Trump’s dangerous bluster on Iran

Iran missile test

Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile. Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!” – @RealDonaldTrump  tweet, 2February 2017.

On 21 January Iran test-fired a ballistic missile for, in their words, “legitimate defensive purposes”. From Iran’s perspective, this was a reasonable claim. There is no international treaty banning the tests and the only relevant UN Security Council resolution calls on Iran to avoid missile tests “designed” to carry nuclear weapons. Under the historic nuclear agreement reached in July 2015 Iran gave up its ability to develop nuclear weapons and submitted to extremely intrusive on site monitoring and other advanced verification measures, designed to ensure it honoured this deal. In return Iran got crippling international sanctions lifted so its economy could get moving again.

In response to the first Iranian ballistic missile test since he took office, President Trump bellowed and tweeted out a series of threats, alleging Iran was “playing with fire”, and putting them “formally on notice” for [allegedly] breaching UN resolutions. The UN Security Council on 3 February, while concerned, found insufficient evidence of Iranian non-compliance and commissioned a report before deciding on any further action.

On Friday, 4 February, before any UN report could be produced, the Trump administration levied unilateral American sanctions against Iran.

The Iranian government immediately responded with a verbal tirade of its own, and another missile test.

Despite all the earlier bombast, there was no further response from President Trump, who was by then immersed in a new battle with the American judiciary over the constitutionality of his vile Muslim travel ban.

So how tough are these sanctions?

Clearly if Trump had really wanted to hurt Iran, he would have prohibited Boeing from going forward with the 16 billion dollar deal it reached with Iran Air in December, 2016 to replenish Iran’s dangerously aging commercial fleet. However, that contract is said to support 100,000 American jobs. So Trump followed up all his tough talk with tepid, largely irrelevant American sanctions on certain international entities doing business with Iran’s missile agency. – Peggy Mason, President of the Rideau Insitute

This is not to downplay the negative impact of Trump’s rhetoric. Even empty words play right into the hands of the hardliners in Tehran who oppose the historic nuclear agreement as vehemently as the hardliners in America.

But it is too bad the media missed a key aspect of this saga — that Donald Trump, for all his bully boy bluster, pulled his punches when it came to Iran, for fear that hurting American jobs would hurt him too.


Photo credit: Wikimediacommons

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3 Responses to “Trump’s dangerous bluster on Iran”

  1. Howard A. DoughtyFebruary 11, 2017 at 11:53 am #

    The good news is that Mr. Trump has toned down his rhetoric.

    The better news is that he seems to have reversed himself and accepted the “One China” policy of his predecessors.

    The bad news is that Steve Bannon appears to be a major influence and that General Flynn is still in office.

    The most troubling fact, however, is that Mr. Trump shows no signs of coherence or interest in an evidence-based, pragmatic foreign (or any other) policy nor is he even driven by a consistent ideology.

    Over 50 years ago, Hannah Arendt famously reported on “the banality of evil.” Today, we need someone to report on the banality … of narcissistic mediocrity and … well, “banality.”

  2. el DorkoFebruary 10, 2017 at 8:51 pm #

    The principal reason that Unca Donald is so fired up is because both Saudi Arabia and Israel both despise Iran, and they call many of the shots in the USA.

    Also, the New Silk Road between Russia, China and Iran, which is well under way, represents a threat to the strategies of the American establishment, who intend to sabotage any efforts outside of their sphere of influence, by any means necessary. Trump is just playing the bad guy for his bosses. I also believe his chumminess with Vladimir Putin and Russia, and his vilification of China is a ploy to divide and conquer.

    • Peggy MasonFebruary 11, 2017 at 10:25 am #

      Good analysis. Our point is that it is proving harder than Trump and co. thought it would be to undo the progress that President Obama began with the Iran nuclear deal.