So now the US is firmly on the side of the Sunni Arabs and against the Iranians and other Shiites (including those in Iraq). It is as if Trump thinks that everything Obama has done is ‘bad’. At a minimum, the optics of this visit and speech are horrible: Saudi Arabia signs a ‘huge’ US$100bn weapons ‘deal’ with the US and US policy is radically and immediately changed. Substantively, this is a major policy mistake.
The event where Trump gave his speech seemed like a convention for autocrats, particularly odd given that Iran was simultaneously conducting an election. The US administration talks about Trump addressing the Islamic world, but there was no representation of those with whom he disagrees. The idea that terrorism is something that can be ‘driven out’ betrays a simplistic view of the problem, with no mention of human rights, social inclusion, education, economic opportunity and democracy.
The US media have given Trump a pass, commenting on his measured speech and focusing on Trump not using the three words that he earlier insisted be used. Trump has increased the prospects for conflict and has given a reason for adversaries of the US to offer arms deals to Iran to counter the US support of Saudi Arabia.
I fear that US policy is being driven more by personal views of Trump and his advisors than by policies that are rooted in an understanding of the issues, that are in the best interests of the US.
The way things are moving, it seems that the nuclear deal which Obama entered with Iran wherein a moratorium for 10 years by Iran was finalised, may be in jeopardy. If it so happens, USA may have to deal with two nations danglig nuclear threat ; Iran and North Korea. It will be better that Trump properly listen to sane advice from advisors and thereafter take a cool and coherent decision on highly sensitive matters. Governance of real estate business can never ever be equated with the governance of a democracy ( over vast geographical area) having enormous military power.
There is no doubt that Iran poses one of America’s most vexing foreign policy challenges. Yet there is within Iran a swelling, albeit constrained desire by a majority of its citizens for a moderate path to rejoining the family of nations. The nuclear accord between Iran and the U.S. (and other allies) is based upon encouraging this movement.
To date, as even the Trump Administration has conceded, Iran is holding up its end of the bargain in exchange for the loosening of strict and damaging economic sanctions. There is a long way to go, and Iranian President Rouhani serves at the pleasure of the ruling, and very conservative mullahs. The fact that Iran has mothballed its nuclear program for at least a decade, has to be a major relief for Israel, no matter how loudly the Israelis criticize the accord.
Trump seems poised to stymie this promising development by placing all his bets with Saudi Arabia, a cesspool of radical Muslim ideology, a center of global human trafficking, and a nation strapped with a despicable monarchy that wishes, with American help, to establish Sunni hegemony in the region.
Iran’s people just voted overwhelmingly for progress and moderation. Saudis, by contrast, will likely never have the chance to vote on anything. From this perspective, Trump’s sudden embrace of all things Sunni is both jarring and all-too predictable of a man whose temperament is focused on riches and adulation at the expense of a rational, sustainable ME foreign policy.
The Trump administration is shortsighted. Yes, Iran has been a problem and will likely continue to be so for some time to come. That said, the Iranian population is well-educated (many of them in the West). Unlike some Middle East countries, which were carved out as nation-states by European powers early in the last century, Iran (like Egypt) has a long and rich history/culture dating back centuries. That means that the people’s identity is distinctly Iranian (Persian) whereas people in much of the region have a stronger tribal identity than they have a national one. The latter leads to factionalism.
Many Iranians, especially younger, educated ones want government changes and more openness to the West. The recent election speaks to that clearly. While the Iranian gov’t must be called on its aggressive behavior and held in check, there is much benefit to be had in encouraging Iran’s joining in the community of nations. Trying to again isolate Iran as a pariah is a big mistake, which is sure to backfire.
Trump’s mutually sycophantic spectacle with the house of Saud is disgusting indeed. $110B worth of “beautiful”, with the young Monty Burns driving the bargain. I can just picture the twiddling of his cold, bloodless fingers. NYT, please continue to follow the money in that deal, even after this obscene satire of a presidency is done.
And, I’m not an expert, but I pay attention. And from what I’m seeing, Iranian culture (particularly among the young) is pretty cool. They’re honoring the terms of the nuclear agreement, and Rouhani’s landslide reelection is further evidence of a country with heart that’s looking forward. Saudi is a black hole by comparison; a place where women are whipped for the crime of showing their faces. Trump’s foolish, one-dimensional blame game could not be more perfectly tuned to energize fundamentalism, recruit terrorists, and widen the rift between Sunni and Shia. All of which will demand more $billions of “beautiful”, underwritten by the perpetuation of our petro-dependency, as the planet cooks away.
I think something big and bad is going to happen soon. And this rudderless, unqualified, understaffed clown car is going to do one heckuva job coping with it.
