Obama: Trump's decision to end Iran nuclear deal is 'a serious mistake'

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by SueEllenRules!, May 9, 2018.

  1. SueEllenRules!

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    Obama calls Trump's decision on Iran nuclear deal 'misguided'

    WASHINGTON, May 8 (Reuters) - Former U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, struck during Obama's presidency, was "misguided."

    "I believe that the decision to put the JCPOA at risk without any Iranian violation of the deal is a serious mistake," Obama said in a statement, referring to the acronym for the agreement worked out by the United States, five other world powers and Iran.

    Since leaving office in January 2017, Obama, a Democrat, has largely remained on the sidelines of the political debate, although he has criticized his Republican successor's efforts to undo some of his major policy achievements.

    He has condemned Trump for pulling out of the Paris climate accord and for ending a program that shielded from deportation immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children. He also spoke out against Trump's effort to unravel the Obamacare healthcare program.

    Obama said the Iran agreement significantly rolled back Tehran's nuclear program and was a model for a possible deal Trump hopes to negotiate with North Korea to eliminate Pyongyang's nuclear weapons.

    "That is why today’s announcement is so misguided," Obama said.

    "Walking away from the JCPOA turns our back on America’s closest allies, and an agreement that our country’s leading diplomats, scientists, and intelligence professionals negotiated," he said.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/worl...-misguided/ar-AAwYdMI?ocid=spartanntp&ffid=gz
     
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  2. SueEllenRules!

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    So Trump's idea of a successful presidency is undoing (or trying to) every policy achievement of his predecessor, especially since that predecessor was the bane of the Republican Party's existence, Obama? The Paris climate accord, DACA, Obamacare, and now the Iran nuclear deal. All arbitrarily ended and/or attacked with absolutely no alternate, superior plan proposed. Personally, I think he does a lot of this poo mostly because he gets some kind of perverse thrill from being an egomaniacal d!ck. Unfortunately, this time he's a dangerous egomaniacal d!ck.
     
  3. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing Soap Chat Champian

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    I agree. The world is a more dangerous place because of his decision. What is the point of having sanctions if when they achieve the objective, i.e., halt the Iranian nuclear arms programme, Trump withdraws from the agreement and re-imposes sanctions?
     
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  4. SueEllenRules!

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    “All Ego, Zero Strategy”: Has Trump Set the U.S. on a Path to War with Iran?
    In the murky aftermath of the president’s sledgehammering of Obama’s signature accomplishment are several possible paths forward—all of them dangerous.

    On Tuesday afternoon, Donald Trump announced, with deep breaths and discomfiting wheeziness, that he would be pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal that had been painstakingly forged by the administration of his predecessor, Barack Obama, and the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council—the U.K., Russia, France, and China—plus Germany and the European Union. The decision itself, implemented with Trump’s oversized signature and accompanied by his most presidential mug, was a foregone conclusion. “This was absolutely an inevitability,” said a current administration official. “The last time he re-certified, the president made clear that he would not do so again.” It was such a fait accompli that the story was soon overtaken in the cable-news vortex by the latest disclosure from Michael Avenatti in the enduring Michael Cohen saga.

    But there was also some mystery surrounding what might happen after Trump exited the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, followed by his martial national security adviser John Bolton. In the immediate aftermath, there were few clues as to what should come next, which was also not a surprise, given that Trump’s description of the Iran treaty’s faults was minimally articulate. It was, he declared, a “horrible one-sided deal”; “It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.” As one former State Department and National Security Council official who worked on the Iran negotiations characterized Trump’s stance toward Iran, “All ego, zero strategy.”

    The strategic consequences of Trump’s action, very much an afterthought up to now, are now coming into focus. Notably, the president doesn’t appear to grasp the position he has put our allies in. “Trump may have aimed at the Iranians, but he’s hit the Europeans,” a former senior U.S. official told me on Tuesday, hours after the president announced that the United States would pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. “It’s not only a challenge to the substance of what was agreed along with the French, Germans, and British—not to mention the Russians and the Chinese—but in addition, it’s a challenge to the way they work: they seek carefully crafted multilateral agreements through painstaking negotiations. We’ll see if that repudiation of form, as well as content, has repercussions elsewhere.”

    What comes next is murky—but the stakes are high. “Now we’ll have to see if the Europeans are able to convince the Iranians to keep the deal alive, despite the U.S.’s withdrawal,” the current administration official told me. But they cautioned, if the Europeans are unable to entice the Iranians to remain in the accord despite the U.S. exit, “We risk a new de-stabilizing crisis in the region.” There are three possibilities for how things may play out.

    I. The Europeans and Iran Stay In the Deal

    On the heels of Trump’s announcement, Europe was quick to telegraph its intention to uphold the Iran nuclear deal. In short, Europe won’t reinstate the sanctions on Iran waived under the agreement but will continue to enforce the constraints on Tehran intended to prevent it from achieving nuclear capability. “As long as Iran continues to implement its nuclear-related commitments, as it is doing so far, the European Union will remain committed to the continued, full, and effective implementation of the nuclear deal,” Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said Tuesday. French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and British Prime Minister Theresa May—the three of whom have spent months trying to convince Trump not to withdraw—echoed the sentiment in a joint statement.

