“There is no doubt that Iran, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen have been successful in their strategy of resistance…,” Stefano Vernole, the head of External Relations at the Eurasia Mediterranean Study Center, said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.
“What Europe needs is a process of military, economic and cultural liberation (from US) on a continental scale, otherwise its decline and disintegration appear practically inevitable,” he added.
Vernole, a graduate in contemporary history and analysis of conflicts, ideologies, and politics in the contemporary world, has worked in the field of bibliographic cataloging and in the field of public administration. He is the head of external relations at the Eurasia Mediterranean Study Center and Deputy Director of “Eurasia”, a journal of geopolitical studies. He is the author of Ex-Yugoslavia: Dirty Game in the Balkans, National Fragmentation and Geopolitical Risk of Kosovo (2013), The Serbian Question and the Kosovo Crisis (2008), as well as co-author of The struggle for Kosovo (2007), Tibet Crossroads between Past and Future (2014), Discovering Tibet (2015), and Lo Xizang (Tibet) and the New Silk Road (2016).
The following is the full text of the interview:
Tasnim: International developments are full of examples of how regional and trans-regional countries have successfully adopted strategies of resistance against oppression and unilateralism that have borne good results. As you know, countries like Iran, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, and Palestine have protected their national sovereignty against foreign threats and achieved many gains through this strategy. In contrast, some countries have adopted a strategy of appeasement or reconciliation when being hectored and bullied by world powers. Given the experiences of these resistance countries, what do you think about their approach and the concept of resistance?
Vernole: There is no doubt that Iran, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen have been successful in their strategy of resistance but these are sovereign states, the situation is different for the Palestinians who in reality are still struggling to have real recognition. It is equally clear that not only their condition of national sovereignty was essential for the purpose, in fact, the support of a part of the anti-imperialist powers proved decisive. Syria has obtained decisive help precisely from the Iranian and Russian military intervention, Venezuela has nevertheless obtained economic and diplomatic support from Moscow and Beijing, Yemen has been helped by Iran and other countries. The cause of Palestine in recent decades, however, inflamed the hearts of millions of people around the world. Unfortunately, the internal differences and some strategic errors of the leadership of the PLO (including Hamas) in recent years have seriously damaged the image, alienating a part of the likes he enjoyed. To sum up, there are at least two conditions necessary for victorious resistance: an independent territorial base and important international friendships.
Tasnim: Do you think countries that currently toe the line of major powers like the US ought to emulate these experiences of resistance countries to protect their independence and stand against unilateralism?
Vernole: Theoretically yes, but the starting conditions are different for each nation, as I explained partly in the previous answer. First of all, the difference is between countries that belong (better are employed) to NATO or not, because they have much narrower margins of maneuver than others. Paradoxically, non-Western countries have more autonomy and the possibility of alternative choices. An emblematic case is that of the current Italian government, within which there would be exponents certainly interested in a 360-degree geopolitical turn compared to the current strategic location of their country, but they have to deal with the constraints deriving from belonging to the Atlantic Alliance. Rather than making high-sounding proclamations, it is a question of snatching bits of sovereignty whenever the opportunity arises, remembering that time plays against the United States and in favor of the Eurasian group led by China and Russia.
Tasnim: In an op-ed article written for Tasnim, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, warned the European countries of the risks of inaction regarding the US administration’s unilateral policies, saying the current EU leaders will be held accountable for Europe’s future challenges. Shamkhani criticized Europe for becoming an unimportant and passive actor that accepts humiliation at the hands of the US and has to live with the destructive effects of Washington’s unilateralism that have affected several international treaties. What is your take on that? Isn’t it better for the EU to stand up to US bullying and unilateralism?
Vernole: The comparison between supporters of US unilateralism and those of Eurasian multipolarism is today the great geopolitical game that takes place on a global scale. However, Europe cannot support it for two main reasons: it is not a truly sovereign international entity not even possessing an autonomous army but having to rely on NATO (i.e. a military alliance led by the USA); he has no alternative idea to that of liberalism and North American liberalism, having renounced his cultural identity in favor of US soft power. Difficult, given also the recent appointments to the top management of the European Commission, that Brussels can soon reverse this trend, so it risks being relegated to the margins of the global agenda. What Europe needs is a process of military, economic and cultural liberation on a continental scale, otherwise, its decline and disintegration appear practically inevitable.