Tuesday, August 1, 2017

If Trump Scuttles the Iranian Nuclear Deal He Destroys the U.S. Unipolar World

UPDATE: Fifteen years ago I used to read Antiwar all the time. I don't know why I fell out of the habit. Occasionally I look in and see what there is to see. I must say today I was tickled to find three spot-on opinion pieces by Pat Buchanan, "Shall We Fight Them All?"; Medea Benjamin, "Time to Hit the Reset Button on US-Korean Policy"; and Ron Paul, "North Korea or Iran… Where Will President Trump Attack First?" All three examine various aspects of Trump's war fever. According to Paul,
Twice in the past week the US military has fired at Iranian ships in the Persian Gulf. On Tuesday an Iranian military ship in the Persian Gulf was warned off by machine gun blasts from a US Naval vessel. Then on Friday the US Navy fired warning flares toward another Iranian ship operating in the Persian Gulf.
Imagine if the US Navy had encountered Iranian warships in the Gulf of Mexico firing machine guns at them when they approached the Iranians.
Facing new sanctions, the Iranian government announced that it will not end ballistic missile testing even under US pressure. The missile program is not a violation of the P5+1 Iran deal unless it is specifically designed to carry nuclear weapons.
So whom will Trump attack first? Let’s hope nobody, but with continuing pressure from both Democrats and Republicans over the unproven “Russiagate” allegations, it increasingly looks like he will seek relief by starting a “nice little war.” If he does so, however, his presidency will likely be over and he may end up blundering into a much bigger war in the process.
Although Trump’s bombastic rhetoric on Iran and North Korea has been pretty consistent, the American people voted Trump because he was seen as the less likely of the two candidates to get the US into a major war.
A recent study by the Boston University and the University of Minnesota concluded that Trump won the most votes in parts of the country with the highest military casualties. Those most directly suffering the costs of war were attracted to the candidate they saw as less likely to take the US into another major war. These are the Americans living in the swing states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan that surprised the pundits by voting for Trump over Hillary.
Will Trump’s legacy be blustering us into one or two wars that will make Iraq and Afghanistan look like cakewalks by comparison? Millions dead? It’s time to make our voices known before it’s too late!
I think Paul is right. Buchanan says basically the same thing. Among Trump's base the realization is going to sink in that he, like Obama, is not playing three-dimensional chess. Trump is planning for war. Already his woeful approval ratings are starting to dip even further.

But even with Trump gone from the White House there is no sign that Congress would be any less bellicose.

One positive in all this is that Europe now must wake up. As Oliver Stone said in recent interview with Dennis Bernstein,
We’re seeing Europe begin to wake up and realize that NATO is not what it was proposed to be and that the United States is not such a great partner to have. Maybe the US is just interested in Europe as a buffer state between us and them [Russia]. Maybe Europe is beginning to feel more like a hostage than an ally. If the United States cannot yield its superiority, it is going to be a very rocky road ahead for everyone.

With The Mooch immolated on a pyre of his own making, the toxic fallout from the collapse of Trumpcare still clouding nation's capital, administration officials acknowledging that North Korea can hit most of the U.S. with ballistic missiles, and the White House throwing down the gauntlet to Nicolas Maduro, it is easy to see how a story from last week about the Trump/neocon plan to torpedo the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a.k.a., the Iranian Nuclear Deal, got lost.

A good one-stop site for all the ins and outs is LobeLog. There are several informative stories, but start with Trita Parsi's "The Mask Is Off: Trump Is Seeking War with Iran."

The idea is to phony-up an excuse to pull out of the JCPOA by demanding intrusive inspections of Iranian military sites. When Iran refuses, the U.S. can act the aggrieved party and scrap the nuclear deal. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker calls this strategy "radical enforcement."

The problem is that in order for it to work Trump needs five of the eight members of the JCPOA joint commission to go along with him. The eight members are the United States, the European Union, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Iran. Trump can't muster a single vote beyond his own. Theresa May's wobbly government would topple if the British public perceived another pretext for a Middle East war. France has signed a number of large business deals with Iran. Germany refused to bomb Syria, and so on.

In other words, it is beyond the ability of the U.S. to even create the pretext which would justify a withdrawal. I suppose Trump could withdraw the U.S. from the JCPOA unilaterally -- a replay of  the run up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 -- but the coalition of the willing (COW) would be a much shrunken beast from its "shock and awe" version of 15 years ago.

Let's remember that Obama and Kerry worked as diligently as they did to arrive at a nuclear deal with Iran because the sanctions regime was falling apart. The rest of the world was ready to do business with Persia.

Since the dawn of the caliphate in 2014, and its broadly acknowledged though undeclared support by the Gulf sheihkdoms, Iran looks better to the West than it ever has.

Looking on the bright side of things, a move by Trump to scuttle the JCPOA would usher in the end of the era of the U.S. unipolar world.

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