Two foreign policies 3

The US government has two foreign policies: one is President Trump’s, the other is Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s.

In the case of US policy towards Iran, for instance, President Trump abominates the “deal” Obama made with that evil regime and wants to tear it up, while the Secretary of State wants to preserve it.

The “deal” (it is not a treaty, it isn’t even signed by either side) requires the president of the United States to certify, every 90 days, that Iran is complying with it.

Iran is not complying with it.

Against his better judgment, for reasons we have to assume were sound at the time, President Trump has re-certified it twice. He must have done so with great reluctance, such a horrible thing it is, giving the America-hating mullahs the right to start building a nuclear arsenal in a few years from now. Under its cover, Iran isn’t even waiting the few years; it is working constantly towards its nuclear goal.

So President Trump cannot certify for a third time that it is in compliance.

And according to AP, he won’t.

AP reports:

President Donald Trump could announce his secret decision on the future of the Iran nuclear deal next week.

U.S. officials familiar with the president’s planning said Wednesday he is preparing to deliver an Iran policy speech in which he is expected to declare the landmark 2015 agreement contrary to America’s national security interests. …

Trump faces an Oct. 15 deadline to tell Congress if he believes Iran is complying with the seven-nation pact and if it advances US interests.

The president has called the 2015 deal, which forced Iran to scale back its nuclear program in exchange for broad relief from international economic sanctions, one of the nation’s “worst and most one-sided transactions” ever. But many of his top national security aides don’t want to dismantle the deal, and America’s European allies have lobbied the Trump administration heavily not to walk away from the agreement.

Even AP – which cannot conceal which of the two US foreign policies it favors – cannot claim more for the “deal” than that it “forced Iran to scale back its nuclear program”. But it is not scaling it back much, if at all. So much for the “forced”.

“We’re going to give him a couple of options of how to move forward to advance the important policy toward Iran,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters Wednesday. He said the Iran deal comprised “only a small part” of the government’s approach to Iran, a traditional US  adversary in the Middle East that Washington considers the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.

President Trump’s Secretary of State is going to give him, the president, a couple of options.

Tillerson will preserve the deal, but will do it in such a way that the president doesn’t lose face!

The Iran deal’s future may hinge on a face-saving fix for Trump so he doesn’t have to recertify the Islamic republic’s compliance every 90 days …

Several officials familiar with internal discussions say the periodic deadlines have become such a source of embarrassment for Trump that his aides are trying to find ways for him to stop signing off on the accord without scuttling it entirely.

So having to certify that Iran is in compliance when it isn’t, is only a source of embarrassment to President Trump? Not a lie to America and the world against his own will and principles? Those officials should not be in the White House or the State Department or wherever they are lurking!

Trump has said repeatedly that he doesn’t want to certify Iranian compliance again after having done so twice already, declaring last month he even had made his mind up about what he’ll do next. “Decertification” could lead Congress to reintroduce economic sanctions on Iran that were suspended under the deal. If that happens, Iran has threatened to walk away from the arrangement and restart activities that could take it closer to nuclear weapons.

That last sentence is one of many in the report which shows AP’s bias. A warning to the president. “Walk away from the deal?” It is walking away from it. “Closer to nuclear weapons”? It is close to them now.

The UN (along with Europe) is on the side of keeping the deal. Because (like Europe) it is on the side of Iran. Its International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has recently admitted that it cannot verify that Iran is implementing the most important part of the “deal”, Section T – the part that prohibits Iran from developing nuclear weapons for 10 to 15 years from the time the “deal” was agreed.

The plain fact is  that the IAEA is not just useless in keeping Iran from becoming a nuclear power, it is helping it on the excuse that if it asked for the permission of Iran to inspect its  military bases – which according to the stupid “deal” it must – it knows Iran will not give it. And that would confirm President  Trump’s criticism of the deal. “We just don’t want to give them [the US] an excuse” to “bring down the deal”, an IAEA official said.

Since the IAEA cannot inspect the sites, and so cannot say that Iran is not keeping to the “deal”, AP declares that the agency has found Iran in compliance:

Because the UN nuclear watchdog has found Iran in compliance, it’s difficult for the US administration to say otherwise. However, Trump and other officials, including Tillerson, have said Iran is violating the spirit of the agreement because of its testing of ballistic missiles, threats to US allies in the Middle East, and support for US-designated terrorist organizations and Syria’s government.

So Tillerson does at least admit that Iran is “violating the spirit of the agreement”.

But he and US Defense department officials, including the Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, still want to keep itSince the IAEA has not certified that Iran is in breach of it, they pretend that means it is not in breach of it.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that Iran “is not in material breach of the agreement”.

Why do they pretend this?  Because –

At the same hearing, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he believed the deal is still in the US national security interest.

For US officials involved in the decision-making process, the focus on finding a way for Trump to avoid anything looking like approval for the accord has become a source of frustration. Various options are in play to resolve the problem, but none are clean solutions, according to officials.

And they will  not consider simply accepting President Trumps wish to scrap the useless “accord”. So all their difficulties are of their own making – finding a way to implement their own policy rather than the president’s, while making the president think that they are implementing his!

The most likely strategy centers on Trump not certifying Iran’s compliance. Below the president, diplomats and officials would then strive to manage any fallout with Tehran and US allies by emphasizing that Washington isn’t leaving the deal or immediately applying new nuclear sanctions on Iran. After that, Trump wouldn’t have to address the certification matter again, officials said.

And as long as the issue doesn’t come before him for his signature, they can merrily proceed with their own plans?

Whether AP is aware of it or not, its report reveals a contempt for President Trump on the part of Tillerson and the generals. It suggests that they regard the president as so naive that he can be hoodwinked by a trick which removes the need for him to certify that Iran is keeping the deal, but yet preserves the deal

Mattis hinted his boss may try to decertify without breaking the deal.

His boss may try? He, Mattis – along with Tillerson – will try.

“You can talk about the conditions under one of those, and not walk away from the other,” he said.

While Mattis described the issues of certification and upholding the deal as “different pieces”, they overlap.

How can Iran’s breaking of the deal – which is what decertifying means – not cancel it? The breaking cannot just be a “different piece” which “overlaps” the deal as a whole. It is the essence of an agreement that it must be kept by both sides or it is invalidated. By a “different piece” they can only mean that the clause calling for certification is not the whole of the agreement. By saying it “overlaps” the clauses, they are tacitly acknowledging that declaring the agreement broken by Iran does affect the whole thing.

They are trying to preserve a broken deal!  Of course it’s a strain even on the skills of an equivocating diplomat to reconcile “broken” with “not so broken we have to discard it”.

Why are they straining to keep it?

In January, Tillerson must waive multiple sets of sanctions on Iran for the US to uphold its part of the deal. The issue of US national security interests is relevant to those decisions.

How “US national interests” are protected or advanced by the “deal” is not explained. It has never been explained.

Obama’s “deal” makes it possible for the belligerent, America-hating theocrats of Iran,  who believe absolutely in Shia Islam and its centuries-long ambition to subdue the world under Shia Muslim rule, to become a nuclear power. How is that in the interests of the United States?

President Trump sees that it is not. As AP itself reports: President Trump “is expected to declare the landmark 2015 agreement contrary to America’s national security interests”. 

May he do so! Then let’s see by what contorted argument the resistance within the administration tries to justify preserving the abominable “deal”.