Trump didn’t think this one through.
What does President Trump hope to accomplish by withdrawing the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal? Does he want to go to war? Does he want to renegotiate the deal? Is he hoping sanctions stir so much unrest in Iran that its citizens overthrow the government?
Regardless of Trump’s goals, the withdrawal decision rests on a series of tactical errors and mistaken assumptions. He is overestimating US strength and underestimating that of its adversaries. His strategy has far too many moving parts. The risk that one or more fail is much higher than he apparently believes.
Trump may think he understands the Middle East and that he can trust his allies there. He’s wrong on both counts. The Middle East is a welter of ancient enmities and alliances, tribalism, sectarian strife, greed, duplicity, and intrigue (it’s not all that different from Washington) that nobody fully comprehends. Things are almost never as they appear. One categorical statement can be made: you put your own interests first or you don’t survive.
Saudi Arabia, the other Sunni Gulf states, and Israel have formed an alliance of convenience against their common enemy, Shiite Islam. Saudi Arabia is Sunni, Iran is Shiite, and the two countries have historically been the most powerful in the Middle East, vying for influence and dominance.
The alliance dreams of replacing the governments of Shiite Iran, Iraq, and Syria (Shiites are a minority in Syria, but Bashar al-Assad is Alawite, a Shiite sect) with Sunni satrapies. Next best is chaos and terror in those countries to keep them weak. The Sunnis, with the tacit support of Israel, bankrolled al Qaeda and ISIS to further their goals of chaos and regime change in Syria and Iraq
The United States has been duped into the alliance. There are no good reasons for the US to become involved in the Middle East’s toxic internecine rivalries. Israel can take care of itself, the US has its own oil, and even if it didn’t, the petro-states have to sell theirs to someone.
The US government has never articulated a coherent rationale for its Middle Eastern involvement, because there is none. It has sown the discord and destruction the Sunnis and Israel desire, enriched US defense and intelligence contractors, and fueled neoconservative pipe dreams of a “stable” (i.e. US-dominated) Middle East, all at a huge cost in blood, money, moral standing, destabilizing refugee flows, and terrorist blowback.
Nothing screams “duped” like Trump citing Benjamin Netanyahu in his Iran Nuclear Agreement withdrawal speech. Netanyahu lied in 2003 when he swore Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and assured the world a US invasion would be the best thing that ever happened to the Middle East. Netanyahu got what he wanted—Saddam Hussein deposed and Iraq subjugated at no cost to Israel. The US got stuck with the tab, which it’s still paying. After his Iraq whopper, Netanyahu should be held in the same regard as the boy who cried wolf. The rest of the world does, ignoring Netanyahu’s “evidence.” Much of it was old news, and Mossad is a proficient document fabricator. As for the US, fool me once….
Back to the original question: what does Trump hope to accomplish? Even if Trump were as stupid and crazy as his most demented critics claim (he’s not, not by a long shot), he wouldn’t be so stupid and crazy as to actually want to go to war with Iran. After the inglorious succession of Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, you don’t attack a nation that is larger, more populated, more economically advanced, and a tougher military challenge than any of those prior targets. You especially don’t attack when that nation’s big brothers are Russia and China.
Trump’s bluffing. He’s trying to give the bluff more credibility by embracing figures who may be just stupid and crazy enough to want a war with Iran: Netanyahu, Saudi Arabian crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and Trump’s largest campaign contributor, Sheldon Adelson (who once said Iran should be nuked). Iran, Russia, and China will call his bluff.
Iran has huge oil and natural gas reserves and China is the world’s largest importer. As part of the de-dollarization offensive against the reserve currency, Russia and Iran accept payment for their oil in yuan. Iran is a geographic and commercial linchpin of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Russia and China are involved in Iranian development and infrastructure projects and sells arms to the Iranian military. They will not sit still for a US war and regime change operation directed at their ally.
There are three main objections to the Iran nuclear deal. Obama’s sleight of hand in getting the deal—which is not a treaty—through Congress still rankle. The deal’s 10 and 15-year sunset clauses makes it a moratorium on nuclear development, not a permanent ban. And the inspection provisions do not allow for inspections of certain military facilities where Iran could be surreptitiously developing a bomb.
