With Iran, Trump Acts in His Self-Interest Not the National Interest

There is a celebration after every election in Delaware, it’s called “Burying the Hatchet”

Nowhere else in the nation is there a post-election “healing” event and official burying of the political hatchet like Sussex County’s Return Day. From the courthouse balcony, the town crier in top hat and coattails cries out election results. Ox sandwiches, well done after overnight roasting in an open barbecue pit, are handed out free to attendees. And opposing candidates ride together in a gala parade.

“It is supposed to get rid of all of the bad things said about each other during the campaign. I don’t know whether we can guarantee that happening or not. But at least we’ve never heard of any of them putting the hatchet anywhere but in the sand.”

Trump hated Obama. Yes, Obama snaked Trump out of some real estate deals in Chicago; and publicly humiliated him when President. And Trump never forgave him.

Obama never ran against Trump. But Trump was intent on undoing everything that Obama did. Everything from Obamacare to the Iran Nuclear deal. Trump was totally committed to undoing Obama’s legacy. This was NOT because it was the right thing to do for the U.S., but for purely personal reasons.

Its okay to have a completely different outlook. It’s okay to have a completely different perspective… a different philosophy. What is NOT okay, is to be purely destructive. If Obamacare is bad, what is the right solution to the US healthcare mess? If the Nuclear deal is (was) bad, what is the right way to rebuild US influence in Central Asia and promote peace (and ultimately open new markets) in Central Asia.

This past week, ABC aired an interview with George Stephanopoulos and Donald Trump, in the Whitehouse. In it, Trump said he saw nothing wrong with getting information from a foreign source on an opponent. Naïve and ignorant Americans (the 35% robust Trumptards) might agree with him, the problem with this statement is that once again, Trump confirmed that his outlook on elections is to “win” at all cost, damn the national interest.

Being President for him, is about extending his brand, and establishing an intellectual kingdom to promote his real estate. Its NOT about doing what is right for America. He covets dinner with the Queen of England, and other foreign leaders. But will not take the time to read a state department briefing before he sits for dinner to promote US interests.

It’s all about him, and his persona. Its NOT about serving the people of the U.S. I really would not be surprised if there were all kinds of secret real estate transactions going on in the background with his son-in-law to feather Trump’s bed further after he steps out of office. Whether true or not, that is the impression I have.

Going back to the Iran deal. Its very clear that the U.S. has few alternatives in the region and specifically with Iran.

If you analyze the situation, and I have; it’s been clear now for decades that war with Iran is not an option. The Iraq debacle proved that. (For the record, prior to the Iraq invasion, I too, had suggested an invasion of Iran – before the invasion of Iraq as a means for regime change. I don’t want you or any reader to think that somehow, I am a fan of the mullahs).  Also, by the way, its not simply about military dominance and the probability of a military success – its also about the costs in terms of rebuilding but also to the global financial system if oil flows are halted. War is simply not an option. Never have been. Although if you listen to the neo-cons it’s a ‘piece of cake’! And that is what they said about Iraq.

Given that war is NOT an option, what is left on the table?

We must start by stating our long-term goals and interests. There is a need to counterbalance Chinese (and Russian) dominance and open markets in Central Asia to drive the world economy. There is a need to provide alternate sources of energy to Europe. There is a need to protect our allies in the region and promote regional peace.

None of these goals have been achieved by walking out of the JCPOA. None. It has only polarized the situation and made it much worse. The U.S. is isolated and weaker than before Trump took office – and far from peeling Iran from a Chinese orbit, it has forced Iran into China’s lap. Iran has stepped up its regional destabilizing activity – largely to get the US out of the region, believing Trump (and his administration) to be warmongers, hell bent on regime change. The Europeans are furious. In fact, both Israel and Saudi-Arabia are considerably weaker and less secure than before he took office. Neither Assad in Syria, nor Hezbollah nor the Houthis (all Iranian allies) are weaker today than before. They are stronger – better armed and considerably more entrenched.

What has Trump achieved – except to walk away from “Obama’s deal”? Nothing.

Focusing on ‘undoing’ Obama’s legacy has weakened Trump, and weakened the U.S. He has very limited moves now – why? Because he was emotionally so tied up with undoing Obama’s deal!

If the deal was bad, tell me Mr. Trump, what is your strategy for making a better deal? That’s right he doesn’t have one. And the Iranians know it. Short of war, he has no card to play at all. And, again, war would be a foolish.

War might be what Israelis want (his benefactors), or what Saudi’s want, or what Bolton and Pompeo want … but its not what is in the U.S. national interest. 10 Trillion dollars later, thousands of US servicemen dead or disabled later, a bankrupt US and global economy later — he might, just maybe might, sit back and reflect on his foolishness. He might reflect on letting his emotions and narcissism take the better of him and the country.

For now, neither the Chinese, nor Iranians, nor the Russians, nor the Europeans actually want to deal with him. He has pushed himself into a corner. He must find a way out – without war.

He must ask himself – why? And repeat why, 5 times … Because he placed his personal interests ahead of the national interest. More than ever before, he needs some seasoned, reasoned, sage American diplomats (not Japanese, not Swiss, not British) to step in and clean up his mess. He has to step back and re-boot everything (and place his own ego in a closet).

He needs to bury the hatchet. Its time to do what is right for country.

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