can only be sovereign when they are able to defend their freedom and independence in the face of an external challenge. Therefore, the automatic recognition of sovereignty and independence is not yet true strategic sovereignty. Hence, there is a need for the integration process. Hence, a country’s inability, even as large such as France or Germany and, I would say, Turkey or Pakistan, and even Iran to defend their independence alone. The alliances, the integration process are needed; therefore, Russia is building the Eurasian Union, the integration of the former Soviet Union. Therefore, there is the European Union as the system of collective security. As Iran can exist as a sovereign state only in the system of a multipolar world, it should also think about it more.
In this regard, I would like to make a practical proposal – I think it is very important, perhaps, in the long term – to hold in Iran the Conference on the theory of multipolar world and Iran's place in a multipolar world, and to consider the system of Russian-Iranian relations in the context of multipolarity. This is very important, in my opinion, because we know what we're leaving, but understand less what we’re getting, and even less do we know the features and nuances of the meaning of multipolarity and its affects on Russian-Iranian relations.
I believe that now is the most favorable time for the development of Russian-Iranian relations. In this, a unique window of opportunity has opened, because now, more than ever, it is clear that Iran, and Russia have many common interests and values. If we talk about common interests, then, first of all, it is necessary to emphasize what I have already said that Iran as a sovereign state, which is interested in maintaining its independence. But another sovereign state, interested in preserving their own independence, is Russia. From this it is clear that we are neighbors and we equally do not accept the US’ hegemony, and the Iranian leadership emphasized this many times, and the Russian leadership constantly emphasizes it.
Pay attention to the history of sanctions. We are under sanctions for our sovereignty, you were under sanctions for your sovereignty, and yet it is not clear how it will turn out. As a result, Iran and Russia are moving in the same direction to strengthen their place in a multipolar world. Accordingly, there, we have common interests.
Furthermore, we have common geopolitical interests. I want to pay attention to the fact that Iran historically was an obstacle to the implementation of southern Russian (the Russian Empire) policy. Hence the Russian-Persian war. But at the same time, Russia largely was an obstacle to the implementation of Iran's interests in the Caucasus and central Asia.
While we were in a state of hostility, we interfered with and impeded each other. But today it is obvious, and history shows that two great countries, such as Iran and Russia, are not able to defeat each other. And today we have neither the desire, nor the will, nor the resources to do it. And, if we create a deep geopolitical partnership, we will form an alliance, a union, we - Iranians and Russians - will implement our strategic goals. And, in this case, we will achieve what could never be achieved in the course of war. Russia will receive a friendly country, which will provide access to the warm seas, and Iran gets a reliable partner in the North. Together we will be able to start the reorganization of the Central Asian geopolitical space, in order to prevent the interference of external forces there.
Iran and Russia have common interests and common strategic objectives, and our convergence on these issues will solve a lot of problems, which would not be solved otherwise, including a fair balance of forces in the Caspian Sea, as well as in the whole Central Asia and the Caucasus. And, most importantly, the most relevant today is Syria, because, today we are fighting on the same side in Syria. There is not only a political, but also military presence of Russia and Iran, and the Lebanese Hezbollah, who largely follows Iran.
Therefore, today we can talk about the geopolitics of a Russian-Shiite alliance. Of course, Russia makes this choice not in an ideological, religious sphere, but in a pragmatic one, nevertheless the fact of a Russian-Shiite alliance is evident. I suggest drawing attention to this. It is no coincidence that the same forces that oppose our countries – Russia and Iran – in Syria, oppose us in other parts of the world. Even in the North Caucasus, in our own territory. In Bahrain, in Yemen – today we are together on all fronts. It is not by accident. The Russian-Shiite alliance is the imperative of modern Russia’s (and Iran's) policy.
And the last thing I would like to note is that when we talk about interests, it is, of course, important. Now our interests fully coincide. It is rare case when they coincide this much. This is a very important point. And I think that it is necessary to gain all the consequences of this historic opportunity, this historic chance. But the interests are something temporary, transitory. Now they are like this, but tomorrow they can change. And it is extremely important to add to our interests an alliance of values.
Now I would like to pay attention to the wonderful conversation that I had some time ago in the Qom with one of the spiritual leaders of Iran, who said that Iran's secret is the “culture of expectation”. But, in fact, this culture of expectation for the final fair world, the arrival of Mahdi, the twelfth Imam, the end of the occultation cycle, hiding great Al-Ghaib; it's very consonant with the worldview of Orthodox Russians. We also live in a culture of expectation; we look forward to the Second Coming too. And the future, which is waiting for us, it is not the future of this world, which is ruled by injustice, lies, exploitation, but that of a fair society.
And the last thing I would like to say: Ayatollah Khomeini’s letter to Gorbachev is extremely important, in which he warned, predicting, that if the Soviet perestroika will move towards the West, it will lead to collapse: political, spiritual, geopolitical. So it happened. This letter appeared to become reality. No one payed attention to it, which was a mistake.
In this letter, the spiritual leader of the Iranian revolution said: pay attention to the two authors – only two authors he quotes from the entire richness of Islamic and Iranian thought – of Shahab Yahya Suhrawardi and Ibn Arabi. But these two authors are deep mysticism, theorists of the East and, most importantly, Suhrawardi is met with such a term as the “western exile”, “wells of exile.” This is consistent not only with spiritual geography, but also with geopolitical geography. The West is a place of exile. And we see today that it is a place where the sun of tradition decreases. So, what has the modern West become? It is a degenerative place and hell on earth.
So, Suhrawardi and Ibn Arabi were close to the Orthodox mystical monkhood, to our contemplative style and, finally, to our sacred geography, where the East (Russia is the East) is the center of the positive pole, and the West is the negative one. Accordingly, the last thing I want to say, I think that the time we live in opens up the possibility also for deep spiritual and religious dialogue between our civilizations, between the two countries based on a similar culture of expectations.