The procedural objections are valid, but do not impinge on the tactical merits of Trump’s withdrawal. If Iran considers itself no longer bound by the deal, withdrawal brings forward the sunset clause to the date of the withdrawal. That means Iran could restart its nuclear program today and, if Netanyahu’s warnings are correct, have a bomb in a year or two. Iran would also kick out the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors, so the JCPOA signatories would lose even the “imperfect” inspection and monitoring capabilities they had under the agreement.
Trump would only risk bringing the objectionable sunset dates forward and losing the JCPOAs inspection and monitoring capabilities if he thought he could win a “better,” more stringent deal through renewed sanctions, threats of war, upheaval within Iran, and renegotiation. It’s a variation on his North Korea strategy, which may produce some sort of breakthrough agreement with that nation.
However, Trump’s negotiating position is weaker than Obama’s when the JCPOA was signed. The US has lost the war in Syria against the same alliance it would go up against in Iran. Sanctions have become the US’s main non-military weapon. Germany, France, and Great Britain may fall in line, but they’ll be hurt economically if they do. If they don’t, sanctions won’t work.
There’s no chance Russia and China will observe them. With Turkey, which helped Iran evade the last round of sanctions, they will help it evade the new ones. China will buy Iran’s oil and natural gas, providing it with yuan and perhaps gold reserves outside the US-dominated global payments system. The BRI will go on, building links from Iran to the rest of Eurasia. Iran is not North Korea, and with the support of its big brothers has far more ability to stand up to Trump.
Whether or not any of the other JCPOA signatories implement sanctions, they probably will not support a more stringent agreement. It would be a classic case of rewarding what they regard as Trump’s bad behavior. The Europeans are annoyed and Russia and China certainly won’t play ball.
If Trump doesn’t get his new agreement, there are yawning downsides. Iran may continue to abide by the JCPOA if sanctions are evaded or rejected by the Europeans. There would then be no willingness among the signatories to renegotiate and no need to do so. Trump will have done nothing but hasten the world’s transition from US unipolar dominance and humiliate himself.
Or Iran may kick out the inspectors and try to build a bomb, the outcome Trump thought he was preventing. He would then have to decide whether to wage a war that could draw in the world’s major powers and engulf the Middle East.
Trump is overplaying a weak hand. There’s no 4D chess here; he just hasn’t thought this one through. His gesture pleases Israel, Saudi Arabia, and neoconservatives back home, but it will be Trump and the United States, not his “friends,” who will bear the cost of failure.
Same old appeasement claptrap. We’ve suffered Tehran since 1978 time to let God sort them out. Peace in our time through nuclear fire.
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solid analysis of a complicated situation.
except for one thing:
neither ‘Murka nor Trump himself – a lifelong Zionist stooge who has hundred$ of million$ in debt warehoused at the Wall Street banks – have any sovereignty vis a vis Israhell.
so Iran will be attacked with main force, both because Israhell now insists and because Iran itself has thrown down the gauntlet by dropping the dollar. And likely before the November election: which will, in addition, help Trump distract his non-urban White supporters from noticing that he has betrayed them on every populist promise he made while running for Prez.
the only real question is how bloody the war-preceding false flag will be. In which connection, as re that container which was offloaded from an Israhellion aircraft during the recent, brief mystery shutdown of Atlanta airport…I hope we don’t find out what was in it. Various (((neo-con))) warmonger sites are already running bogus essays about a “secret Iranian terror cell” operating in ‘Murka.
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Haxo: Good addenda. It all falls back to that old Chinese curse: MAY YOU LIVE IN INTERESTING TIMES. I have not stopped my preps. We are on a toboggan to Hell, and POTUS is in the driver’s position. Bleib ubrig.
are you in Sandpoint/we are in Trout creek….want to meet at Kokanee coffee for a visit ?
I am near the PF-WA state line. Go to WRSA@hushmail.com and CA will connect us. I would like to connect w/ more real patriots up here.
Who in hell do we think we are? What gives the U.S. the moral authority to determine what weapons other nations can and cannot have for their own defense, or choose the rulers of sovereign nations?
