Trump’s ‘tough’ talk raises risks with Iran

Donald Trump, no doubt with confidence after believing his tough talk on North Korea has achieved amazing results, is trying tough talk against Iran as well. But as with North Korea it is a high risk approach, with a real risk of war if things go wrong.

USA Today – Trump: Killing Iran nuclear deal will send ‘right message’ to North Korea ahead of talks

President Trump linked his threats to kill the Iran nuclear agreement with his hopes to strike a deal with North Korea deal on Monday, saying Kim Jong Un should know that the U.S. will walk away if it doesn’t think its partners are committed to compliance.

 “I think it sends the right message,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

Again attacking the “horrible” deal with the Obama administration struck with Iran, Trump said that “in seven years that deal will have expired, and Iran is free to go ahead and create nuclear weapons. That’s not acceptable.”

Trump, who faces a May 12 deadline on whether or not to certify the Iran deal, said he is still open to negotiating a new agreement. He also cited claims by the Israeli government that Iran is cheating on the agreement by pursuing nuclear weapons in spite of their pledge not to do so.

“I’m not telling you what I’m doing, but a lot of people think they know,” Trump said. “And, on or before the 12th, we’ll make a decision.”

Trump spoke about Iran and North Korea on the same day he said he may be willing to meet with Kim at the demilitarized zone on the North-South Korea border, with a date to be determined.

In past weeks, Trump and aides have said that both Iran and North Korea should know that they are willing to walk away from any high-level agreement if they do not believe the other side is acting in good faith.

If either Iran or North Korea don’t think Trump is acting in good faith things could work out badly too.

Reuters Commentary: How bullying Iran could backfire for Trump

Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Iran of lying “big time” about its nuclear program. In a theatrical announcement Monday, the Israeli prime minister presented files and CDs that he claimed show Tehran hid secret nuclear plans after signing the multinational 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement.

In response to Netanyahu, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif declared in a tweet: “The boy who can’t stop crying wolf is at it again.” As I carefully documented in my book, Israeli officials have since 1992 continuously attempted to convince the international community that Iran is developing nuclear weapons – all while refusing to discuss its own nuclear capabilities.

The Israeli leader’s PowerPoint presentation has – in a remarkable coincidence – come just ahead of a key deadline for U.S. President Donald Trump to decide on whether to withdraw from the agreement.

Coincidence? I thought it looked like being very deliberately timed.

Past and present Israeli allegations aside, Netanyahu offered no substantive evidence that Iran is violating the JCPOA. Much of his presentation focused on Iran’s nuclear program in the years before it signed the deal; Iranian compliance with the accord has been repeatedly confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and U.S. security and intelligence officials. Regardless, Netanyahu has probably given Trump more impetus to do what he’s wanted to do since his campaign undo the Iran nuclear deal.

While Netanyahu’s play may give Trump encouragement to scrap the Iran deal it is likely to also influence the approach from Iran.

Over the past 15 months, Tehran has accused Trump of failing to live up to U.S. commitments on sanctions relief under the deal by encouraging other countries not to do business with Iran.

Implicit in Trump’s approach is that he can bully and pressure Iran into meeting his demands. However, the track record of U.S.-Iran relations since the 1979 Iranian revolution leaves little room to believe that Iran concedes to pressure.

If Trump withdraws from the JCPOA, he should not do so thinking Iran is vulnerable and in dire straits. Contrary to the perception of some in Washington, Iran’s key economic indicators are strong and growing. Its GDP grew 11 percent last year, average real per capita income is on the rise, and the price per barrel of oil is hovering around $70 and on an upward trajectory. Politically, President Hassan Rouhani seems secure after being re-elected with a significant margin over his nearest rival last May.

Trump would be committing a major strategic miscalculation if he believes that withdrawing from the nuclear deal leaves Iran with no options but to continue abiding by the agreement. Rather, Tehran’s adherence reflects the strength of its commitment to its international commitments and eagerness to build confidence with Europe and other international partners.

If Trump withdraws, Iran could use the deal’s main dispute mechanism to refer U.S. non-compliance to the UN Security Council. That would isolate Washington and needlessly set it on a path of dangerous escalation with Iran. Abrogation of the agreement could also allow Iran to justify ramping up its nuclear program.

Which would be a backfire for Trump.

The end state to Trump’s approach on Iran could very well be war. Such a conflict will not only portend devastating consequences for the United States and Iran, but further destabilize the Middle East as it tries to move on from the scourge of Islamic State.

The staged chanting of ‘Nobel, Nobel’ at a recent ego-stroking public rally in Michigan may have been a bit premature (and bullying the Nobel panel may also backfire).

 If Trump really wants “bigger deals” with Iran, he should build trust by properly implementing the JCPOA, and then engage Iran with respect and not insults.

But Trump thinks that insulting Kim Yong-un has achieved results there – also a premature judgement – so may think it will work everywhere in the world.

It’s a high risk approach that could as easily make things worse rather than better – and it may only need one insult too many against Iran or North Korea or Russia to precipitate something much worse.

Trump seems to think that playing world politics (it can hardly be called diplomacy) is like playing a game show. But it is a lot more complicated than ratings driven win-lose theatrics. It may not be Trump who starts the firing.

 

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64 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  May 2, 2018

    Beny basically told a pack of lies in a presentation aimed at Trump. Everyone else realises what a sleazy, shoddy piece of work it was, and he is though.

    The word of a US commentator on Aljaz is that Netanyahoo made the whole presentation childishly simple because he knew that would best fit Trump’s attention span and intellect & how easy it would be to con the prat.

    Reply
  2. Blazer

     /  May 2, 2018

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  May 2, 2018

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  May 2, 2018

      Reply
    • NOEL

       /  May 2, 2018

      What does Isreal want?. Denuclearisation of Iran?
      Isreal has an estimated ,by some observers ,400 nuclear and we wonder why Iran is going all out to produce their own.

      Reply
    • Patzcuaro

       /  May 2, 2018

      This is a bomb.

      Reply
  3. Gezza

     /  May 2, 2018

    Bibi’s forever trying to get the US to attack Iran.

    Reply
  4. David

     /  May 2, 2018

    “It’s a high risk approach that could as easily make things worse rather than better – and it may only need one insult too many against Iran or North Korea or Russia to precipitate something much worse.”

    Does anyone really think nuke are going to start flying just because Trump says nasty things about leaders of these countries.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  May 2, 2018

      Nope. That’s why Kim is so clever.

      Reply
    • Not necessarily nukes, there are other possible bad outcomes.

      If Trump blusters and bullies the Middle East into peace without favouring Israel (which would probably stuff any chance of a peaceful solution) then i wil give him the credit he is due. If.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  May 2, 2018

        The man is so uninformed last he was suggesting that Qatar and Saudi Arabia and UAE could take responsibility for Syria’s security.

        Reply
  5. Patzcuaro

     /  May 2, 2018

    Trumps “Job Approval” rating looking to break into new territory. A drop below 52% on the negative rating would be interesting. The gap between negative and positive has dipped below 10%

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_trump_job_approval-6179.html

    Reply
  6. Gezza

     /  May 2, 2018

    President Trump lied more than 3,000 times in 466 days
    The Washington Post’s Fact-Checker blog has been keeping a strict count of President Donald Trump’s many misstatements, untruths and outright lies. And, over the weekend at a rally in Michigan, Trump hit a(nother) milestone: He topped 3,000 untrue or misleading statements in 466 days in office.

    That means that, on average, Trump says 6.5 things that aren’t true a day. Every. Single. Day. (Trump is actually picking up the pace when it comes to not telling the truth; he has averaged nine untruths or misleading statements a day over the past two months, according to the Post’s count.)
    https://edition.cnn.com/2018/05/01/politics/donald-trump-3000/index.html

    Reply
    • MaureenW

       /  May 2, 2018

      How many times did the Washington Post lie?

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  May 2, 2018

        Don’t start whining, Maureen. >:D It’s not my bloddy fault he’s a congenital whopper-teller.

        Re WaPo: You tell me. You’re the one who should be keeping score on that.
        Wouldn’t be remotely near 3,000, would it?

        Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  May 2, 2018

      Let’s have an audit then. What were the six lies he told yesterday?

      Reply
    • Conspiratoor

       /  May 2, 2018

      A piece of related trivia for you G. Research has proven the average person tells 20 porkies per day. Over 466 days this makes Trump look like a veritable saint by comparison

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  May 2, 2018

        Not sure about Gezza though. I reckon he’s ahead of schedule today.

        Reply
      • Gezza

         /  May 2, 2018

        This would be your 10th, c? o_O

        Reply
    • MaureenW

       /  May 2, 2018

      So, Muellers questions for Trump have been leaked to the NYT.
      Muellers team claim the White House leaked them, Trumps team claim Meuller leaked them.

      Whose lying and why?

      Reply
    • David

       /  May 2, 2018

      “President Trump lied more than 3,000 times in 466 days”

      Nobody cares. People have been trained to expect politicians to lie all the time by politicians who lie all the time. Trump’s only difference is he is more brazen.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  May 2, 2018

        If nobody cares why are you here defending him?

