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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Deeply stupid diplomacy

Image result for stupid trump cartoonDonald Trump is a deeply stupid man, and that stupidity is just one of the many ways he is undermining American national security. The latest example was reported this week:

President Donald Trump has left the impression with foreign officials, members of his administration, and others involved in Iranian negotiations that he is actively considering a French plan to extend a $15 billion credit line to the Iranians if Tehran comes back into compliance with the Obama-era nuclear deal.

Trump has in recent weeks shown openness to entertaining President Emmanuel Macron’s plan, according to four sources with knowledge of Trump’s conversations with the French leader.

Two of those sources said that State Department officials, including Secretary Mike Pompeo, are also open to weighing the French proposal, in which the Paris government would effectively ease the economic sanctions regime that the Trump administration has applied on Tehran for more than a year.

The deal put forward by France would compensate Iran for oil sales disrupted by American sanctions. A large portion of Iran’s economy relies on cash from oil sales. Most of that money is frozen in bank accounts across the globe.

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The $15 billion credit line would be guaranteed by Iranian oil. In exchange for the cash, Iran would have to come back into compliance with the nuclear accord it signed with the world’s major powers in 2015.

Tehran would also have to agree not to threaten the security of the Persian Gulf or to impede maritime navigation in the area. Lastly, Tehran would have to commit to regional Middle East talks in the future.

Let's be clear: At the end of May, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran was still in compliance with the deal. Iran has been in compliance all along. It was Trump who first threatened to break the deal.

The European Union urged Congress to preserve it. And then even though Iran was in compliance with the deal, and it was he who was threatening to break it, Trump also threatened to sanction European businesses that do business with Iran. And then Trump did break the deal. This was a crisis entirely of Trump's own making.

Iran's leaders are not nice, but they are smart. They saw what the Bush-Cheney administration did to Iraq. Saddam Hussein was not Iran’s friend. But he did give up his weapons of mass destruction, and Bush-Cheney took advantage of that. And like all aspirants to nuclear weapons, Iranian leaders understood that they were in a better position to bargain if they had nuclear weapons than if they left themselves open to being invaded and devastated for no reason, the way Iraq was.

So Iran ramped up the development of its nuclear weapons program, and then President Obama and the European Union made a deal with them to end that program. They abided by that deal, and then Trump broke it.

Republican presidents are dangerous to national and world security, but none more than Trump. By breaking the deal with Iran, Trump gave Iran the incentive to resume its arms program, which they have done. Which makes the world less safe. Because that's what Trump's ineptitude does: make the world less safe.

Trump's lickspittle Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was outraged that Iran was again ramping up its nuclear weapons program, never mind why. And with tensions again rising, Trump did what he always does on the world stage:

He got his ass kicked.

Now he's considering giving Iran $15 billion dollars in credit to get back in compliance with the deal with which it had always been in compliance—until Trump gave them the incentive not to be. That's Trump's artistry in making deals: getting his ass kicked.

North Korea also learned the lesson from the Bush-Cheney invasion of Iraq, and now has a rapidly developing nuclear weapons program. North Korea's despotic leader Kim Jong Un also wanted to use his weapons program as a bargaining chip to cut a deal with the economically developed world. 

He is smart where Trump is stupid, and realized that by flattering Trump, by pretending to like and respect him, he could have his way with Trump. And it worked.

Kim and his father and his grandfather always wanted to be taken seriously on the world stage. It would strengthen them at home. It would legitimize their tyrannous regime. And one big prize they'd always dreamed of attaining was a meeting with an American president.

It would make them look big. Every American president, Republican and Democrat, refused to give them that gift. But Kim played Trump for the deeply stupid man that he is and got that meeting.

Kim pretended that he might end his nuclear weapons program, and Republicans and some in the American media even hyperventilated when Kim said he'd like to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, as if Trump had attained something. 

They were as stupid as Trump, not understanding that denuclearizing the Korean peninsula would mean South Korea no longer was protected by the American nuclear umbrella. This would mean that North Korea's massive conventional military would have overwhelming superiority on the Korean peninsula. Kim went ahead and kept building his nuclear program, and then Trump met with him again.

Trump thought this was a great success, which it was—for Kim. And Trump again got nothing. Kim keeps developing his nuclear weapons program, because Trump got played again. Because Trump is a deeply stupid man who routinely gets his ass kicked on the world stage.

Trump wanted a trade war with China. Because he thought he could bluster and bully and get his way. But like the rest of the world, China is laughing at Trump, when they're not scratching their heads because Trump is so deeply stupid, and his administration so profoundly incompetent that China doesn't even know with whom to negotiate. But Trump got his trade war. Which he is losing. 

Because he is a deeply stupid man.

Trump's trade war already has cost 300,000 American jobs. And every time he opens his mouth about China, the American stock markets get spooked. And then after threatening to escalate his trade war, Trump backed down, and now desperately wants to find a way out of yet another crisis that is entirely of his own making. Because he has no idea what he’s doing. Because he is a deeply stupid man who routinely gets his ass kicked on the world stage.

This would be funny if it weren't so serious. Trump's trade war could devastate the American economy. A nuclear armed Iran would be bad for everyone. A North Korea that is ramping up its nuclear program is bad for everyone. And that the guy who sits at the big desk in the Oval Office is a deeply stupid man who routinely gets his ass kicked on the world stage also is bad for everyone.

Except for those foreign leaders who routinely kick his ass.