‘Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.’ Proverbs 16:18
The US thrives on exceptional arrogance, as well illustrated by RDG. The chest beating simian attitude of most Americans comes as a result of their forefathers hard work, and they strut around like it was their own doing. That doesn’t last long before someone really knocks you on your strutting ass.
Why would they care about sovereign nations being allowed to rule themselves when all they know is brainwashed American exceptionalism handed down to them, never having had to earn it.
The big dog in question doesn’t have the means to win the next big fight.
Usually like your thoughts Robert, but Iran holds a nothing hand here. The six card is their high. Trump has a royal flush. The other parties you mentioned are mere spectators on the sidelines with you know what in their hands. Well beyond time to give the ayatollahs a good right punch with an uppercut to the jaw and a knee to the, well, you know what. No one deserves it more than they do and with extreme prejudice. And none of us worry about Israel or their role here. It means nothing. I think Trump hits it out of the park on this one. Call you in 6 months for an update.
Oh yeah, to that chick Diane E: we are the really, really big dog in this fight, and we decide who gets nuclear weapons. Not Russia, not China and not third world sh!tholes.
“we are the really big dog”
‘Murka is Israhell’s poodle.
Well, the big dog didn’t stop the Soviet Union, China, Israel, Pakistan, India, or North Korea from obtaining nuclear weapons. I don’t know what’s supposed to happen in 6 months, but I’d be willing to bet that Trump doesn’t have a renegotiated nuclear agreement. Where Iran will be in a prospective nuclear program, or if it will toss out the JPCOA/IEAE inspectors, I don’t know. But Trump just threw away the only means the US had of either monitoring Iran or preventing their development of the bomb, short of war. After Vietnam, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, I’m not that sanguine about the big dog’s chances in a war with Iran and its big brothers, Russia and China. We’re not doing so well in the Middle East. Fleas can kill even the biggest of dogs.
The big dog made no attempt to stop those others from getting nuclear weapons. The Rosenbergs gave Russia theirs, Russia gave China theirs, we gave Israel and India theirs. Who knows about Pakistan. In fact Clinton helped North Korea get theirs and Obama made sure of it. Its a new day. Iran can pound sand.
Have IAEA inspectors ever found evidence of anything anywhere? Please.
If I’m following the logic correctly here; We have to keep the deal because the deal is says Iran is not supposed to develop nuclear weapons (and also paying them a bunch of money) and they will surely abide by that deal even though their own Quran tells the mullahs that it’s okay to lie to infidels.
We blasted Obama as Neville Chamberlain with his sheaf of paper promising peace in our time for this deal. But now we need to keep it?!
If Iran wants to develop nuclear weapons, then they’re going to do it-agreement or no. Could we at least end the charade of paying them money to NOT do it-thinking that they’ll actually abide by the agreement? They chanted Death to America 40 years ago. They cheered on 9/11/01. They burned Obama in effigy. They deny that the Holocaust ever took place while simultaneously promising to deliver a Holocaust. I’m sure we can take them at their word and trust the paper. Oh, and if we can’t trust the paper, then I’m sure Russia and China will reign in Iran the same way they did North Korea. Right?
Everything else; spot on. The Middle East is a bowl of maggots and it isn’t worth any more American blood now than it was on August 2, 1990. Or September 12, 2001.
Why we are always butting in on everyones business. Except for some terror attacks what nation state exactly threatens our sovereign soil. There are elements within our government who want war, who are a grave threat to other nations, and use our military as a bludgeon and political tool to fit their ulterior motives.
The largest possible threats, Russia/China have no overt expeditionary threat towards us. They aren’t on the periphery of our borders threatening us with military presence. They don’t presume to tell us what we have to or not be doing. Yes it is vital we have a strong and deterrent military with defensive capability which protects us as a nation, and maintains open waters for beneficial commerce. Also defends our borders from non state threats.
It is time to mind our own business. We aren’t the worlds baby sitter. Nor is our military, the blood and treasure of nation the instrument of sinister domestic enemies.
It is time to turn that treasure and energy in towards those domestic enemies who threaten the fabric of our Republic, to without exception clean up our own house and once again become what was intended as a free nation in Liberty.
That would go far past being a positive example for the world.