    One foreign diplomat stressed to me on Tuesday that “Europe is united on this,” but another told me it is “hard to say how things are going to evolve.” Much of what comes next will depend on what Iran does. For now, it seems Tehran is staying in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the deal is formally titled, but its compliance is conditional. On Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said he would send Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom to discuss the U.S. withdrawal, but he warned that Iran could restart its nuclear program within weeks in response to what he views as a violation of the deal by the U.S. “If necessary, we can begin our industrial enrichment without any limitations,” Rouhani said. “Until implementation of this decision, we will wait for some weeks and will talk with our friends and allies and other signatories of the nuclear deal, who signed it and who will remain loyal to it. Everything depends on our national interests.” Zarif wrote on Twitter, “I’ll spearhead a diplomatic effort to examine whether remaining J.C.P.O.A. participants can ensure its full benefits for Iran. Outcome will determine our response.”

    Convincing the Iranians to remain in the J.C.P.O.A. will be a tough sell, especially as the economic relief that Iran has experienced since the deal was signed in 2015 falls short of the benefits they were promised. “The Europeans are invested in the deal but it remains to be seen if they, along with the Russians and the Chinese, can offer enough economic benefits to the Iranians that will enable them to rationalize keeping their commitments to the deal,” Suzanne DiMaggio, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, told me. John Glaser, the director of foreign-policy studies at the Cato Institute, said that Iran, in the immediate term, “will gladly play the role of victim, noting that the United States violated the agreement.” But Rouhani and Zarif could also turn the tables on the Trump administration, re-stating their commitments to the remaining parties to the deal, and thus isolating the United States. With the right series of moves, Iran could make Trump appear to be the noncompliant rogue power driving another wedge between the U.S. and its traditional allies.

    The administration, for its part, is hoping that Europe plays along. On Tuesday, Trump announced that the U.S. would begin “instituting the highest level of economic sanction” against Iran and that “any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States.” The Treasury Department will begin re-imposing nuclear-related sanctions on the Iranian regime gradually over the next 90 to 180 days. And on Twitter, Richard Grenell, the recently confirmed ambassador to Germany, issued an ominous warning to German companies operating in Iran:

    “As @realDonaldTrump said, US sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran’s economy. German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.”

    Whether Iran will stay in the deal is contingent on how effectively the remaining parties can insulate Iranian businesses against these sanctions. “This is untested territory, and it will be interesting to see how [the European Union] plays its position,” the former N.S.C. and State Department official told me. “They are not without leverage—since U.S. sanctions are only really effective with their cooperation, and they could push back on the U.S. given the bogus grounds on which it pulled out.”

    The incentive to skirt the impending U.S. sanctions is not just limited to Iran either. The total value of goods imported and exported to Iran from the European Union in 2017 was nearly $25 billion. But Ian Bremmer, the founder and president of political-consultancy Eurasia Group, stressed that this will be no easy feat. “It is really hard to do because a lot of European companies—even if the European Union tries to insulate them against American penalties—are going to say, ‘We can’t do this, we have to do business with the United States, do business with American banks, secondary sanctions are going to hit us, so, we have to stay out,’” he told me. “We have heard very clearly from Trump that they want to punish the Iranians for what’s an unacceptable deal, and that makes it really hard for the Europeans to keep doing business. The Russians and the Chinese will, but the Europeans won’t.”

    One congressional staffer provided a blunt assessment. “The U.S. financial system is the world’s biggest. There is not a chance that this deal can work without the U.S. acquiescing to it. It won’t work,” they told me.

    II. The U.S. Strikes a New Deal

    Bolton, on Tuesday, was euphoric. “We’re out of the deal. We’re out of the deal. We’re out of the deal,” the notorious hawk and cheerleader of regime change in Tehran said at a press conference on Tuesday. But he did not dismiss the premise that the United States would reach a deal with our European allies, Russia, and China to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear capability and address its de-stabilizing behavior in the Middle East. “He’s prepared to look at discussions on a much broader resolution of the malign behavior that we see from Iran,” Bolton said of the president. “We’ve been in discussions already with our allies on that. We’ll be continuing it beginning, literally, early tomorrow morning.”

    Bolton’s optimism, however, seems far-fetched to many. “I hold out a faint hope that after a couple of days of shock, POTUS will clarify that he only meant that we needed to improve the agreement,” a former senior State Department official told me. “In other words, treat this as shock therapy to jolt all parties into negotiating an improved deal. But I admit that is grasping at straws.”

    What a reconfigured deal would look like remains a mystery to the foreign-policy experts and diplomats I spoke with. “I think it is magical thinking,” the former N.S.C. and State Department official said in reference to the Trump administration getting its wish list for a new deal with Iran, which includes arresting Iran’s ballistic-missile program and ceasing its support for what the U.S. deems as terrorist and extremist organizations, among other things. “But even if that was achievable—not so much a nuclear deal as an entire bilateral relationship in one document—what is the point of violating the J.C.P.O.A. and releasing Iran from its obligations? Those involved in the deal have said it many times, but dealing with Iran’s de-stabilizing behavior is much better if we can do so without it being armed with nuclear weapons.”

