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Sunday
Jun232019

Sense and Nonsense in Foreign Policy

Under President Obama, the United States had a deal with Iran, one that included multiple parties, including European countries, Russia and China, and sanctions on Iran were being lessened. There was zero evidence that Iran had violated the terms of the nuclear agreement. President Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions. Since then he has increased those sanctions. The economy of Iran is suffering, and so are its people. 

In the last week or so, Iran has allegedly attacked Norwegian-owned and Japanese-owned oil tankers near the Straits of Hormuz, a main shipping route for Mideast oil. The previous month, four oil tankers had been attacked in the same region. This week, the Iranians downed an unmanned U.S. military drone, which it claimed was in its airspace. 

In response to Iranian aggression (Iran is the alleged perpetrator in the case of the oil tankers and has admitted shooting down the U.S. drone), the U.S. sent an aircraft carrier to the region, the president has said that he plans to send more troops to the Middle East, and a retaliatory air strike following the drone downing was planned, but called off because the loss of life it would have caused was deemed by the president not to be “proportionate” to the downing of an unmanned aircraft.

President Trump claims that the Obama administration was too soft on Iran and the Trump administration’s plan is to do everything that needs to be done to contain Iran’s disruptive activities in the Middle East and to insure that they do not develop nuclear weapons. But, since the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal, Iran has increased its support of Houthi rebels in Yemen, announced plans to resume high-level enrichment of uranium, and reduce other of its commitments under the nuclear deal in response to increased U.S. sanctions. And now it has allegedly attacked oil tankers and shot down a U.S. drone, pushing us to the brink of war.

It is absolutely clear that the actions of the United States with regard to Iran under President Trump have not only increased tensions with Iran, but also led to an increase in Iranian aggression and brought Iran closer to resuming its program to develop nuclear weapons. 

It makes no sense to trumpet the success of moves that have worsened the situation with Iran and brought us closer to the two outcomes we least want: a nuclear-armed Iran and our involvement in another Middle Eastern war. Yet this is exactly what President Trump and his supporters are doing. Such claims fly in the face of evidence and logic. 

We have a noticeably worse relationship with Iran since Trump assumed office. We are closer to war and closer to them resuming their nuclear program. Other signatories to the nuclear deal, such as France and Germany, have not supported our position and have tried to maintain the deal without U.S. participation, but by increasing sanctions, the United States has made if difficult for the deal to work, leading to Iran threatening to resume their nuclear program. 

In fact, the Trump administration’s approach to Iran is a demonstrable failure, not a success. All of the outcomes it is trying to prevent have either already occurred or are on the horizon. Trump’s strategy was supposed to bring Iran to the negotiating table so that a new, “better” nuclear deal could be worked out. That hasn’t happened. We are no where near it happening and now a war with Iran is more likely than a new, negotiated nuclear deal and a cessation of Iran’s support of terrorism, Trump’s stated objectives.

Unfortunately, many Americans listen to Trump’s bombastic rhetoric about Iran and his blustery “tough” stance and believe that he is “standing up to Iran” and bringing them to heel. In fact, his actions have not brought any cooperation with Iran and have markedly worsened the situation. This is exactly the kind of  manipulation, using words to obscure facts and saying the opposite of the truth, that George Orwell captured in his “Newspeak” and “Doublespeak” in his novel, 1984. The president rants about "fake news," but he is more responsible for creating it than he is a victim of it. The facts are the evidence and they are what Americans should pay attention to, not the president’s duplicitous words about them.

Reader Comments (4)

This writing does a good job of bringing us up to date on what is happening in Iran.

The book The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers is about coffee, but is really good
for teaching about Yemen and the Houthiis. The Houthis are currently being bombed by Saudi
Arabia with American made bombs. Now our fearless leader is going to sell or give the Saudi's
another 8 billion dollars that can be used to make more bombs and further destabilize the
mid East. This leads to a question I'd like answered:
What American companies are making their fortune by selling bombs to our
government so that our government can sell or give them to Saudi Arabia?

June 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Roeder

The nativity of President Obama and the assumptions in this article are shocking. Even Iran couldn’t believe the favorability of the deal President Obama agreed to. If you think for one second that Iran ever took their foot off the gas with regard to its nuclear program, you’re probably also still clinging to a Russian collusion conspiracy. At least President Trump is forcing Iran to show their dirty hand as opposed to allowing them to continue their duplicitous efforts clandestinely and fully supplied.

June 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMark Wheeler

Nancy: The following are involved in recent arms deals with Saudi Arabia. The asterisk indicates that the arms are being used in Saudi actions in Yemen.
Lockheed-Martin: aircraft, radar systems, drones, THAAD missile defense system
Boeing: aircraft such as the F-15*, F-18 and F-22.
Raytheon: missile and weapons systems for aircraft and naval vessels,* including Patriot missiles
Northrup Grumman: drones, warplanes, aircraft components and radar systems
General Dynamics: tanks*
United Technologies: Blackhawk helicopters*
Safe Boats International: naval patrol boats
BAE Systems: Bradley Fighting Vehicles, howitzers*
*Being used in Saudi attacks in Yemen

June 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCasey Dorman

Casey,

I think this is an excellent list and good for referencing.
However, it doesn't answer my questions of where bombs are being made in
the U.S.

June 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Roeder

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