Steve Andreasen and Steven Simon write: As if the steeply rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula weren’t enough, President Trump seems determined to kill the Iran nuclear deal, against the near unanimous opinion of his closest foreign policy advisers.
According to a recent article in Foreign Policy, after he grudgingly agreed to recertify the deal a few weeks ago, Mr. Trump assigned a team of White House staff members to develop a case within the next three months for declaring that Iran had violated the agreement.
With this new initiative on Iran, Mr. Trump puts the world, and his presidency, at great risk.
For one thing, it brings to a boil the simmering conflict between the president’s official foreign policy advisers on the National Security Council staff and in the State and Defense Departments, and a circle of advisers led by the radical unilateralist Stephen Bannon. The latter group will handle the president’s Iran assignment, and while anything could happen, it’s a good bet that they will cherry-pick facts to give the president what he wants: an excuse to scuttle the Iran deal.
Will Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Gen. H. R. McMaster, the national security adviser, or Gen. John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, let this happen? Some might resign; these are not men known for their willingness to tolerate such shenanigans. But whether they resign or try to stick it out, a political decision to decertify Iran would signal a clear defeat for the administration’s foreign policy professionals, and a victory for the ideologues. [Continue reading…]