There once was a time when the United States was a trusted ally to all the nations in the EU as well as the UK. There once was a time when we had the respect of our allies, and even the grudging respect of some who weren’t. There once was a time that the U.S. was considered a world leader and looked up to, looked to for solutions to global issues. There once was a time that the U.S. had a leader. When Donald Trump made the decision to pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal, he set off what will become a series of events that will inevitably re-shape global politics and alliances. Iran has every right to be angry, for they were upholding their end of the bargain and Trump failed on his end. The other nations in the agreement, the EU, UK, Russia, and China have the right to be angry, for Trump single-handedly destroyed an agreement without consideration for the other signers. The citizens of the world have a right to be angry, for Trump single-handedly made the world far less safe than it was a short few days ago.
It was not that Iran wasn’t upholding their end of the deal, as Trump falsely claimed. There was only one problem, in Trump’s mind, with the deal …The deal was working, Iran was keeping to their promises, and there was no reason to scrap it. However, having pulled out, the team of Trump/Bolton now plans to re-impose economic sanctions on Iran. And if that weren’t enough, Trump is threatening to impose economic sanctions on our friends and allies if they continue to do business with Iran. This is unconscionable behaviour from the leader of a once-respected nation! An analogy …
I come back from the grocery one evening and I’m fed up with my local store, Kroger, because once again they were out of celery. I’m never shopping there again! So, I go round to all my neighbors and tell them that they must not ever shop at Kroger again. Period. “But, it’s only right across the street – so convenient, and we get coupons and discounts,” they reply. Fed up, I tell them, “If you ever shop at Kroger again, I will break every window in your house … and kill your dog for good measure!”
Ludicrous? Sure. But it is the exact thing, only on a much smaller scale, that Donald Trump and John Bolton are doing. Now, under the above scenario, how long do you think it will be before my neighbors run me out of da hood? And perhaps even more importantly, if my car won’t start one morning, or I become ill, or my house catches fire … how willing do you think they would be to come to my rescue? International relations work much the same way as personal relationships do … it is a series of give-and-takes. Donald Trump is all about the taking, and not at all about the giving. And this is the man who believes he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize???
While we have alienated our allies, there are a couple of groups who are seeing Trump’s foolery in a positive light:
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wanted the United States to exit the Iran nuclear deal. He gave a televised presentation of Israeli intelligence last week that was a naked attempt to convince Trump to quit the deal.
Saudi Arabia’s young crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has long opposed the agreement and mounted a quiet lobbying campaign to kill it. He has befriended Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner to lobby for his cause.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the man who makes the final decisions in Iran’s political system, always seemed inclined to favor the hardliners, Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard, over the Rouhani faction. Now Trump has given him reason to continue down that path — meaning more confrontation with Iran’s regional rivals in the Middle East and with the United States is practically certain.
Take a look at the map above, then get out your crayons, for the colours are soon likely to change. I see the greens being exchanged with the orange/red if we stay on the current path. Trump panders to the likes of Putin, Duterte and Netanyahu, while slapping our friends. Make no mistake … there will be a price to pay for his foolishness. Just how great a price remains to be seen. There is no doubt that because of Trump/Bolton, tensions will increase throughout the Middle-East. Will it lead to a full-fledged war? I cannot predict, but don’t rule out the possibility. It does not appear that Trump has a strategy beyond bullying friend and foe alike, and unraveling every agreement that carries President Obama’s signature. John Bolton has long been a graduate of the school of ‘bomb-first, talk-later’, and he is now our National Security Advisor.
Trump’s followers and the Israelis are applauding and cheering in the street. Believe me, folks … there is nothing for us to cheer about today. Not one single thing.