Trump Dumps On Iran

After weeks of hinting at it, Trump finally geeked:

President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to pull out of a deal freezing and reversing Iran’s nuclear program if Congress and US allies do not agree to strengthen it, as he unveiled a tough and comprehensive new policy toward the Islamic Republic.

“As I have said many times, the Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into,” Trump said in a major speech at the White House.

In effect, Trump put the agreement in limbo without killing it off entirely as some backers had feared. But his strategy risks setting off a chain of unpredictable consequences that could end up derailing the deal anyway and eventually raise the risk of war between the US and Iran.

By decertifying the deal, Trump has sent it back to Congress, who can decide to get rid of the deal, remake the deal or send it back to him, at which point he can break it.

A few things to get out of the way: Trump is completely full of shit when he says Iran is violating the deal. The IAEA and every partner in the deal — including the United States — has confirmed that they are in compliance. They had done things we don’t like, such as continuing their missile program. But none of that violates the deal. In fact, the EU has already rejected Trump’s assessment and said they will continue to comply with the deal (EU companies are already doing billions in business with Iran).

Seen in that light, decertifying it like this is pure stupidity. The Iran deal is far from perfect but if we abrogate the deal, that does not restore sanctions. It makes it more likely for Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon as they can now resume nuclear research, knowing it will have no effect on whether the US imposes sanctions or not. It also undermines our attempts to negotiate with North Korea (or any country that decides they want a nuke) because they now know that the US will simply back out of a deal even if they are in compliance. This is why almost everyone within Trump’s Administration opposed this move. But one of the running themes of Trump’s presidency is his hatred of Obama and his determination to undo anything Obama did, whether it was a good idea or a bad one. And so … the deal has to go, no matter what the consequences.

Part of this also goes back to Trump’s deluded belief that he’s a great deal-maker, a reputation that his career and the first nine months of his presidency show to be undeserved. As a businessman, his method of making deals was to stiff contractors and milk companies for money while driving them into bankruptcy. He thinks that’s how deals work: Trump does well; everyone else gets shafted. That’s why he sees NAFTA and TPP and Iran as bad deals; because the other side got something too. Real businessmen (and competent Presidents) know that good deals benefit both sides.

And if his history as a businessman weren’t evidence of his lousy deal-making ability, his Presidency has cemented it. With a Republican Congress, it has been highlighted by a failure to fix or repeal Obamacare, a total cave-in to the Democrats on DACA, a failure to reform the budget and a pending failure on tax reform. I realize that his defenders will blame the establishment, the GOP Congress, “the Deep State” and the establishment. But Trump has shown, repeatedly, that he is unfamiliar with policy and has no desire to learn, which makes negotiation impossible. The Republican Party — like all parties — has factions. Uniting those factions requires leadership from the top, which Trump is unable to provide. He expects deals to just sort of … happen.

The result of this decision will not be a better deal. It will be either the resumption of Iran’s nuclear program or a war. Such is the price we are paying for electing this vacuous egotistical idiotic hamster.

And to think what we could have had.

Update: One key point: the Iran deal would have been much more secure had it been made into a treaty and sent through Congress. That may not have happened, of course. But this serves as yet another illustration of why Obama’s Law of the Phone and a Pen was such a terrible idea.

8 comments:

  1. CM

    I fear it will be a looooooong way back after 4 years of this sort of isolationism. That’s assuming we all haven’t been nuked before then.

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  2. Hal_10000 *

    Whether it is a bad deal or not, Iran is in compliance. Why would North Korea or any other country sign an agreement with us when they now know that Trump will just tear it up the second he feels like it?

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  3. stogy

    Whether it is a bad deal or not, Iran is in compliance. Why would North Korea or any other country sign an agreement with us when they now know that Trump will just tear it up the second he feels like it?

    Not only that, the whole process is demonstrating soooo clearly to Iran and a whole host of other recalcitrant nations why they might be better off following the North Korean path after all. And building some nukes of their own.

    And building some nukes of their own.

     

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  4. Iconoclast

    The Republican Party — like all parties — has factions. Uniting those factions requires leadership from the top…..

    This “observation” is the result of decades of liberal/progressive brainwashing that started with Woodrow Wilson, if not earlier than that.  Constitutionally speaking, the POTUS has absolutely nothing to do with legislation beyond signing bills into law.

    Technically, this “agreement” is between Mr. Barack Obama and the U.N.  The U.S. has nothing to do with it.

    Constitutionally speaking.  As if that matters anymore.

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  5. CM

    Risking so much on a technicality is a good idea? So world leaders should never trust what the POTUS says? His/her word and agreement should be taken with a grain of salt?

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  6. Iconoclast

    Risking so much on a technicality is a good idea?

    When something is technically true, that means it’s also objectively true. I realize that some people tend to equate “technicality” with “triviality”, but there is nothing trivial about the US Constitution; either the United States of America is a Constitutional Republic, or it isn’t. The objective reality is that Obama bypassed Congress, bypassed We The People, when he ramrodded this “agreement” into place.

    It was Obama who took the stupid, unnecessary risk when he circumvented the Constitution and ignored the will of the people. Hal even alluded to this in his update.

    So world leaders should never trust what the POTUS says?

    In the case of Barack Obama, no, they shouldn’t have.  His bald-faced lies are a matter of public and historical record.

    His/her word and agreement should be taken with a grain of salt?

    Nobody should ever take the word of a politician at face value. Doing so shows unyielding naïveté.

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