Trump’s America has no interest in acknowledging and standing up against human rights violations in Saudi Arabia, or anywhere else on the globe, including inside the USA. In Saudi Arabia protesters don’ exist because they can be beheaded just as ISIS beheads its enemies. In the USA, Trump and Republicans deny healthcare is a human right.
Trump likes authoritarians like King Salman, Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, even Bashar al-Assad (if truth be told). No messy democracy where citizens have a right to speak out against tyrants. But, I digress. The focus should be on what America stands for with Trump controlling us, and his visit to Saudi Arabia illustrates exactly what that is.
Trump’s America is the United States of Weapons, Inc. The people’s taxes go to producing weapons and developing more deadly weapons. We cannot afford to provide healthcare to our citizens because we must funnel our taxes into the production of beautiful weapons.
The business of the United States of Weapons, Inc. is to develop ever more deadly weapons and sell them around the world. We will sell arms to the Saudis, give them to the Israelis, even encourage the pope to arm up (we hold no bias when it comes to selling arms). We would even sell arms to North Korea if Trump thought they had money to buy them.
Trump’s America is a money-making arms dealership where the means to destroy human life is an art form. Human life is expendable; work to save and elevate human life is a business inconvenience.
Rouhani’s election and the rise of the moderates in Iran should be an opportunity to re-engage that country with the rest of the world. I fear, however, that the U.S. political and military leadership is set on a course of conflict, egged on by the Sunni states and Israel, that will further roil the mid-East and add to the enormous toll of death and destruction already present. Perhaps if we would stop interfering in every country in the world that doesn’t march to our tune the planet would be a safer and more settled place. We couldn’t have a worse group of people in charge of the country at this critical point in history.
Trump is running out of countries or persons to blame for all his failings. He’s used up Hillary, Obama, Susan Rice, Comey, Merkel and so many others so Iran was the logical choice. Wonder who will be next?
What deal did Mr. Trump personally make with the Saudis to support them with arms and an alliance against Iran?
It had to be worth a lot to him for him to change his denigration of Muslims and support a regime that has a lot of blood on its hands for 9/11.
Building a Middle East policy around the demonization of Iran is not simply counterproductive, it is just plain stupid. As demonstrated in last week’s election, Iran has a citizenly majority of aspirational young people eager to westernize and to join the world as a fully-integrated civil society.
Smart foreign policy would be to respect the peace-promoting nuclear agreement already in place and to nurture the youthful liberal element in Iran while confronting the destabilization of Iranian hard liners who sow no more mayhem than the extremists nurtured by the Saudi government.
In other words, US foreign policy would do well to anticipate and to shape future civil potential rather than to pick at the scab of ancient Middle Eastern tribal hostility. If we insist upon looking backward, think 9/11.
This editorial correctly notes the hypocrisy and illogical thought process of President Trump during his visits to Saudi and Israel.
In isolating Iran as a target for American economic and military muscle-flexing policy, Mr. Trump certainly heightens the risk of an unnecessary, ‘extra’ war in the Middle East. This approach can only lessen the effectiveness our efforts against ISIS, al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
It is time that we recognize that Donald Trump, watching his popularity among American voters sag and aware that investigations into the Trump-Russia connection are not going away, has decided that he needs a shooting war with Iran to distract Americans and to rally broader support.
It’s an old, old trick used by unpopular leaders.
Why can’t we see the forest for the trees here? The editorial suggests a concern for human rights, minority and gender respect should be proffered by a President who thinks beating demonstrators at his rallies is a good idea, appoints an Attorney General with a clearly questionable past regarding protecting minority rights and a Vice President who refuses to be alone in a room with a women besides his wife. Finally, there’s one deal Trump seems to think he’s good at and that’s greasing the wheels of the military industrial complex. Of course this trip is about selling weapons to as many nations as possible. What other ideological outlook does this administration clearly care about? Human rights? Democracy? The rule of law?
And finally – the irony of Iran holding an election and being criticized for its leadership coming from a collection of countries without free elections is practically Orwellian doublespeak.
Sign if you agree: Trump is UNFIT to serve as President >>
Madeleine Albright just PUBLICLY HUMILIATED Trump:
That’s right — former Secretary of State Albright just publicly slammed Trump for how CLUELESS he is when it comes to foreign policy.
Trump has threatened our national security and strained our relationships with allies.
Secretary Albright knows how dangerous this is, and we know it too.
And now, Trump is off touring the world and representing our nation to foreign leaders.
With everything on the line, we’re gathering signatures to stand with Secretary Albright. Sign on right away:
– BOLD Democrats