Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
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
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
Sam Husseini
The Most Strategic Midterm Race: Elder Challenges Hoyer
Maria Foscarinis – John Tharp
The Criminalization of Homelessness
Robert Fisk
The Story of the Armenian Legion: a Dark Tale of Anger and Revenge
Jacques R. Pauwels
Dinner With Marx in the House of the Swan
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Ricardo Vaz
How Many Yemenis is a DC Pundit Worth?
Elliot Sperber
Build More Gardens, Phase out Cars
Chris Gilbert
In the Wake of Nepal’s Incomplete Revolution: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian 
Muhammad Othman
Let Us Bray
Gerry Brown
Are Chinese Municipal $6 Trillion (40 Trillion Yuan) Hidden Debts Posing Titanic Risks?
Rev. William Alberts
Judge Kavanaugh’s Defenders Doth Protest Too Much
Ralph Nader
Unmasking Phony Values Campaigns by the Corporatists
Victor Grossman
A Big Rally and a Bavarian Vote
James Bovard
Groped at the Airport: Congress Must End TSA’s Sexual Assaults on Women
Jeff Roby
Florida After Hurricane Michael: the Sad State of the Unheeded Planner
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Bradley Kaye
The Policy of Policing
Wim Laven
The Catholic Church Fails Sexual Abuse Victims
Kevin Cashman
One Year After Hurricane Maria: Employment in Puerto Rico is Down by 26,000
Dr. Hakim Young
Nonviolent Afghans Bring a Breath of Fresh Air
Karl Grossman
Irving Like vs. Big Nuke
Dan Corjescu
The New Politics of Climate Change
John Carter
The Plight of the Pyrenees: the Abandoned Guard Dogs of the West
Ted Rall
Brett Kavanaugh and the Politics of Emotion-Shaming
Graham Peebles
Sharing is Key to a New Economic and Democratic Order
Ed Rampell
The Advocates
Louis Proyect
The Education Business
David Yearsley
Shock-and-Awe Inside Oracle Arena
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail