US President Donald Trump’s decision to walk away from the international nuclear deal with Iran was intended to isolate Tehran.
In one fell swoop he has done the opposite. The United States is seen as a global power that cannot be trusted, cannot be tolerated any longer. Indeed, a destabilizing tyranny setting the world to war. In short, a global thug.
Ironically, Trump’s withdrawal from the accord is making the US an isolated and diminished authority. A fraud whose pretensions of global leadership are nothing but a scam to delay the inevitable emergence of a multipolar world. The sooner that a more democratic world order emerges from US hegemonic tyranny the sooner for world peace.
There was near-unanimous repudiation of Trump’s decision to blow up the 2015 internationally negotiated accord. Iran, the European Union, Russia, China and the United Nations all called for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to be honored.
Trump’s caricature of the JCPOA as a failure stands in stark contrast to the rest of the world. The Iran nuclear accord is seen as an achievement of multilateralism and diplomacy.
In exchange for curbs on its nuclear weapons program, the world agreed to lift decades of sanctions imposed on Iran. All reports from the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, indicate that Iran is fully complying with its side of the bargain to restrict nuclear weaponization.
Trump’s bombastic and ridiculous assertions that Iran is secretly violating the JCPOA do not stand up to scrutiny. Only Israel, which is a nuclear weapons rogue state, and Saudi Arabia, seem to agree with the Trump administration. All other parties to the accord flatly dispute that assertion. The JCPOA was working perfectly well in terms of Iran adhering to restrictions on nuclear weapons development.
The part of the JCPOA that was not working was due to the US continuing to impose sanctions on Iran, and, by dint of tacit threats, hampering the other world powers from implementing sanctions relief for Iran. Russia and China have extended trade relations with Iran since the JCPOA was signed in July 2015, but the European Union’s intended commercial ties with Iran have been hampered so far by the US’ ambiguous and perfidious relations with Tehran.
The net result is that the international accord has so far failed to bring the full normalization of relations with Iran, due to America’s latent threats to reimpose sanctions on Tehran and any other nation doing business with the country.
Trump has now brought those latent threats to the surface. This week’s withdrawal from the nuclear accord has been accompanied by warnings from Washington that secondary sanctions on European nations and others will be imposed if they continue to pursue legitimate investment deals with Iran.
The Trump administration’s intimidatory signals have shaken supposed European allies in particular. Warnings from Washington that European companies must wind down investment plans with Iran are seen as unacceptable bullying.
The repercussions from Trump unilaterally violating an internationally agreed treaty are highly dangerous on the short term. Already, the decision to pull out of the accord has seen a surge in Israeli air strikes on Syria and allied Iranian forces in that country. Trump is pushing the volatile Middle East to an all-out war.
But one positive indirect outcome is that European powers are being faced with a momentous choice. Do they follow the impetuous US president and his irrational, reckless antagonism towards Iran, or do they decide enough is enough?
Trump’s so-called America First policy has shown that European allies and their interests are, frankly, non-entities in his calculations. Whether it is decisions on trade, the Paris climate accord or Middle East policy, the American president only shows disdain towards multilateralism.
The European leaders are saying that the Iran nuclear accord must be abided by. Of course, they have huge vested commercial interests in seeing the accord being adhered to.
Trump is not isolating Iran. Through his reckless and ignorant disregard for multilateralism, Trump is undermining American standing in the world.
The irony is Trump ripping up a working nuclear accord with Iran while also appearing to pursue a denuclearization deal with North Korea. No-one can take the word of Washington as having any value after Trump’s irrational vandalism of the Iran accord.
Washington’s arrogant dismissal of European partners with regard to the JCPOA may have one unintended benefit. It is time for the European Union to question the whole so-called “trans-Atlantic partnership” with the US. That relationship has brought nothing but economic and security trouble to Europe over US-led wars in the Middle East and hostility towards Europe’s natural partner in Russia.
The world is fundamentally shifting from the US-led order that pertained since the Second World War. The shift to a multipolar world is well underway with the rise of China, Russia and Eurasia and alternative sources of economic, political and cultural power.
The reckless, reprehensible behavior of the US towards international law, multilateralism and diplomacy – all of which it falsely projects onto Russia, China and others – is, or should be, a watershed moment for all of the world to recognize that such rogue conduct is intolerable and unacceptable.
Either there is multilateral accord or there is not. Either there is a multipolar world as envisaged by a democracy of nations, or there is brutish hegemony of unipolar ambitions. The latter is not law-abiding. It is predicated on the brutish principle of “might is right”. The world cannot afford such a hegemon for the sake of peace and survival.
Trump’s thuggish behavior towards the multilateral nuclear accord, as with many other international accords, is a moment of truth for other nations. Do they indulge this ultimately warmongering attitude, or do they stand up to it to embrace the multipolar world that beckons and which is the only rightful way for the world to evolve?
The European powers in particular face a moment of truth.