President Trump’s announcement last week to pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was the latest step towards military conflict with Iran. The decision comes after the confirmation of a hawkish Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State and places us on a collision course with Iran. The neoconservatives are finally smiling again.
The prospect of a conflict with Iran really started to form when the president nominated former CIA Director Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State and infamous Iran-hawk John Bolton as his new National Security Advisor. John Bolton has a history as one of the most hawkish people involved in United States foreign policy and is part of the small group that still thinks the Iraq War was a good idea. He holds an almost obsessive view of Iran in a manner reminiscent of Elmer Fudd and his obsessed quest to get Bugs Bunny, he even went so far as to pen an op-ed in the New York Times stating we must bomb Iran in order to stop them from obtaining a nuclear weapon. With Bolton in the president’s ear and Pompeo heading the State Department, United States foreign policy will likely see a more aggressive turn.
The question of why President Trump even decided to pull out of the deal should be posed. Pulling out of the JCPOA makes it more difficult to monitor Iran’s nuclear research. According to a 2018 threat assessment from the Director of National Intelligence, the deal enhanced transparency of Iran’s nuclear activities. If monitoring Iran and making sure they don’t obtain a nuclear weapon is the main concern, why pull out of the deal that makes such an inspection possible? After the decision was made to pull out of the JCPOA one of the State Department’s top nuclear experts, Richard Johnson, decided to resign. In his farewell letter, Johnson stated that the Iran deal had “clearly been successful in preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon”. With nuclear experts and intelligence agencies saying, the deal was a success, what was the reasoning behind pulling out of the deal if not to create conflict?
If you read the writing on the wall it looks like the United States and Iran are heading for an armed conflict. Neither the United States nor the world have anything to gain from this. Most of our allies aren’t happy with President Trump’s decision to pull out of the deal. Those that would benefit from a war with Iran are Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Sunni Jihadists. Saudi Arabia is currently waging an inhumane campaign against Shiites in Yemen and would love to see the Shiite nation of Iran brought to its knees. Sunni jihadists like ISIS would benefit from the fall of their Shiite rivals and would no doubt take advantage of the chaos and a weakened opposition if we were to attack Iran. There would be nothing to gain for the United States if we were to attack Iran other than death, debt, and a new military quagmire. The security of the world would not be enhanced by such intervention as instability would only benefit radicals and terrorists. Research suggests that even if Iran did gain nuclear capabilities they wouldn’t change their posture and wouldn’t become a larger threat to the world, the idea that they are an imminent threat is exaggerated propaganda. If the United States conducts military operations against Iran it has a very real possibility of becoming Iraq 2.0, where the only winners are those that seek instability in the Middle East.
President Trump’s decision to pull out of the JCPOA has reversed years of diplomatic progress. It has placed us at odds with not only Iran but many of our allies. Each nation has increased their rhetoric after the decision and in that rhetoric, you can hear the war drums beating. American adventurism may have found its next big mistake.
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