Five detrimental, even dangerous, ramifications of President Trump’s decision to pull out of the nuclear deal with Iran have made the rounds of the news media outlets since Tuesday’s action:
- Iran will ramp up its production of nuclear weapons.
- A war could result.
- It will show the rest of the world, notably North Korea, that the United States can’t be trusted to keep its promises. Why would Kim Jong-Un enter an agreement that the U.S. might pull out of later?
- Our relationships with our allies will deteriorate even further than they already have under a president who insults them, imposes trade tariffs on them, and in general tries to make them kowtow to him.
- Gas prices will rise, hurting the economy. If we’re going to raise gas prices, the increases should be in the form of a tax to help pay for combating climate change.
In his speech announcing United States’ withdrawal from the agreement, Trump threatened consequences to Iran that will make it regret any further build-up in nuclear weapons production. You think Iran’s leaders are shaking in their boots? Surely, by now, they are aware of what a phony bloviator he is.
Ali Arouzi, NBC’s Tehran bureau chief, said the Iranian leaders do not yield to threats.
Good luck, Donald
Besides, it appears that at least three other signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – Great Britain, France and Germany – will remain committed to the deal. If Russia and China remain firm, Trump is going to feel awfully lonely as he tries to reimpose the sanctions on Iran that were lifted when it agreed to the deal.
Still, experts are skeptical of how long the other nations can continue to resist U.S.-imposed sanctions that will hurt them, as well. Joe Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, a public grant-making foundation focused on nuclear weapons policy and conflict resolution, noted that the U.S. doesn’t trade with Iran and thus has nothing to lose in the sanctions. But he asked rhetorically why the nations that do have trading relationships with Iran would be willing to make sacrifices just to please the U.S. president, who increasingly seems unhinged.
But for the time being, these other nations are holding firm, for one simple reason: The deal, hashed out over 2 ½ years by the U.S. and 10 years by the other nations, is working. Iran has not violated the agreement’s terms. Officials in Trump’s own national security apparatus have acknowledged that. Part of the JCPOA was a 70 percent reduction in Iran’s centrifuges and 97 percent slashing of its uranium production. The agreement was so tight that it included enforcement measures designed to prevent Iran from cheating, which the signatories assumed it would do.
Iran’s Hard-Liners Win
Trump is counting on Iran to come around and succumb to negotiations to improve the nuclear deal. But Nicholas Kristof, longtime foreign correspondent for the New York Times, said Trump’s violation of the agreement emboldens Iran’s hard-liners, who never wanted the deal. They warned President Hassan Rouhani that the U.S. couldn’t be trusted, and this validates them.
To be sure, the agreement is less than perfect, everybody seems to concede, but those involved in making it are adamant that it was the best which could be forged. Kristof, who once was detained by Iranian officials and accused of spying, said it was precisely because Iran couldn’t be trusted that we needed inspectors in the country to verify that nuclear activity didn’t occur.
Trump’s new national security adviser, the war monger John Bolton, was a champion of abrogating the deal. He has said the only way to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons was to wage war. Foreign policy experts fear that curtailment of the agreement will lead to that.
Trump has repeatedly cited the agreement’s inability to permanently prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons. But the agreement, signed in 2015, was for 10 years. In that time, Iran’s leadership could very well change as younger, less religiously and politically rigid young people exert ever more influence. A new agreement after the current one’s expiration would quite possibly be easier to forge.
Trump’s Real Purpose
Surely Trump’s view of the deal as inadequate to protect the United States is part of his motivation for breaking it. But there is another, probably bigger reason, which one of the agreement’s negotiators cited on National Public Radio. Trump is bent on dismantling all of the accomplishments of President Barack Obama. The truth of that assertion is also borne out by Trump’s unceasing attempts, in collaboration with congressional Republicans, to tear up the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), overthrow the former president’s immigration measures, undermine his trade positions, pull out of the Paris climate accord, and destroy other accomplishments.
Why is Trump so down on Obama? Think back to all of those years when Trump relentlessly preached that the president wasn’t born in this country. What reason for that obsession could there be other than pure, racist hatred? Obama took advantage of the opportunity to hit back at the 2011 White House Correspondent’s Dinner, where Trump watched glumly as the president poked fun of his “birther” crusade. Trump never has been known to be a good sport.
Alas, Trump supporters are blind to his motivations. He cares not a whit about the country or anyone else besides himself and his family. And those supporters are cheering on this anti-patriotic, sociopathic man-child as he leads the United States of America on an ever downward path.