Trita Parsi writes: Something extraordinary has happened in Washington. President Donald Trump has made it clear, in no uncertain terms and with no effort to disguise his duplicity, that he will claim that Tehran is cheating on the nuclear deal by October—the facts be damned. In short, the fix is in. Trump will refuse to accept that Iran is in compliance and thereby set the stage for a military confrontation. His advisors have even been kind enough to explain how they will go about this. Rarely has a sinister plan to destroy an arms control agreement and pave the way for war been so openly telegraphed.
The unmasking of Trump’s plans to sabotage the nuclear deal began two weeks ago when he reluctantly had to certify that Iran indeed was in compliance. Both the US intelligence as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency had confirmed Tehran’s fair play. But Trump threw a tantrum in the Oval Office and berated his national security team for not having found a way to claim Iran was cheating. According to Foreign Policy, the adults in the room—Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, and National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster—eventually calmed Trump down but only on the condition that they double down on finding a way for the president to blow up the deal by October.
Prior to the revelation of Trump’s Iran certification meltdown, most analysts and diplomats believed that Trump’s rhetoric on Iran was just that—empty talk. His bark was worse than his bite, as demonstrated when he certified Iran’s compliance back in April and when he renewed sanctions waivers in May. The distance between his rhetoric and actual policy was tangible. Rhetorically, Trump officials described Iran as the root of all problems in the Middle East and as the greatest state sponsor of terror. Trump even suggested he might quit the deal. [Continue reading…]
Note the carefully worded headline — seeking war — which should not be taken to mean Trump is intent on starting a war. The specter of war would surely be sufficient for his purposes.
But what are Trump’s purposes?
For Trump to be deeply vexed by the terms of the Iran deal, he’d have to know what those terms are and I doubt he’s even read the deal, let alone subjected it to critical analysis.
It seems much more likely that the only reason Trump has given the Iran deal any consideration whatsoever has nothing to do with geopolitics and everything to do with Barack Obama.
As unpredictable as Trump is, in this respect he has been absolutely consistent: in his determination to undo everything that has been dubbed Obama’s legacy.
He’s torn up the Paris climate accord; having failed to replace Obamacare he’s now intent on destroying it; and this leaves as unfinished business, the Iran deal.
For however long Trump remains in office he will regard his term as successful if it is seen as having erased Obama’s impact on history. In this way, Trump will have left his mark — with the sophistication of a dog.
The Trump doctrine is very simple since it can be reduced to two words: Donald Trump.