Trump nervous due to devastating  Coronavirus impact on US economy: Adib-Moghaddam

TEHRAN, Mar. 24 (MNA) – Professor Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, Chair of the Centre for Iranian Studies at the London Middle East Institute believes that “The United States under the Trump administration has turned into a fragile state, in many ways seen to be rogue even by allies in Europe.”

Professor in Global Thought and Comparative Philosophies and Chair of the Centre for Iranian Studies at the London Middle East Institute, also adds that “Trump administration is seriously nervous about the devastating impact that the virus will have on the US economy which was quite literally the “trump card” of this administration or at least they tried to present it as such.”

Here is the full text of the interview.

What are the most important reasons for the resurgence of rightists and psycho-nationalists in Europe and the United States?

There are several reasons, of course. But if pressed hard for one of the main dynamics, I would say that they have organized better than the so-called “Left”. There is now a global right-wing movement that is institutionalized and very well-financed. Their ideas are geared to xenophobia, racism and the division of humanity between good and bad more generally, and they easily transmit these ideas through social media such as Twitter and Facebook which are used to manipulate in the same way the TV and radio were used in the past. In the meantime, people retreat into their own myopic identities, as a remedy, instead of calling for universal norms and acting in the name of common humanity. This retreat into “identity” reinforces the politics of the right-wing, as it catalyzes their enemy image.

One of the most important developments in the Middle East was the announcement of the US withdrawal from the region. But in practice, this has not happened. Is really the US pulling its troops out of the region?

The US is not one-dimensional, of course. But if we start the analysis with the current Trump administration, then the only way that this type of politician will understand that the troops serve no real purpose is through a sustained campaign that will increase the costs of keeping the troops in place. There is no doubt that this campaign must be primarily driven by diplomacy in the region, that signal to the smaller countries of the Persian Gulf, that a regional security architecture is possible, and that they don’t have to fear Iran and the country’s inability to stabilise itself and to lead on international matters. After all, Iran is part of the problem and one of the reasons, why some of the smaller states outsource their security to the United States. This perception must be addressed, and it can only be done when Iran pacifies itself, its domestic realm. A country that doesn’t ensure the human security of its own people, will never be seen as a guarantor for stability. It’s as easy as that. Once Iran stands for more than sloganeering and populism, it will be that much easier to forge a common security umbrella and to meet the legitimate concerns of the smaller states in the region.

One of the major problems facing the US now and in the future is China. In various Western security documents, including a statement from the Munich Security Conference, China has been cited as a threat. How will America be able to contain China? Will the containment policy work?

The United States under the Trump administration has turned into a fragile state, in many ways seen to be rogue even by allies in Europe. Why are there so many questions about the United States in Iran? Why the slogan “death to America”? Thanks to the Trump Administration the US is already dead in terms of its cultural diplomacy. Iran needs to move on from its phobia of the United States and its obsession with the country. China is already the future, Russia is another factor, and Europe continues to set the standard for human rights for its own citizens, and then there is Latin America, Japan etc. It is time to discard the ghosts of the past, and to turn latent independence achieved in 1979 into manifest independence which requires moving away from this subliminal US-focused national cognition in Iran which is a residue of the past. There is a new world order out there and it is time to understand that in cultural terms, and not only in economic terms.

The outbreak of the Coronavirus points out that there are threats that are more easily resolved through the cooperation of countries. Will the international community learn from the damage caused by the spread of the virus, and will we see increased international cooperation to address global threats?

What we are missing are ideas. We are living through a period of human history that has flushed out intellectuality, and real science, and substitute it with a false consciousness, fake news and constant manipulation of the mind through various forms of propaganda – bad governance almost everywhere compounds this dynamic. Humanity is facing more existential threats than at any time of our common existence, and yet our decision-makers talk about national identities, religion, and other divisive concepts that cut through our common humanity. So the starting point is that we are all humans, and this idea has to be institutionalised further through the multilateral mechanisms that are already there, and that are geared to universality and not division. The United Nations is a very good example, not perfect, but the ethos of this organisation speaks to commonality. More multilateralism can flourish with visionary thinkers and decision-makers. Humanity produced a Gandhi and a Mandela, after all. It could happen again.

What will be the economic impact of the Coronavirus on the world economy? How will this affect the upcoming US presidential election?

I think the Trump administration is seriously nervous about the devastating impact that the virus will have on the US economy which was quite literally the “trump card” of this administration or at least they tried to present it as such. But even if Trump goes, what he stands for will continue to fester in US society and globally. This is what ideology is all about – it has structural salience and it is long-term. The Coronavirus is the best example that humanity can’t be separated, that we all share a common fate. The virus doesn’t respect borders; it kills Muslim and atheists alike. How can we base our governance systems on outdated notions of “national identity”  when we are faced with existential threats to human security that transcend such categories? Isn’t it irrational to speak of difference, when this Coronavirus makes it perfectly clear to us that nature dismisses categorisation? The solution for humanity are available. If our decision-makers don’t allow us to implement them, then they are endangering the future of all of us. Maybe the only good thing that comes out of this pandemic is to demonstrate that “self” and “other” are conjoined - as nature intended.

Interview by Javad Heirannia

News Code 156997

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