Ali Ettefagh at PostGlobal

Ali Ettefagh

Tehran, Iran

Dr. Ali Ettefagh serves as a director of Highmore Global Corporation, an investment company in emerging markets of Eastern Europe, CIS, and the Middle East. He is the co-author of several books on trade conflict, resolution of international trade disputes, conflicts in letters of credit, trade-related banking transactions, sovereign debt, arbitration and dispute resolutions and publications specific to the oil and gas, communication, aviation and finance sectors. Dr. Ettefagh is a member of the executive committee and the board of directors of The Development Foundation, an advisor to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, and an advisor to a number of European companies. Dr. Ettefagh speaks Persian (Farsi), English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and Turkish. Close.

Ali Ettefagh

Tehran, Iran

Dr. Ali Ettefagh serves as a director of Highmore Global Corporation, an investment company in emerging markets of Eastern Europe, CIS, and the Middle East. more »

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Is U.S. Foreign Policy a Video Game?

Tehran, Iran - Democratic nations often congratulate themselves by claiming that their policies are the product of national consensus. It boggles the mind then that Americans are the only ones in the world who aren't sure of their own economic and military might. They are only too ready to prove their disconnection from the rest of the world. It reminds me of Fyodor Dostoevsky and Franz Kafka's story characters that were unhappy with their self-crafted identities.

American foreign policy seems to be a product and an updated (and extreme) version of Christian Existentialism, wherein individuals attempt to justify one's duty towards God. Such policy must be the product of confused logic. The consequences of war -- death, destruction and despair -- are not taken seriously by policymakers in Washington. It seems that the shallow end of the thinking pool has set aside international obligations, common courtesy and respect for the world, confusing itself instead with some amusing, but very violent, video game.

Religion and messages of peace are now used as tools to amplify, not minimize, differences between cultures. This occurs at the same time as the world comes into closer communication than ever before.

It is common belief in the Middle East that Washington is a divider, not an honest broker, not a powerful force for diplomatic reconciliations. Most in the region expect a much higher degree of analysis and global understanding from America, the proponent of globalization and the World Trade Organization and the godfather of the Internet (where American English is the main medium of communication).

This sentiment is not limited to the Muslim world or the Middle East. Similar resentments exist in Latin America (Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia), in most parts of Europe and Asia and especially in highly indebted "emerging markets" countries, none of which have actually emerged.

As fellow PostGlobal panel members M.J. Akbar and Daoud Kuttab have observed, the issue is simply about truth and justice, and not about whipping others into submission.

Damage control ought to start with civilized debate and deep realizations. The radical and absurdly aimless few must be sorted out from the sensible majority that love their children and peace just like all others on the planet. Secondly, all support for religious apartheid must be avoided. None of the Abrahamian religious doctrines ought to exclude the others. Finally, courage must be found to sincerely consider alternatives, "Plan Bs," with an open, balanced mind. This is especially important if decades of experience with current practices are proven to be futile. But I might just be nursing my craving for some "fictional" reality here.

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