Trump doesn't understand the art of the Iran deal

Trump doesn't understand the art of the Iran deal
Comment: The long-negotiated Iran nuclear deal keeps the dogs of war on a leash. It must not be scrapped, writes James Brownsell.
3 min read
13 Oct, 2017
Walking away from the Iran deal is abandoning the diplomatic achievement of the decade [AFP]

By this time, I think it's pretty clear to everyone that the Western world is being run by a dangerous clown, propped up by a band of sycophantic pocket-lining hucksters.

We have become well acquainted with Donald Trump abusing the office of the presidency to attack the free press, to profit from carting his administration off to his golf clubs every other weekend and to generally undermine decency and dignity wherever it may still be found in public life.

But he appears not content with making a quick buck through his rampant nepotism. He really does seem keen on heralding the end of the world.

In the short term, he's happy to poke a dog with a stick, brazenly, shamefacedly taunting North Korea into war and likely global nuclear annihilation. And if he doesn't get his way plunging the planet into a new stone age, he's got the long game running, denying climate change and wrecking environmental regulation while accelerating the most harmful practices which threaten all life on Earth.

And now he looks set to deliberately sabotage what was probably the greatest diplomatic achievement of the past decade.

The Iran nuclear deal may not be perfect for Washington. It required the United States to make concessions from its original demands. It was a triumph of the art of compromise.

And the world breathed a little easier: Countless thousands of lives had been saved. Iran wasn't going to build a nuclear bomb, and the West wasn't going to get dragged into the quicksand of yet another Middle East war - one that would make the after-effects of the 2003 Iraq invasion look like high tea at The Ritz.

Read more: From Iran to UNESCO - The Trump withdrawal doctrine

European countries and nuclear experts agree that Iran is complying with its side of the deal. In a twist of events probably not predicted by the Obama administration, today's rogue leader sits not in Tehran, but in the Oval Office.

If President Trump fails to renew the Iran deal, Congress will have two months either to save the deal or to reimpose crippling sanctions. Even if the deal is saved, Trump's wild policy-making-by-Twitter approach to international diplomacy has undermined the credibility of the United States on the world stage.

Which countries in the future will trust Washington to broker peace deals or trade agreements if they can be reneged upon by a reality TV star trapped in the belief of his own ego trip fantasy?

Trump's megalomaniac whims come with a huge price. Iran is not building a nuclear bomb. But if the nuclear deal does end up on the scrapheap, what's to stop them from building one?

Sanctions on Iran would be disastrous for its people. Regime change in Iran will only bring about the rise of radical hardliners. War on Iran would spiral across the region with ramifications that simply cannot be predicted - beyond the death and displacement of millions.

There are no winners if the nuclear agreement fails. Everyone loses. Trump really doesn't understand the art of the deal.

James Brownsell is the Managing Editor of The New Arab. Follow him on Twitter: @JamesBrownsell

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab, al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.