I remember leaving Iran in late 60's, when I was eleven years old, on a BOAC, and stopped about half a dozen times, to go from Tehran to London. My father said, that I should not complain, as he had to take "The Boat", from Bandar Abbas to Portsmouth, via South Africa. It took months.
Have a look at the image. You will see how the airlines, are coming and going, from one end of Eurasia to another. Because of the shape of the Earth, it really did not matter for the European flights, as they would take the Russian route, which was a lot shorter, than to follow the equivalent land route, or follow the circumferance of the Earth. Russians make a lot of money.
Of course, Iran became the most powerful nation of the world, and very wealthy, 2500 years ago, because it was where everyone had to go through, if they wanted to go from Europe to Asia.
I know of a very simple geopolitical truth, that whoever controls the main travel routes, they have control over the world. Iran was the crossroad of civilizations, as all the major highways, for all the horse and camel drawn caravans, went through Iran.
Iranians never really developed a merchant sea fleet. We did have a massive fleet that went from the Persian Gulf to the Eastern Mediterranean after we built the first Suez Canal.
But it was the Europeans and in particular the British and Spanish who sailed the Oceans. The British in particular managed to by-pass Iran and imported narcotics from the Indian sub-continent to Hong Kong. Some two million Chinese were addicted and the war resulted in the independence of Hong Kong.
One of the most interesting developments was how Iran never managed to take advantage of railways. Throughout the industrial revolution and railways, Iran was not allowed to built communication lines, either to Russia from Indian Ocean, or from Turkey to India.
Basically the British and Russians, protested that one would become too powerful over the other in the area, if we had a North-South route to Russia or an East-West route India. The British fretted over the Russians building a warm water port. The Russians fretted over the British Empire in India linked to Europe.
So Iran was left as a hollow donut. Iran was out of the world communication system, and was left behind in the industrial revolution. The only network that was created was the Shi'ite network. After my great ancestor decided to switch to Shi'ite religion, he brought the Shirley Brothers to run the Iranian Army with cannons.
The Mongols had wiped out Islam. Wonderful poetry and art had flourished with the Monguls, because Iranians were connected to their spiritual roots that were preserved in the old Tibetian monastries. Much of the ancient Iranian heritage came back and Iran was reborn.
But suddenly Iran was shut up, as it massacred millions of Sunnis and established Shia's capital punishment. A very clever system was devised for making money, by forcing all Shi'ites to go on a pilgrimage to all of their shrines, which were placed in the farthest corners of the Shi'ite world.
Caravans had to go from Damascus to Mashad. That journey and the journey to Mecca, created the magic to keep tourism flow and spread the wealth. Mirza Ismail felt he was the Mahdi and Rostam at the same time.
As a Zoroastrian I find that insulting. Obviously my ancestors knew nothing about Zoroastrianism. Now thank goodness we know more. We are few hundred years late, but we got there at the end. Personally I feel bad that my own family was responsible for this.
What my ancestors did, namely to force Shia doctrines as Royals, is maddening. Even today's Pahlavis have not openly declined Islam. But I bet you if the late Shah, had used the Shia's zeal to make Iran a Caliphate, Khomeini would not have made it.
But a Zoroastrian Iran is more modern and better able to integrate with other cultures, because it does not condone capital punishment and it is based on free will.
Any way that is enough of my historical and philosophical meanderings.
After Glasgow 2014, you do not need to be a genius, to see the power of the Commonwealth, with seventy of the two hundred odd nations of world, still very much part of the British system. They are mostly nations in the oceans and seas.
Most, if not all the major waterways, are part of the Commonwealth. Even the ones that are not, have a huge British influence. Look at Oman and the Straits of Hormuz. Look at Malaysia and the Straits of Malacca. There are lots more. And so the British ruled the waves and the British Empire ruled the world.
But the British Empire declined, the moment the US developed the aircraft and the air routes. Their aircraft carriers and satellite systems rules the world. But still they need to travel certain routes.
And this brings me to the main situation now. We have had two carriers downed. We now have the situation, that the Russians are now threatening to stop flyover routes over Siberia. So now the planes need to go a very long way round to get to China.
As it is, most of the people of the world are using the internet to meet and exchange information. Very little people actually fly to work on business problems. So just like the land routes and horses lost to ships, and then the ships lost to aircraft, the aircraft is losing out to the internet.
No one as yet has full control over the net and as such US's air power is becoming redundant. What someone can do in the internet, is potentially more powerful than a missile attack. So the real war, is making sure that all battles are fought in cyberspace and off the streets, the seas and the air.
The Russian threat to block the flyover, is only a blessing in disguise and will help the Europeans to make things outside East Asia and move to West Asia.