Seriously, who is going to mess with an America armed to the teeth that keeps it’s nose out of everyone else business?
It is time we pulled out of all these places we have a military presence.
Let these people slug it out for themselves. None present existential threats to our sovereignty. Like everything else the deep state, neocons, monied interests, corrupt virtueless, morally bankrupt actors, what have you touch, they destroy. There are no justifications in existence which excuse the expeditionary intent & actions in the current scheme of things, no different than the domestic schemes we are facing right this second within our government. Absolutely no justifications for the ugly brutal misery of endless warring on other peoples and loss of life, and the phenomenal treasure wasted.
As far as Mr. Trump goes, as many times as the chattering class and punditry, the political shit stirrers and ideological enemies of President Trump and MAGA, all scream and cry what Mr. trump is doing is the end of everything, not once after the hair rending has settled down has he done or committed an grave mistakes. The exact opposite has happened from what the deniers and naysayers predicted. Good things. Proper things. Things which set our own house in order. Regardless of the chicken littles and the earth is ending crybabies proclaim. Without fail Mr. Trump has prevailed in a positive beneficial direction for the benefit of his sworn charges, We The People. Not the political class. Not the crony/capitol regime. Not the deep or permanent state. But us dirt people. And why not for the dirt people of other nations too? For they don’t threaten and bomb us. They aren’t a threat to our nation or our individual sovereignty. The bad apples who get thru a porous open borders and or with the treasonous assistance of special interests, that is the only direct threat to us as individual Americans.
And the same naysayers and scalawags have done everything possible to stymie or thwart legitimate lawful protections of our borders.
Thing here, Mr. Trump swore on a bible to protect and defend the interests of We The People. next ti uphold the law of our Republic. Those are his two mandates, his two jobs, his direct responsibility. There are no other clauses in that both or mission. And the guy has without exception performed that sworn duty.
Its time to let the world straighten out their problems. Let them tear each other to pieces. Time to straighten out the unmitigated fucking disaster all who got us into all the fucking disasters around the world in the first place have caused here at home. If they fuck with us we stomp the shit out of them and go home. End of this madness and rivers of blood we are involved in.
And quite frankly, our military and political expeditionary stance for decades has created more enemies than allies. And we get sucked into all kinds of intrigue or entanglements which if left to themselves so what. Where has been the profit? Except in the pockets of the privileged and special interests.
It is time to become the kind of nation of good will we as dirt people extend to each other. Export that, and the audacity and goodwill, the motive power and industriousness, creativity and invention we are renown for. Instead of all this evil deep state bullshit.
Time to be the Republic that present the world with the positive and good intentions of us dirt people. Like the man said when it comes to our military, walk softly and carry a big stick.
Far as I can see, in the larger scope. it looks like Mr. Trump is getting us out of this morass of dark entanglements. The rule of our supreme law of the land purposefully intends to keep us out of foreign entanglements. Something which has been violated for so long nobody seems to see things otherwise.
How can it be a bad thing to pull out of that fucking tumor of a scheme called an agreement the obama regime conspired with all sorts of actors for ulterior intention is beyond me. There is nothing there we need. No clear present justification.
We can’t stop other peoples from making nuclear weapons. That cat got out of the bag long ago. Its something the world has to live with. Who are we to dictate to the rest of the world. Seriously. We sure ain’t been the paragon of leading by example the last 75 years on that score.
I think in time pulling out of that Iran clusterfuck will be the best thing that could have happened. The best remedy is to let China & Russia have the oil gas and other commerce. Once they invest in that economically, they aren’t going to shoot themselves in the foot by letting Iran screw everything up. Come on here. Who exactly is shitting whom?
Unfettered economic freedom and prosperity has done more good over time than anything to keep peace in this modern world.
Then, if the Mad Mullah’s want to nuke us, then we turn their country into a fucking glass factory.
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Good and well thought out comment.
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Thanks. MAGA & America First Robert, time to get our own shit together. We can’t afford it any longer either.
And yet we are still meddling, we are not leaving the middle east. We are still selling weapons etc.
So are we leaving or are we poking? Still picking winners ?
Both Rudy Giuliani and Bolton seem to be forecasting (planning) the future.
