Trump at the Crossroads, by Justin Raimondo

Before his election, Justin Raimondo was sure that Donald Trump would work a transformation in US foreign policy, away from the dominant neoconservatism. No he’s not so sure. From Raimondo at antiwar.com:

Less than three weeks into the presidency of Donald J. Trump, there are several troubling signs that the new administration is abandoning its foreign policy mandate and going off the rails.

First and foremost is the saber-rattling aimed at Iran. The ostensible reason for this is Tehran’s testing of mid-range ballistic missiles which, we are told, are “nuclear capable.” But of course any and all ballistic missile systems can be modified to carry nuclear warheads, and since Iran is complying with the JCPOA agreed to by Tehran and the Western powers, this is just rhetorical noise generated for home consumption. Accusations by the Trump administration that the tests violate a UN resolution are inaccurate: part of the Iran deal was a revision of an earlier UN resolution that forbade such tests to read that the international body merely “calls on” the Iranians to refrain from such activities. The Obama administration opposed this, but received no backing from our European “allies.” So the tests are “legal,” albeit considered provocative.

And yet, as Kelsey Davenport and Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association point out: “Given the tensions between Tehran and its neighbors, it is extremely unlikely that Iran will stop developing its ballistic missile capabilities when countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel field ballistic missiles capable of targeting Iran.” Indeed, the Saudis have been procuring nuclear capable ballistic missiles from China since the 1980s, more recently with CIA approval. And US arms sales to the Saudis have buttressed their military, enabling the Kingdom’s invasion of Yemen – the first such action in the region since Saddam Hussein marched into Kuwait in the early 1990s. All this gives heft to Tehran’s contention that their missile tests are strictly defensive.

To continue reading: Trump at the Crossroads

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