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writing for godot

TheTrumpites: Welching on the Iran Deal: Why?

Written by Steven Jonas   
Friday, 27 July 2018 23:20

By Steven Jonas, M.D., M.P.H.

Introductory note

About three months ago (elsewhere, see below), I published the first version of this column.  Trump is periodically trumpeting about "Obama's Iran Deal," as part of his WMD (Weapons of Mass Distraction) used in dealing with the Mueller investigation and now Mike Cohen.  In it, I came to the conclusion then that the likely real reason for the rejection was "regime change." That it is has now become public knowledge, from the mouth of none other than the  "Secretary of State" Mike Pompeo (otherwise known as a major part of Trump's new yes-man team).  (A qualified Secretary of State, of course he is not, given his total lack of experience for the job.  But as he clearly demonstrated the other day before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he is still a highly combative Tea-Partier/"Freedom Caucus" member, in superb "Always Attack/Never Defend" [Trump/Roy Cohn/Lee Atwater] mode.)  At any rate, the US is now openly supporting the MEK in Iran, an organization once on the terrorist watch list (  So I guess that they are now the US's terrorists, so that's OK.) At any rate, here is a slightly edited version of my original column, written at the beginning of May (referenced at the end of this one).

Welching on the Iran Deal: Why?

As I have noted previously in this space (, Trump's foreign policy often seems governed by what he said on the campaign trail. There was even less thinking-through-of-a-problem and coming-up-with-some-rational-solution-to-it back then than there is in his Administration now. And so, one of Trump’s repeated ringing statements, which he applied liberally to just about any Obama-Administration initiative he could bring into play, was what a terrible Deal it was. He did promise to leave it when he could --- and so he has. (Iran, as it happens, has promised to stay in the Deal, at least for the time-being, which means that they will abide by the cancellation of their nuclear weapons program.)

Now the Deal, and Trump literally may not know this, because he doesn't, as is well-known, read anything, and according to various high-level members and former members of his Administration he is an "idiot" and a "moron," did deal only with Iran's nuclear weapons program. It did not deal with its ballistic missiles program or its intervention in the affairs of a variety of other Middle Eastern countries. But since the U.S. has its own ballistic missile program and interferes liberally in the affairs of other Middle Eastern countries, that might have been a very tough nut to crack.

In any event, the Deal concerned (and for the other signatories --- the UK, France, Germany. Russia and China --- still does) Iran's nuclear weapons program, which, according to all accounts, has come to an end. It remains to be seen what will happen now with other signatories, none of whom want to bring the Deal to an end. The U.S. will very quickly be re-imposing the sanctions that it had lifted under the terms of the Deal (although some still had remained in place, especially under Trump). As I understand it, the main problem for the other signatories, which might not want to drop their sanctions, is that the U.S. will set up a bunch of secondary sanctions, particularly in the international banking industry, designed to inhibit such an event from taking place.

But the over-riding question here is why are the Trumpites doing this? Iran has been complying with their end of the bargain --- on their former nuclear weapons program --- which was the reason why the negotiations were begun in the first place. If the Trumpites were really concerned about Iran's ballistic missiles program or their Middle Eastern affairs interventions, they could attempt to open negotiations on them. But I have not thought that it's that sort of thing for quite some time. I have been thinking that it is primarily about the "foreign-policy-by-campaign-promise to appeal to the xenophobic/Islamophobic base." However, this morning, on TV, the whole thing --- that is Trump's primary motive for doing what he has done --- became abundantly clear. It was articulated by none other than the former financier/PR-man/Trump's-communications-director-for-a-minute Anthony Scaramucci.

Hardly an expert, or even half-an-expert, on foreign policy in general and the highly complex Middle East region in particular, the Mooch made it clear that that real reason behind the move is "regime change." The real reason why Trump welshed on the deal (as he seems to have done so many times in his “business” career), that is maintaining/reinstating the sanctions on Iran, is to try to make life so unpleasant for the majority of Iranians that they will somehow get rid of the Mullahs and install, hopefully for him, another right-wing, but this time pro-U.S. right-wing, government. One can only surmise what such a government --- sort of like that under the original U.S. Iranian puppet ruler, the Shah, --- would achieve major U.S. Middle East goals.

They are:

1. Let the U.S. take charge of its oil industry.

2. End Iranian support for groups like Hezbollah that are hoping to end the gradual Israeli policy for taking over the whole of what the Israeli Right describes as Greater Israel (and in the process ejecting all of the Palestinian Arabs to who knows where).

3. Get Iran out of the way of the ambitions of the Saudis to become THE power in the Middle East, in the process crushing the anti-Saudi/Sunni Shiites wherever they may be found.

4. Enable the Turks to completely crush the Kurds, who presently have a physical presence in Iran (and while Iran has made it clear that that piece would never become part of an independent Kurdistan, they don't suppress the Iranian Kurds the way the Turks do the Turkish ones). This would help re-establish a working relationship with the Turkish government under Erdogan which is becoming more fascist-like every day (and boy, does Trump like that sort of thing).

5. Further strengthen the dominance of Netanyahu/Likud in Israel.

6. End Iranian support for the Taliban (which is so ironic, because at the beginning of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the Iranians adopted an anti-Taliban policy).

7. Severely reduce Chinese access to Iranian oil.

8. Russia being an ally of Iran, reduce the Russian presence in the Middle East, particularly as an ally of Assad in Syria, and possibly get them turfed out of their Syrian Mediterranean ports at Tartus and Latakia.

9. Make the Persian Gulf the sixth U.S. Great Lake. 10. And I am sure that there are other reasons as well.

As for negative consequences for the United States, there are many, of course, being covered by many U.S. observers, even (conventional) right-wing ones like Richard Haas of the Council on Foreign Relations ("Morning Joe," 5/9/18). But one that I haven't heard mentioned yet is that it might lead to major changes in the international banking system, led perhaps by China, holder of one trillion dollars or so of U.S. debt, so as to get out from under the secondary sanctions that Trump intends to impose on any country still dealing with Iran. Citi/Chase/Wells Fargo and the banks of Great Britain and the E.U. don't like them too much (to put it mildly).  [Current note: there are now rumblings that this might be happening.]

But putting all of that (as well as the act of welching and what that might do to future foreign policy negotiations under Trump) aside, in this case the Trumpites have gone well beyond the simple fulfillment of a campaign promise.  They are in fact wanting to engage in something that Trump made clear on the campaign trail that he would pull back from: foreign involvements of U.S. forces.  And so, lo and behold, Pompeo, John "Never-saw-a-right-wing-intervention-I-didn't-like" Bolton, and The-Man-Who-is-Everywhere-for-Trump Rudy Giuliani (and in the process trashing what was left of his reputation for history) have now made it quite clear.  Regime change it is, in part by hooking up with an organization, the MEK, formerly on the U.S. terrorist watch list.  Ah logic.  For the Trumpites, wherefore art thou?


This column is largely based on one I previously published at OpEdNews: your social media marketing partner
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