…It has to go. Doesn’t matter what. So deep is the well of spite from which Trump draws his only coherent and goal-oriented thoughts that he’ll bear any burden, pay any price, destroy any edifice, if it advances the project of wiping Obama’s legacy clean. DACA? Screw the Dreamers. Obamacare? Screw the sick and the poor. Refugees? Fuck them. The environment? Fuck that too. The catastrophic War On Drugs? Jefferson Beauregard will get right back at it – say, maybe we should bring in the death penalty for drug dealers, whattaya say? Everything must go, whether big, like the Paris accord or the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or small but sensible and long overdue, like the rapprochement with Cuba.
So now it’s the Iran deal.
Of course everything The Donald says about it is a lie, but even among the few surviving reputable old school Republicans, there’s a bullshit narrative that goes like this:
It’s a bad deal because it has a sunset clause in 10 years, after which Iran can start in again on its nuclear program, and it lifts sanctions without doing anything to curb Iran’s support of terrorism, adventurism in Syria and Iraq, mischief in Yemen, and the testing of new ballistic missiles.
First, the deal is complicated, but trust me on this, it includes impediments to Iran’s entry into the nuclear club after the 10 year sunset, and anyway, it’s hoped that by then the relative normalization of relations with the West, and the investment that goes along with it, will make a return to the old world of bomb development, sanctions, and threats of war seem less palatable. They might not even be an Islamic theocracy in 10 years – seriously, change happens fast over there. In any case, a 10 year reprieve is not nothing. It’s never a bad idea, other things being equal, to turn down the heat and give history a shot at setting things down a better road.
As for the failure to address Iran’s other unpopular activities, yeah – so? No conceivable deal could have been reached with that kind of scope. What of it? They want us to believe that means there’s no point to stopping the Iranian nuclear program? Since when was that sort of thinking a tenet of international relations? Nixon began strategic arms talks with the Soviet Union while they continued to support North Viet Nam in its war against America, among many other things we weren’t happy about. Reagan was content to negotiate with the Russians despite the ongoing Cold War. To get things done, you put aside what can’t be achieved, and strive for what can. This cuts both ways, too, which we tend, conveniently, to forget. The Iranians have plenty of their own beefs that the deal didn’t fix. They aren’t, for example, happy with American support of Israel and its arch-enemies among the conservative Gulf monarchies. They’d have loved a deal that forced America to stop propping up the House of Saud and the hated Zionists. Oh well! That wasn’t on the table. So? So what? There was still an opportunity to be seized – and in foreign relations nobody gets everything he wants. This is so fundamental it’s astonishing it even needs to be said.
But weren’t the Iranians cheating? NO. NO NO NO. Nobody believes that, not even Netanyahu.
So what now, then? If the deal was so lousy, what better place do we arrive at by ripping it up? Yesterday Iran wasn’t working towards a bomb. Tomorrow, they may well be. Those who think there’s a better deal now to be had are off in some Cloud Cuckooland, a fantasy world in which Trump is actually the negotiator he claims he is, instead of the feckless idiot he has proven himself, time and again, to be.
Having a little hissy fit and tearing up a deal that involved multiple global powers, and took years to negotiate, doesn’t bode well for future talks with other would-be nuclear powers, either. Why should North Korea trust in any deal that Trump makes? America can’t be relied upon to keep its promises, just like the Mullahs are now telling their people. If we reach a deal with Kim now, it’s only because we’re being played. Meanwhile, America’s closest allies are pissed – again – and Russia and China, signatories (incredibly!) to the treaty, will be only too happy to rush in and fill the vacuum America just left.
Of course, a return to festering hostility with Iran suits some of the players just fine. I’m sure Netanyahu was jumping up and down, and the denizens of the right wing fever swamps, championed by
The Evil Walrus the likes of John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, are just as pleased as punch at the prospect of another war in the goddam Middle East – Yay! Let’s take another stab at Regime Change! Sure, it’s been a mixed bag so far, but this time it’ll be different!
Christ. Really? Again?
Trump isn’t so devious. He has no larger vision, no hidden agenda, no Machiavellian goals. He has absolutely no conception of the things that may jump out of the Pandora’s Box he just pried open, and he cares less. He just hated the Iran deal because it was a signature achievement of that African guy who never should have been President. He gets his jollies by winning, and to him this is winning. It makes me wish that Obama had championed tax cuts for the rich, deficits, foreign wars, corruption, conservative judges, health care for only the wealthy, for-profit prisons, mass incarceration, the roll-back of female reproductive rights, a border wall, and environmental apocalypse.
If Obama did it, Donald must smash it.
It’s that fucking simple.