Four things that have happened since Trump tore up the Iran deal

Ok, I’ve got four additional things I want to mention about Trump’s proclamation yesterday that the United States would no longer honor its obligations under the multinational Iran deal. [For my previous thoughts, just scroll back to yesterday’s post.]

1. It’s clear to me, as I sit here watching Sarah Huckabee Sanders attempt to answer questions about this whole thing, that the White House has absolutely no fucking idea what they’ve done, or what the ramifications may be… Check out this video. In it, you’ll see a reporter ask whether or not the administration would support a Saudi nuclear weapons program, and Sanders respond by evading the question and basically just repeating her single talking point about how we can’t allow Iran to have nuclear weapons. [This question to Sanders came in response to a report earlier today that the Saudis intend to start a nuclear weapons program if Iran resurrects theirs.] I should know better that try to interpret the intricate facial expressions of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, but, when the question is asked, I can’t help but think I see something like terror flicker across her face, as though it’s just occurring to her that she may be too far from shore to make it back alive.

2. On Russian state television yesterday, during a panel discussion about Putin’s domestic policy objectives, the subject of budgets came up. Specifically, the members of the panel were wondering how Putin would come up with the 8 trillion rubles he needs to do everything he’s said that he wants to do over the next year. At this point in the conversation, the program’s female host says, “Looks like we found it. Trump is withdrawing US from the Iran nuclear deal. Oil prices should go up, which is good for us.” [If I’m not mistaken, this is the same Russian propagandist who said not too long ago, “We own Trump.”] I’m not suggesting that Putin was behind Trump’s decision to leave the deal, just that the Russian dictator may not be as upset about it as the rest of the world leaders who had a hand in creating the Iran deal. And, as we discussed yesterday, if nothing else, having the Americans leave the deal only increases the global influence of Russia and China, who are fast becoming the world’s only two superpowers.

3. It’s worth noting, I think, that Putin was in Moscow with Benjamin Netanyahu today. I suppose it could be coincidence, but, given the hard line Israel has taken with Iran, and the fact that Netanyahu lobbied hard to get Trump to kill the deal, I can’t help but think that Netanyahu wanted to be in Moscow when the deal was killed in order to talk with Putin about next steps, and possibly get his blessing for something. And, judging from what Netanyahu told reporters today, I think I’m probably right. Netanyahu said that he presented to Putin “Israel’s obligation and right to defend itself against Iranian aggression, from Syrian territory.” The Israeli Prime Minister went on to say, “The Iranians declare their intention to attack us. They are trying to transfer forces and deadly weapons there with the explicit goal of attacking the State of Israel as part of their strategy to destroy the State of Israel.”

4. And, just a few minutes ago, word came out that according to Israel, the Iranians are now firing rockets into the Golan Heights from Syria… Now, I guess we just sit back and wait for the war to begin.

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  1. From the internets
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Mick Krever: “In Sept 2002, then-former PM Benjamin Netanyahu told US Congress that there was “no question whatsoever” that Saddam Hussein was developing nuclear weapons. He said: “I guarantee you” that toppling Saddam would have “enormous positive reverberations on the region.””

  2. Jean Henry
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    ‘Re-imposing sanctions on Iran will create the greatest division between Europe and the U.S. since the Iraq War, Mark Fitzpatrick, the executive director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies office in Washington, told me. “Only this time it will be worse, since not a single European state sides with the U.S. on this matter.” Beyond Europe, American credibility worldwide “will go down the tubes,” he said. “Who will ever want to strike a deal with a country that, without cause, pulls out of a deal that everyone else knows has been working well? America will be seen as stupid, arrogant, and bullying. Pity the poor U.S. diplomats who have to explain this illogical decision to their host countries.”

    Trump’s decision even benefits America’s adversaries, including Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin. “We’re playing into Putin’s hand,” Michael McFaul, a former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, now at Stanford University, said on CNN. “For Putin, it means that the U.S. is on the outside—and Putin is still on the inside. Why are we isolating ourselves when we need other countries to coöperate with on issues like North Korea?”’

  3. Anonymous
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Funny how everything the U.S. does seems to be something that works to Putin’s benefit.

  4. White House official statement
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    “The U.S. condemns the Iranian regime’s provocative rocket attacks from Syria against Israeli citizens, and we strongly support Israel’s right to act in self-defense.”

  5. Jean Henry
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Fascinating, but most telling are the last lines:
    “Two current and one former US official said America’s intelligence agencies were not being pressured to provide evidence to support the White House’s policy but instead were being ignored.

    Retired General Michael Hayden, a former director of both the CIA and the National Security Agency, called it “remarkable” that Mr Trump made no mention of US intelligence assessments in his speech announcing withdrawal from the Iran deal.

    Trump’s director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, told Congress in February that the Iran deal had extended the amount of time Iran would need to produce fissile material for a nuclear weapon and enhanced the transparency of Iran’s nuclear activities.

    “It’s not that they’re being leaned on to provide justifications,” Gen Hayden said of US intelligence analysts. Mr Trump “neither needs nor wants justification””.

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  1. […] remiss if I didn’t point out that, just before Trump went into this meeting with Kim Jong Un, he tore up a very real disarmament agreement with Iran that essentially accomplished everything he said he wanted to do in North Korea, but failed to […]

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