15 May 2018 - Trumplomacy and the end of the Iran Deal
As America withdraws from Iran deal, can rest of world save it?
Barbara Slavin (The Hill, 14/05/2018)
It took 15 months for President Trump to finally pull the trigger on the biggest foreign policy achievement of his predecessor. On May 8, four days before a deadline, he announced that the United States was withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and restoring all prior U.S. sanctions on Iran. While it will take several months to reimpose these penalties, there is little reason for optimism that the decision will produce a more coherent policy that constrains Iran’s nuclear program and regional interventions.
Trump insists that he can negotiate “better” deals than Barack Obama and other former presidents. In exiting the Iran deal, however, he is throwing away the leverage that only multinational action can bring. Apart from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the untested crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, there is no coalition of the willing behind this reckless act.
Unfortunately, the decision was in keeping with Trump’s “America alone” instincts. One after another, he has withdrawn from laboriously negotiated international agreements, such as the Paris Climate Accord and the Trans Pacific Partnership, without providing viable alternatives. His vision of a “great” America appears to be one that builds up its military and constructs many walls, physical in the case of the U.S.-Mexico border and economic in the case of tariffs and sanctions. The rest of the world must try to get along somehow without the active cooperation of the biggest military and economic power.
Clashing Views on Iran Reflect a New Balance of Power in the Cabinet
Mark Landler (The New York Times, 12/05/2018)
Five days before President Trump pulled out of what he called the “horrible” Iran nuclear deal, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told diplomats from Britain, France and Germany that he believed the pact could still be saved.
If Mr. Pompeo could win a few more days for negotiations, he told the Europeans in a conference call on May 4, there was a chance — however small — that the two sides could bridge a gap over the agreement’s “sunset provisions,” under which restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program expire in anywhere from seven to 13 years.
By May 7, when Britain’s foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, made the rounds in Washington, that hope had vanished. Mr. Pompeo told him that not only had Mr. Trump decided to pull out of the deal brokered by his predecessor, Barack Obama, but he was also going to reimpose the harshest set of sanctions on Iran that he could.
By ending the Iran deal, Trump has put America on the path to war
Bernie Sanders (The Guardian, 14/05/2018)
Last week, Donald Trump made one of the most reckless moves of his presidency: withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear agreement. With this decision, the president discarded years of hard work by our diplomats, who had obtained an extremely rigorous set of restrictions and inspections guaranteeing that Iran would not obtain a nuclear weapon. He also slammed the door on a once-promising possibility of detente between the US and Iran.
It’s important to understand that the JCPOA is not just an agreement between the US and Iran, but one negotiated alongside our partners in the P5+1 – the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany – and endorsed by the United Nations security council. Trump’s withdrawal further deepens tensions with our most important democratic allies, France, the UK and Germany, who all continue to support the agreement and have consistently said that it is in their own national security interests to see it upheld.
Trump also rejected the advice of his own top national security officials like the joint chiefs chairman, Gen Joseph Dunford, and defense secretary, James Mattis, both of whom have repeatedly stated that staying in the agreement is in the national security interests of the US. Nuclear non-proliferation and national security professionals around the world share that assessment. Just as he has done on the issue of climate change with his withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, Trump has chosen to ignore the overwhelming expert consensus and sided instead with a small ideological faction, with disastrous consequences for our global security.
Everything That’s Happened Since Trump Killed the Iran Deal
Ryan Bort (Rolling Stone, 11/05/2018)
President Trump concluded his announcement that the United States will withdraw from the Iran deal with a message of peace: "Great things can happen for the peace and stability that we all want in the Middle East," he said. "There has been enough suffering, death, and destruction. Let it end now."
The world is apparently just going to have to trust Trump's foresight on this one, because "peaceful" isn't a word many people would use to describe what has transpired in the two days since the decision. Iran's ayatollah has hinted he may ramp up the nation's nuclear program, Saudi Arabia has said they're ready for an arms race, and an exchange of airstrikes between Iran and Israel has reportedly left as many as 23 people dead in Syria. In the United States, concern has mounted that military action might be necessary to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, and experts are fearing a repeat of the 2003 Iraq invasion.