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.
Here is a comment I endorse:
How doth Donald Trump scheme to subvert the truth? Let us count the ways.
He concocts a tale of millions of fraudulent votes for his opponent, and appoints a Commission to ‘look into’ voter fraud, headed by a noted advocate of voter suppression.
He declares climate change a ‘hoax,’ and purges scientists and scientific research and data from governmental agencies like the EPA and the Department of the Interior.
He declares that ‘job killing environmental regulations’ are responsible for the steady decline in coal mining employment, and are preventing the U.S. from producing oil, when in truth market forces are rendering coal obsolete, automation is eliminating mining employment required to produce coal, and there is a glut of oil that has reduced the price of a barrel of oil by over 50% from recent highs.
He claims that ‘Radical Islamic terrorism’ is an existential threat to Americans in their own cities and towns, while more Americans are killed each and every week with their own guns than have been victims of foreign terrorists since 9/11/2001.
We could keep this up all night, but for the 1500 word limit. Suffice it to say that a fundamental tenet of the Trump administration is that facts cannot be allowed to determine policy. Instead, ‘alternative facts’ can and should be manufactured and utilized as the pretext for policy.
Prejudices and pre-conceived notions ‘Trump’ reality and empirical data whenever the reality and data do not serve Trump’s purposes.