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Like everything Trump & MAGA, at first blush they are not what they end up being. To give Mr. Trump his due, it is only appropriate if your for MAGA and America 1st to at least give it time, see how things develop.
I’m into giving Mr. Trump the benefit of the doubt. The guy has accomplished amazing things so far.
Once he has taken full executive powers, which looks like pretty soon, probably we be seeing things thought impossible.
Trump has a certain audacity and motive power that once made this here Republic a great nation for us dirt people. Great leadership has a way of inspiring others to feats not thought possible.
I’m sure there’s a number of mitigating factors involved in just simply pulling everyone out of foreign military involvements. Trump as CIC has already made it clear troops come home. He laid down the objective, and like any good leader, you delegate and let your subordinates get it done. There is a lot of that. Trump is nothing if he isn’t a master at delegating. He already runs a commercial/financial empire. He didn’t get there because he is a fool.
Give it time. Already the .nil has de-escalated many aspects of it operations. In particular it has pulled back from its neocon derived involvement in Syrian Regime Change. ISIS has been knocked down and out of its territory it held. And that right there is paramount. ISIS can’t be an effective entity if it can’t hold territory. Its the first rule of its type of 4th Gen War it has to wage.
The Iraqi’s have developed the counter insurgency techniques and operating procedures it requires to defeat various insurgencies on its sovereign soil, and that only happened after the obama regime was out of power.
So there’s lots I think we don’t see, but changes that do point to de-escalation. That on itself is a key thing that is unheard of pre Trump. Somethings going on there, which has earmarks of eventual US .mil withdrawal.
We are warned about “Israel being surrounded.” Yet the world believes & pushes the idea that Israel is just a spot overseas.
Now i believe True Israel is The House of Israel, and yes we to are surrounded. The UK, America, and Judah are surrounded and infiltrated by foreigners & enemies.
Our Pride is but one of the reasons.
i believe there is good info at this link, if you will allow a post. Persevere and endure. Is good to see familiar names commenting.
” I find it amazing that Trump is fulfilling some of the prophecies for the antichrist, and the church is praising him … all the way to Jerusalem.”
The Bible prophesies that in the end times, “Jerusalem would become a burdensome stone.” That’s presently happening folks.
Outstanding article and comments. As a Navy and Army veteran, I agree with mtnforge. This agreement was not approved by the consent of congress. Additionally, we should pull out of the Middle East, including our alliance with Israel. They need to settle thier own affairs.
If it were up to me, I would close every single millitary post outside CONUS (continental United States) and re-patriate our national treasure.
Robert, as our republic stands now, we are no longer self reliant. We need to return to a self sufficient, and a self reliant nation that is not bound by foreign entanglememts. The UN needs to vacated to Brussels, and absolutely no foreign aid to any nation.
I am an non-interventionist, and strictly adhere to minding my own buisness and leaving people alone. Why not do this as a nation? I am not foolish enough to believe that I have all the answers to the worlds problems, just foolish enough to hope that there is peace in my lifetime, and that of my grandson.
Kind regards to Robert, and all who have posted comments here.
Sgt. Steven J. Sullivan
If it were up to me, foreign policy would revert back to George Washington’s: trade with all who are willing, ally with none. If I thought Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran agreement was prepatory to withdrawal from the Middle East, I’d be all for it. Unfortunately, it only looks prepatory to increased involvement, either a more stringent agreement or possibly war. Sticking with the agreement and its many procedural shortcomings isn’t perfect, it’s just better than not sticking with it. If Trump gets a new agreement, there is no war in Iran, and the US initiates a gradual withdrawal from the Middle East, I’m wrong and this wasn’t a yuge mistake. Won’t be the first or last time I’ve been wrong.
Thanks for your comment.
Good morning Robert,
Thank you for your reply. I think you are correct, our CIC may not understand the Middle East, and neither do I. Having been deployed to the region twice, it still remains a mystery.
And yes Robert, you are right. This agreement though flawed, may have been an important, and interesting opportunity for diplomatic/trade relations with Iran and all concerned. Now that the agreement has been trashed, we may not know, or we may never have in the foreseeable future circumstances favorable for relations with Iran. The neocons want generational warfare, regardless of the consequences.
ALEA IACTA EST