Having junked one agreement, can the US President forge another?
Dominic Green The Specator
12 May 2018
For someone so frequently denounced as a liar, Donald Trump keeps an awful lot of promises.
In the 2016 election campaign, he promised that he would take the United States out of the ‘terrible’ Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the ‘Iran deal’. Last October, he insisted that the Iran deal be renegotiated. In January, he warned that he was recertifying the deal in its original form for the last time, and again called for its renegotiation. On Tuesday, he kept his word.
The despair with which this decision was met — especially by Britain, who sent Boris Johnson to plead on Fox News for the President to change his mind — seems to overlook an important point. The deal isn’t working. Not because Obama’s deal was ‘terrible’ to start with, though it did have gaps wide enough for an intercontinental ballistic missile, but because it simply hasn’t worked as intended. The deal has turned out to be strategically counterproductive not just to American interests, but those of America’s regional and European allies. And, Trump now adds, to the interests of the Iranian people themselves.
The idea was that Iran would desist from its nuclear activities and be a better global citizen. In return, embargoes would be lifted and trade would surge. The latter half of this has come to pass, with Iran’s oil exports doubling. But much of the wealth has been used to finance Iranian military adventures — which is one of the reasons why Trump called the deal a ‘great embarrassment’ and ‘defective at its core’. At the ‘point of maximum leverage’ in the Vienna negotiations of 2014, the Obama administration and its European allies demanded the minimum of Iranian compliance. Clearly, the former secretary of state John Kerry had not read The Art of the Deal….