The most important figures in Trump’s security cabinet are hardliners; they don’t think much of diplomacy. Others will pay the price.
Those who thought Trump was preferable to "Killary" may sink into the ground in shame Photo: reuters
Admittedly, U.S. President Barack Obama has not achieved any major foreign policy successes in his eight years in office, let alone ones that would have earned him the hastily awarded Nobel Peace Prize. But he has achieved two: the historic rapprochement with Cuba and the agreement negotiated with the veto powers of the Security Council and Germany on the one hand and Iran on the other to control Iran’s nuclear program. With his brusque move on Tuesday, Donald Trump has now also undone Obama’s second success.
Trump is implementing what he announced in the election campaign. The most important figures in his current security cabinet are experienced hardliners who do not think much of diplomacy and, despite the deadly experiences of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, continue to push for militarily enforced regime change, this time in Tehran. The dismissed Stephen Bannon will be pleased.
This is already no longer playing with fire, this is arson.
It is now up to the Europeans, together with Russia and China, to do everything they can to avoid escalation and keep the agreement as functional as possible. For months, the British, French and German governments have tried to dissuade Trump from the plan. He has let them completely miss the mark. And, as in 2003, lies are the basis for escalation.
The hardliners around Trump and Netanyahu know that the agreement will do exactly what it is supposed to: Prevent Iran from building a nuclear bomb. All institutions charged with verification, including the U.S. intelligence services, confirm this time and again. But this is as unimportant to Trump and Netanyahu as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney invaded Iraq because of Saddam Hussein’s "weapons of mass destruction".
Today, the U.S. and Israel stand completely alone
At that time, Bush was not able to convince the UN Security Council, but he was able to convince a number of other countries to participate as a "coalition of the willing" in this murderous war of aggression, the consequence of which cost hundreds of thousands of lives. Today, and this is progress after all, the U.S. and Israel stand completely alone, with only Iran’s regional counterpart Saudi Arabia signaling support. One can only hope that this remains the case. But for that to happen, European foreign policy will have to get its act together again. Such a "Trump effect" would even have something positive.
Trump’s move also brings a new insight into the political debate here: May all those political illiterates sink into the ground in shame who, during the U.S. election campaign, were still arguing that Trump was truly the better alternative for world peace than "Killary. Antiestablishment and all that. Others may now pay the price for this cranky worldview: the people in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Iran. And possibly also in Israel.