        Reply
        • David

           /  May 2, 2018

          I’m not defending him, it’s a simple fact. Without that history, Trump never had a chance to be president. His only point of difference is he doesn’t pretend to care if it’s a lie or not.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  May 2, 2018

            Yes. He doesn’t care if he tells blatant lies. They need to get rid of him really.

            Reply
            • David

               /  May 2, 2018

              And replace him whit another lying politician?

            • Gezza

               /  May 2, 2018

              Preferably not. If that’s impossible, then one who is likely to tell far fewer lies & who feels guilty when he does, and admits it when he’s caught. Also one who is an adult.

            • David

               /  May 2, 2018

              “Preferably not. If that’s impossible, then one who is likely to tell far fewer lies & who feels guilty when he does, and admits it when he’s caught. Also one who is an adult.”

              Care to tell us who that might be? As far as I’m aware there is no such person in politics.

            • Gezza

               /  May 2, 2018

              Probably who’s got through puberty is more of an adult than Trump.

            • Gezza

               /  May 2, 2018

              Sorry:
              Probably anyone who’s got through puberty is more of an adult than Trump.

            • MaureenW

               /  May 2, 2018

              Who is they? Leakers and liars – Comey, Brennan, Clapper, McCabe are all doing their darnedest it’s just that they’re failing.

            • Gezza

               /  May 2, 2018

              The voters Maureen. At the next election. The Dems or the GOP need to find an honest candidate with a fully developed brain who doesn’t have tantrums on Twitter and live on cheeseburgers.

            • Gezza

               /  May 2, 2018

              I know you like a strong man, Maureen, but so does trav – only trav’s got standards. I bet her MOTH isn’t up at 3 am having tantrums and ranting on Twitter and I imagine generally if he says something its probably true, he means it, and he probably doesn’t fib & bonk floozies all the time.

            • MaureenW

               /  May 2, 2018

              “The Dems or the GOP need to find an honest candidate…..”
              To be honest, I suspect both parties are corrupted and compromised, and I doubt any “honest” candidate would get the opportunity to run.
              Where is this place you yearn for that has honest politicians?

            • Gezza

               /  May 2, 2018

              So you accept Trump is a lying narcissistic egotistical ratbag obviously, seeing you’re now asking me about some toher country. We are talking about Trump. Name me one other democratic politician anywhere who publicly tells as many lies as Trump does.

            • Gezza

               /  May 2, 2018

              *toher = other

            • MaureenW

               /  May 2, 2018

              I don’t much care about the lying narcissistic egotistical ratbag stuff – one version or other of it goes with the territory.
              I’m more intrigued about the concerted efforts of those who are colluding to bring Trump down, and the reasons for that.
              I didn’t care for Obama, was opposed to Clinton, and found the prior 4 presidents interchangeable – irrespective of whether they were democrat or republican.
              Trump has upset an applecart – I’m keen to see what’s under that.

            • Gezza

               /  May 2, 2018

              Bibi & Jared & Ivanka Kushner.

            • MaureenW

               /  May 2, 2018

              Nope. Trump was spied on since 2015 – nothing to do with B, J and I.

            • Gezza

               /  May 2, 2018

              No, silly. They’d be under the apple cart.

            • Gezza

               /  May 2, 2018

              Haven’t you heard the saying: “The apple never falls far from the tree”?
              Isn’t she the apple of daddy’s eye (let’s not get too far into that, though). And where Ivanka is, Jared is, and where Jared is, is in Bibi’s pocket.

            • MaureenW

               /  May 2, 2018

              So you think Meuller could go on to investigate Trump/Israel? I think you should send him a fax, he’s having trouble finding anything to stick

            • Gezza

               /  May 2, 2018

              No need. Separate issue. Mueller’s a professional. I’m sure if he finds no collusion and no obstruction by Trump, Trump will be calling him great man and all will be sweet. Best not to expect the worst Maureen.

        • MaureenW

           /  May 2, 2018

          How do you have obstruction if there was never any crime to be obstructive about?

          Reply
  7. Zedd

     /  May 2, 2018

    Talk about double-standards; USA & Israel both have nukes (even if one denies it) & they are yelling at Iran & DPRK to ‘denuke’.. silly BULLY-boy games 😦

    Reply
    • Zedd

       /  May 2, 2018

      maybe USA & Israel should; LEAD by Example ?

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  May 2, 2018

        You want a world where only the bad guys have nukes?

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  May 2, 2018

          how do you tell…are they dressed in…black?

          Reply
        • Zedd

           /  May 2, 2018

          define ‘bad guys’ Alan..
          as Blazer sez.. are they the ‘men in black’ or turbans or some other racially defining feature ?

          I hear some say ‘we dont want these crazies to have the bomb’.. but then I look at Mr T & Netanyahu…. oh dear

          Reply

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