What is the pretext for ripping up the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), at least according to the rhetoric coming from the Trump administration? Iran’s long range ballistic missile program. I’m quite surprised that nobody thus far has pointed out the most obvious flaw in that logic. Not only will Iran most likely continue to pursue long range ballistic missiles, but now they are free to resume their nuclear weapons program in tandem with it. If you’re Iran and facing sanctions despite adhering to the JCPOA, then why not let the crime fit the time.
Only the Trump administration could make a mistake as dumb as this. It’s a forced error that fails to take into account the long view, and brings the doomsday clock much closer to midnight. In one fell swoop, an accomplishment that took years of deft diplomacy to achieve has been carelessly tossed in the garbage. The threat of nuclear war just got booster shot in the arm.
Despite Iran’s duplicitous past they were actually complying with the terms of the agreement. That’s the part that infuriates supporters as well as the other member nations that signed the JCPOA. Iran gets to claim, and rightfully so, that the US broke the agreement thereby granting them the go-ahead to immediately resume their nuclear weapons program. This will also push the EU even farther away from the US as yet another opportunity to expand our influence is squandered by a simplistic “go it alone” strategy that has supplanted much of our foreign diplomacy. Far from taking our lead, as has been the case in the past, our allies will move forward in the absence of our once capable leadership.
What Trump doesn’t seem to understand is that these types of agreements only work because they are multi-lateral. Why else would countries like China comply with sanctions and buy their oil elsewhere, if not for the pressure that a united front of allies can bring to bear? What further concessions will we have to make with China to get them to comply with Iranian sanctions, assuming they are even willing to do so? Furthermore, why would North Korea ever entertain any similar agreements when we’ve clearly demonstrated that we cannot be relied upon to keep our end of the bargain?
I suspect that we’ll have a nuclear armed Iran in the very near future, given how close they were to making a bomb before shelving their nuclear weapons program. If they’ve paid any attention at all to North Korea, they already have a blueprint for bringing the US to heel. It’s pretty obvious that it wasn’t until Kim actually had a bomb, and the ability to put it atop a long range missile, that he was even willing to come to the negotiating table. What Kim knows, and Iran is probably slowly coming to realize, is that fair negotiations are not possible with the Trump administration without the leverage of a nuclear arsenal pointed at Washington D.C. or one of it’s allies. In this case, Israel will be in the crosshairs, and I fear that they may drag us into the very conflict with Iran that the JCPOA was keeping at bay.