FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Dangerous Fallout when Trump Blows Up Deals

Trump’s detonation of the Iran Deal is a monumental disaster.

On the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran Deal), dozens of retired generals and admirals, in an open letter, said:

“There is no better option to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon … Military action would be less effective than the deal, assuming it is fully implemented. If the Iranians cheat, our advanced technology, intelligence and the inspections will reveal it, and U.S. military options remain on the table … And if the deal is rejected by America, the Iranians could have a nuclear weapon within a year. The choice is that stark.”

Trump called it “a disaster,” and asked:“who would make that deal?”

It was the July 14th2015 agreement reached as the result of two years of intense negotiations between the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, and Russia to limit—cap and contain—Iran’s nuclear program. Leaving the deal in place is one of the few areas where I’ve given the “I would bomb the [expletive] out of them” President credit on foreign policy. But there is a relationship between this and other deals, and why honoring commitments that should be examined.

First, Iran has been compliant. This was on the top of the list of things Trump disagreed withhis former Sect. of State Rex Tillerson with, Tillerson admitted Iran was honoring the deal, he called it “technical compliance.”

Second, Trump lies a lot, on Iran the abundance of lies and misstatements is prolific and harmful. On April 30th, at a press conference, he said: “In seven years that (nuclear) deal will have expired, and Iran is free to go ahead and create nuclear weapons.” The truth, however, is that the Iran Deal puts a cap on enriched uranium until 2030, or 12 years from now. After that, other agreements limit nuclear weapons development in Iran. If we are “only” guaranteed Iran won’t have a nuke until 2030, why break the word of the US?

In announcing the withdrawal, he said that Iran is currently working on weapons. There is no assessment, Trump did not provide one, that makes such a case. He is going against global consensus here.

Third, Iran agreed that it would never build a nuclear weapon. Without the deal Iran is free—and likely incentivized—to develop nuclear weapons. Iran had agreed to the most crucial element of regional stability. Trump has provided a gift to Iranian hardliners, this will immediately escalate tensions, and increase U.S. isolation.

Fourth, backing out of this deal signals to its allies that the U.S. does not honor its agreements. At best our friends will see this as just being about Trump, but at worst the alienation will extend to future Presidents. Agreements can only be made—at best—on a term by term basis.

Fifth, for the damage this does to the U.S.’s credibility with allies, it is significantly worse with non-allies. Backing out of the brilliant diplomacy with Iran immediately changes the context of every other piece of statecraft the U.S. is working on. What motivation, for example, will North Korea have to work with the U.S. to end proliferation on the Korean peninsula?

The fundamentals in these five points are basics to negotiation and conflict resolution. It cannot be repeated too many times: trust is necessary but cannot be guaranteed. You build trust by making and keeping agreements. Trump has not achieved any foreign policy victories; he has not made any agreements. But, pulling out clearly showcases his failure to keep agreements.

He says North Korea has “agreed to denuclearization,” but they haven’t yet, and the withdrawal doesn’t help. He says, “we’ve signed more legislation than anybody,” but the truth is that he ranks last. He says whatever he wants, and he has no binding to the truth, with this action he has increase the safety of no one and instead will place billions of lives at increased risk.

Trump has followed through on his pure incompetence. He (and humanity as whole) would greatly benefit if he developed problem solving temperaments in accommodation, compromise, and collaboration. His coercive strategy is too high-risk and his gamble creates immediate insecurity. If there is even a slight silver lining it is that he has only described reinstating sanctions, but everyone else (except Israel) has opposed him. Maybe in the age of increasing U.S. isolation and lack of leadership the world will see that the U.S. is simply not a player anymore, perhaps it is time for the bully to sit alone in his sandbox.

More articles by:

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael Duggin
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Frank Clemente
The GOP Tax Bill is Creating Jobs…But Not in the United States
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
December 13, 2018
John Davis
What World Do We Seek?
Subhankar Banerjee
Biological Annihilation: a Planet in Loss Mode
Lawrence Davidson
What the Attack on Marc Lamont Hill Tells Us
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail