An inoculation against Parthian Convictions
by Kenneth Lipp
That the Persians of old often outfought the best that anyone in the West could throw at them-including the Roman Empire-makes lingering chauvinism understandable. But those same Persians, and their successors in subsequent centuries, have had many downs to go along with the glorious ups. Some of the downs have been catastrophic. Ward estimates that the Mongol invasions of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, for example, killed as much as three-fourths of Iran's population, which may not have recovered to preinvasion levels until the mid-twentieth century. The resulting outlook for today's Iranians is a keenly felt but curiously heterogeneous mixture of insecurity and distrust along with pride and perseverance.
Categorically, the ways in which communication and dissemination have changed in the past 30 years or so have exacerbated this, and made remedial actions and overall management of communication far more complex and problematic.
The advent of digital technology has changed the scope, scale and speed of communication in ways that we are still only seeing above the water line. It is not surprising that the world of diplomacy, marked by tradition and trappings of the past, has been slow to appreciate the promises and the perils that come in the wake of these upheavals.
Diplomats themselves and the ways in which the FCO, the U.S. State Department and sundry mostly western but international State-labeled agents in general failed to get to grips with the promises and perils of an expanded, and less wieldy, communicative domain.
The breakdown in trust in those with statutory, economic, or, martial leverage over a more or less coherent State (up to the most "modern" stable" and stubbornly self-forgiving of eclipsing superpowers) and the people with whom they are contracted (in some symbiotic capacity)fuses an identity among cultural antipodes; and toward the end of effecting sufficient power of whole-state impeachment.