May 17, 2019

Trump, Iran, and the World

Donald Trump said yesterday that he doesn’t want war with Iran; he is only interested in keeping Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

Of course, the agreement with Iran that the president was so eager to get out of was designed to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Moreover, the agreement was working well and was accomplishing its key objective.

What Trump didn’t like about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was its multilateral nature. We have a president who hates co-operative agreements involving multiple states, whether they be NAFTA, the TTP, the JCPOA, the Paris Accord, or even the United Nations itself.

A former master of his own business empire, President Trump wants analogous control over U.S. agreements with other nations. He abhors the compromises required to obtain consensus among multiple partners, irrespective of the benefits that might accrue from an agreement. Trump’s need for control is obvious, too, in his domestic role as leader of the United States. Somehow, Donald Trump never learned those lessons in kindergarten about getting along with others.

Multilateral co-operation among nations has made the post-WWII world safe, prosperous, and largely democratic. Although the U.S. has been a key player in its creation, the Pax Americana was not the result of putting the United States first in all things, as Trump would now have it. The world was a better place because we actively sought a better world for everyone, not simply a world dominated by and for the United States of America. Donald Trump is now determined to destroy that world.

It will be up to the next president—one hopes a Democratic president—to rebuild the safe, prosperous, democratic world that Donald Trump is destroying.

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