More Ineptitude

20 April 2017

Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

Trump Rattles Sabres Toward Iran

Having just demonstrated to the world that it cannot dispatch an aircraft carrier and its escort ships to Korean waters in a direct and timely fashion, the Trump foreign policy team has turned its attention to Iran. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged yesterday that the Iranians are abiding by the 2015 agreement governing their nuclear program. He then announced, "An unchecked Iran has the potential to travel the same path as North Korea and to take the world along with it." After that, he announced a review of the nuclear deal, which is actually a check on Iran. One must wonder whether the problem is a basic ignorance of foreign policy, an unfamiliarity with the fundamentals of logic or an inability to use the English language.

This journal has no love for the theocracy of Iran. Iranians would be much better off (as everyone is) with a secular state. The mullahs and the Revolutionary Guard have plundered the people and created a state within a state for their own material benefit. To distract the people it is robbing, the ruling class has embarked on a policy of foreign adventurism that has it funding proxy wars and sending troops outside its own territory.

Mr. Tillerson said, "Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism and is responsible for intensifying multiple conflicts and undermining US interests in countries such as Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Lebanon, and continuing to support attacks against Israel." Whether it is number one on the list or number three, the fact is that Iran does a great many things that are inimical to American interests. That much is correct.

However, Mr. Tillerson puts American policy in a bizarre place when he wants to tighten sanctions against Iran for its actions in Syria while wanting better ties with Russia whose intervention in the Syrian Civil War is of much greater magnitude than Iran's. It reminds one of the difference between trading with communist China and with communist Cuba -- the US government will allow whatever trade is profitable. ExxonMobile, of which Mr. Tillerson used to be CEO, is looking at hundreds of billions of dollars in oil wealth in Russia. Might that explain the policy difference more than principle?

Worst of all, however, is the inability of the Trump foreign policy team to understand the Iranian nuclear deal as the work of genius that it is. First and foremost, the Obama administration along with the other parties to the deal (the Iranians, the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) split nuclear issues off from the rest of the relationship. Were it to be part of a greater whole, the deal would not have been done.

Second, the fear that Iran would cheat and suddenly wind up with a nuclear weapon proved unfounded. Mr. Tillerson himself admitted it. Iran is not cheating, and so, for the next 10 years, the Iranian nuclear program will be held in check by the agreement. That is not an infinite amount of time, but it is far better than no time limit at all. The deal keeps Iran from getting the Bomb until at least 2025 unless it cheats, and the US says there is no cheating -- ergo, the world has bought itself a decade to find a more permanent solution.

Third, the fact that the P5+1 and Iran have this agreement in place and working should build confidence that future agreements can be agreed and will be kept. Iranian actions in places like Iraq and Yemen can be curtailed as part of future discussions, and because the nuclear deal is in effect and is being implemented, future discussions may bear fruit.

One can only hope that the review of policy is for domestic consumption and that the Trump administration is not serious about moving backwards with Iran.

© Copyright 2017 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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