There was a disturbing interview with Stan Grant in the last edition of The Link on ABC TV. Trump and other major powers have a deal with Iran has called the deal with Iran where trade sanctions have been lifted in exchange for Iran stopping its nukes program. Trump has called the deal an “embarrassment” and “the worst deal ever negotiated” and has threatened to nix it.
And now he has. Not completely, but he’s on the way by ‘de-certifying’ it.
The EU, Germany, France, the UK, Russia and China signed up to the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA) of 2015 through which the former sanctions against Iran were removed in return ceasing to develop nuclear weapons. There was an inspection process, and all are happy that Iran was complying. It seems that Trump’s complaint was that Iran was still able to sponsor terrorism, especially with Hezbollah and Hamas, and interfere in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. And Iran continues to develop intercontinental ballistic missile technology. Trump wants a more aggressive stance towards Iran across the board.
Barack Obama and John Kerry were of the view that priority needed to be given to stopping Iran’s nuclear program, so this was isolated and a deal done.
The deal requires periodic formal certification by the parties every 90 days. It was widely expected Trump would walk away from the Iran nuclear deal. Now he has refused to sign the certification and has given the US Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose the economic sanctions on Tehran.
If Congress does nothing, then the deal stays in place, but Trump has:
- warned that if “we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated.”
Seems Trump’s secretaries of state and defence want to keep the deal. The bloke Grant interviewed said that nixing the deal would see Iran with nukes within months.
The Republicans have 52 seats in the Senate, and any decision Congress might make requires 51 votes.
Michael Axworthy in The Guardian says Donald Trump’s demonisation of Iran is dishonest and dangerous.
Dennis Atkins in the Courier Mail says that if Trump succeeds in unwinding the Iran nuclear agreement just because he doesn’t like the deal, it could have disastrous ramifications for the US. He quotes Suzanne Maloney at length:
Writing at the end of this past week for the Brookings Institution, foreign policy deputy director Suzanne Maloney said the situation in the region today was entirely the wrong time to push back against Iran, as much work is needed to bring the revolutionary state into the community of nations.
“After a precarious period of internal instability and international censure and sanctions, the Islamic Republic has consolidated its domestic legitimacy, repaired its frayed relationships with key European trade and diplomatic partners, deepened a nascent strategic partnership with Russia, and markedly expanded its reach across a chaotic Middle East,” Maloney writes.
She says refusing to certify compliance — something all monitoring bodies say is happening — does nothing for the American role in how the agreement operates.
“In predictable Trump fashion, de-certification appears to be a step designed solely to assuage the president’s ego,” Maloney writes.
“De-certification will have a significant and almost certainly disastrous impact for American diplomacy.
“It will provide no new leverage over Iran; it will alienate Washington’s vital partners in the designing and implementing the deal … and it will provide Tehran with an unparalleled opportunity to renege on its nuclear constraints with plausible impunity.”
Maloney argues there’s no way Trump’s suggested move would give the President what he wants — a new platform for broking a rougher, more pro-western deal with Iran.
Those states who sweated blood on the deal, particularly China and Russia who took a lot of convincing, will be unimpressed and the Europeans will see it as a betrayal of what was a successful partnership.
“The Trump administration is on the verge of up-ending the hard-fought checks on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions based on nothing more than hubris,” Maloney writes.
“In this part of the world, the illusion of something better just beyond the horizon is called a mirage, and the American presidents who pursue them are seldom successful.”
There is an excellent roundup at the BBC. The EU and Russia will carry on regardless, but the deal may fall apart.
Linda Qiu at the NYT does a factcheck on what Trump said about Iran. He’s badly informed, of course.
Elsewhere, Trump has been busy on Obamacare:
- Donald Trump took two extraordinary steps to undo his predecessor’s signature health law on Thursday, measures that could fatally damage Obamacare despite the repeated failure of Republicans in Congress to repeal it.
Having expanded access to cheaper and less comprehensive insurance – which experts predict will result in health plans for the sick becoming more expensive – with an executive order on Thursday morning, the president issued a surprise notice that night scrapping federal subsidies underpinning the system.
Trump’s actions could undermine the health marketplace millions of Americans depend on and hurt some of the US’s most vulnerable people.
I think the score is now 40 states that are going to sue.
And he took the US out of UNESCO, citing an anti-Israel bias.
He’s been busy on climate too, where his EPA man announces plans to eliminate Obama’s signature climate policy, announcing the plan in town called Hazard, restoring America to its former glory with dirtier air, sicker people and higher energy bills, appointing a CEO to NOAA with no science background who wants to privatize weather data, and nominating Kathleen Hartnett White to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality, a fringe player in the climate debate who promotes the idea that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is good for humanity.
Elsewhere we are reminded of what might have been in The Forgotten Hillary Clinton Voter: A Profile Of The Not-So-Silent Majority.
On Four Corners next episode Hillary is going to tell Sarah Ferguson what went wrong and what she thinks of The Donald.
Update: New Daily has a piece on 27 psychiatrists who have come to the conclusion that Trump is mad, bad, and utterly dangerous. Their conclusion is:
- “Collectively with our co-authors, we warn that anyone as mentally unstable as Mr Trump simply should not be entrusted with the life and death powers of the presidency.”
Zoot linked to a piece where 125 psychologists and other mental health professionals marched along lower Broadway on Saturday to demand that President Trump be thrown out of office, based on a constitutional clause allowing presidents to be ousted when their cabinets decide they are ” unable to discharge the powers and duties” of their job. Here they are:
The psychiatrists published their finding in a book The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump. They appear to be arguing not so much that Trump is ill, rather that he has personality characteristics that make him unsuitable for the job.
At Salon there is a great interview with psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton starting with the Goldwater Rule, which which inhibits psychiatrists from diagnosing public figures whom they have not personally examined.
This is trumped, they say, by the duty to warn if someone may be dangerous to others. Trump is not just unfit, he’s dangerous.
lifton goes on to talk about the concept of malignant normality, a characteristic he wrote about in another book where Nazi doctors were assigned to work in doctors Auschwitz.
Lipton focusses on the concept of solopsistic reality:
- Solipsistic reality means that the only reality he’s capable of embracing has to do with his own self and the perception by and protection of his own self.
Trump does not have clear contact with reality, is always seeking to re-affirm his own image, which leads him to simultaneously hold contradictory positions and lie with abandon. Lifton feels he should be removed and probably will be as he becomes more and more erratic, but is fearful of what he will do on the way out. In this context, the red nuclear button is frightening.
They then wonder how over 63 million people voted for the guy, and many continue to support him
Lipman says he knew the sociologist David Riesman, a great authority on American society.
- He emphasized how there’s always an underbelly in American society of extreme conservatism and reactionary response, and when there’s any kind of progressive movement, there’s likely to be a backlash of reaction to it. Trump is very much in that backlash to any kind of progressive achievement or even decent situation in society. He is stimulating feelings that are potential and latent in our society, but very real, and rendering them more active and more dangerous.
There is another great article at The New Yorker.