May 9, 2018

Trump's Iran dice roll

One thing is certain about president Trump's ending of the Iran Nuclear Deal - if Iran does develop nuclear weapons it will now be blamed on president Trump.  The media was gushing with praise when president Obama signed the flawed deal.  There will be no accountability applied to Obama or his administration, despite the fact that there were virtually no concessions from Iran and that they clearly continued to work on the development of nuclear weapons capabilities in the face of the deal.

President Trump is tearing up a bad deal but he has not as of yet offered a specific alternative other than very tough sanctions.  That is not to say they do not have specific plans.  This will at a minimum slow the pace of Iranian nuclear development, despite European insistence that the deal was good and they want to continue to support it's components.  The problem for the president is political and that's where he is rolling the dice.  If Iran does develop a nuclear weapon, now or even in 2035,  this can now be positioned as a failure for the president. Given the unfair coverage he's received in the media it doesn't matter that president Obama gave Iran carte blanche to continue development, it will be president Trump's fault should Iran announce they have developed nuclear weapons capabilities.  

There are 3 reasons for that

(1) it will have happened on his watch, therefore
(2) his removal of the deal will look like it precipitated Iranian resumption of nuclear development and,
 (3) the mainstream media hate the president and will gleefully pin anything on him that they can, even when facts do not support their claims.

But this has likely already part of the president's calculus.  It's not as simple as him 'appeasing his base'.  The president has already entered a few negotiations with a tough initial stance. NAFTA is being re-aligned to work for the U.S. not just Mexico and Canada.  North Korea, has offered to cease nuclear development and even agreed to sign a peace treaty with South Korea.  A trade war with China seemed to loom due to tariffs but suddenly seems to have stalled, as no doubt real negotiations have started.  The president has already proven to astute observers, that he is a shrewd bargainer/negotiator.

The president has also already dramatically strengthened relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia, both regional powers who hope to see Iran geo-politically restrained. The president unlike his predecessor does not seek consensus with his enemies but rather with allies and partners.  The approach, much to the chagrin of the left, is working quite well so far.

As a side benefit, with Iranian oil being removed from global markets, or at least American markets, oil prices speculatively slumped yesterday.  That's just in time for the summer driving season and that deflationary pressure even if only temporary has a positive pocketbook impact for American consumers.  As America evolves as an energy superpower under president Trump's watch, it can only help him politically, even if the media refuses to attribute that to him.  Granted it may be a modest benefit to the president, but it will not hurt him.  It may offset a little bit the deluge of the mainstream media's aghast horror that yet another Obama 'accomplishment' is being undone by common sense.
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