Everything is garbage, crap, his predecessors were all losers and idiots. This is pretty much how Donald Trump conducted his election campaign. This is also the mindset with which he reigns over the White House. The nuclear deal with Iran, which Barack Obama reached after difficult negotiations, is a huge pile of nonsense for him.
In its essence, the agreement stipulates that Tehran give up making nuclear weapons. In exchange, decades-long sanctions against the country are to be lifted. Trump believes that this is “the worst deal” of all time.
Trump thinks more or less along these lines: Tehran is trying to further establish itself as a regional power. It interferes in Yemen, in Syria, in Lebanon and in Iraq, and this expansion strategy makes it a threat to America’s allies, Saudi Arabia and Israel. In order to placate the allies, Trump wants to put Tehran in its place. Positive side effect for him: His voter base traditionally hates Iran. If he picks a fight with Tehran, he will surely be applauded in Texas and Tennessee.
Trump Scapegoats Congress
Now, everything leads one to believe that Trump will soon overturn the nuclear deal. Leaving the Iran deal would be arguably the worst decision he has made in his term to date. Instead of making the U.S. and the allies in the region safer, it would put them at greater risk.
Trump’s advisers, as well as important allies like British Prime Minister Theresa May, are trying to talk him out of it. However, it would be very surprising if they succeeded.
Trump thinks he is especially cunning, as he does not want to rescind the agreement right away, but rather to turn the matter over to the Congress. Congress would then have to deliberate about possible new sanctions by a given deadline. Obviously, we can hope that Congress will give Trump the runaround, just as it did when it came to the abrogation of the Obama’s health care law. That would be fitting punishment for so much political stupidity. However, it is still not certain that it will come to this.
What Happens if Trump Ends the Deal?
First of all, it would mean chaos. If Trump actually suspended the agreement, he would bring about more unrest in the Middle East, alienate allies and endanger the political credibility of the U.S. in international relations.
Who would possibly feel the need to conclude a similar agreement with Washington? For example, why would North Korea enter negotiations with America about putting an end to its own nuclear program? Why would anyone believe the word of any U.S. diplomat?
Moreover, why would Tehran feel bound to its commitment to limit the enrichment of weapons-grade uranium? Many in the country have been feeling persecuted by “evil Satan USA” for decades. If Trump imposed new sanctions, he would only end up validating all those religious (and political) zealots in Tehran who espouse an even harder line against America, Israel and the Sunni Saudis. This would result in an increased risk of unrest in the region.
Trump Creates New Fronts
There is even more than that at stake though. According to all available information, Iran has thus far been keeping its promise under the agreement, i.e., to stop pursuing its nuclear program. Even the American military confirms this. Now China, Russia and even most Europeans are inevitably put in the position of opposing America, because they want to preserve the agreement.
Thus, Trump has needlessly opened a new front against China and Russia, but also against important Western allies. Once again, America would find itself isolated regarding an important issue and would further alienate significant partners.
Trump does not seem to care about any of this. What matters to him is casting himself as the strongman, when he actually is not. All that he is accomplishing is deflating himself, as well as his whole country.
*Editor’s note: This article was written just prior to President’s Trump refusal to certify Iran’s compliance with the Iran nuclear deal on Oct. 13, 2017.