    Some argue that Trump pulled out of the deal, despite not having an alternative to the J.C.P.O.A., to gain leverage over the Europeans and force them to come up with a solution, but whether this will work remains a question. “Trump may hope to use this time to frighten the Europeans into capitulating on his demands that they join the U.S. in imposing harsher terms on Iran under an expanded J.C.P.O.A.—though not one negotiated with Iran—and to address non-nuclear issues like ballistic missiles and support for proxies,” Glaser said. “By all accounts, Europe will not play along.”

    Others, however, doubt that the Trump administration is even interested in striking a deal. “Trump doesn’t seem to understand or simply doesn’t care to understand how difficult it has been to build and sustain a coordinated approach to address Iran’s nuclear program,” DiMaggio told me. “Instead, he’s keen to blow up years’ worth of diplomacy without offering a viable alternative. This rift in the transatlantic alliance won’t be easy to fix.”

    For the past three months, European allies have sought to come up with a solution that would appease Trump and keep Iran in the deal but their efforts have failed. “He’s been stringing everyone along about ‘fixes’ when we know he’s just always wanted out of the deal, facts aside,” a second congressional staffer told me. “Feels like we’ve seen that movie before and the question becomes, ‘Do we attempt to go down this path again, when we know he can get out of the deal, at any time, for any reason?’ It almost becomes a, ‘What’s the point?’—given how political and unpredictable this president is.”

    III. Iran Pulls Out of the Deal

    Within the diplomatic community, there is a fear that Trump’s decision will inevitably lead to Iran pulling out of the nuclear deal and racing to obtain a workable bomb. By reneging on the 2015 deal, some experts argue that Trump will have empowered Iranian hardliners and tanked any chance of implementing a broader framework to address Iran’s de-stabilizing behavior. “The hardliners in Iran that said from the beginning that the United States could not be trusted have just been proven right. Reformists who support diplomacy, like President Hassan Rouhani, have correspondingly taken a hit,” Glaser said. “That dynamic makes it somewhat unlikely that Iran continues to implement the stringent terms of the J.C.P.O.A., especially since they aren’t getting any of the economic benefit they were promised in return.” As Antony Blinken, who served as deputy national security adviser and deputy secretary of state under Obama, explained, that puts the U.S. on a collision course with Iran. It gives “Iranian hardliners the excuse to speed again toward the bomb, without a united, international coalition to oppose them, or inspectors to expose them,” Blinken told me.

    Bremmer agreed. “It just means that it is more likely that we see military strikes. I mean, the Israelis have already launched military strikes against the Iranians in Syria,” he told me. “They have told the Iranians that they find unacceptable their permanent presence there, the Iranians have not responded, and I am sure a part of the reason for that is that they don’t want to give the Americans any reason to leave the deal. Now that they have done so, I assume that the gloves are off for the Iranians, and it makes mutual military escalation between the Israelis and the Iranians much more likely, as well as the Iranians using their proxy, Hezbollah.”

    Whether mounting tensions between Israel and Iran lead to a broader war in the region is the trillion-dollar question hanging in the air in Washington, as America still grapples with the fallout from another disastrous, arguably unnecessary war in the Middle East. For supporters of the president’s decision, it feels like America is finally back in control of its destiny. “For the first time in a long time, America is driving events again,” the first congressional staffer told me, dismissing the premise that it was the Iran deal or war. Under Obama, they said, “it was America responding to our adversaries . . . it always felt very passive and we weren’t dictating the course of events.” Now, they added, “Everything is about, what will America do?” For the rest of the world, however, and for much of the foreign-policy establishment, there is a countervailing fear that as diplomacy breaks down, the Trump administration will have less leverage, and fewer good options, beyond the use of military force. “There is nothing strategic about the United States as an ally going forward,” Bremmer said. “That really hurts. That makes it much harder for allies to work with the United States in anything but a transactional way [and] really undermines American influence globally.”

    “All Ego, Zero Strategy”: Has Trump Set the U.S. on a Path to War with Iran? - Vanity Fair https://apple.news/A6456EzOSTaWalbujjFyqbg
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
  5. SueEllenRules!

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    Jimmy Carter calls Trump exit from Iran deal 'serious mistake'

    President Donald Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal is a "serious mistake," said former President Jimmy Carter in an interview with CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Wednesday.

    Trump announced Tuesday that he is walking away from the deal, which curbed Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. The decision, which Carter also referred to as "ill-advised," pits Trump against US allies, and leaves the future of the agreement under a cloud of uncertainty.

    In announcing his decision, Trump said he would initiate new sanctions on the regime, crippling the agreement negotiated by his predecessor, and he said any country that helps Iran obtain nuclear weapons would also be "strongly sanctioned."

    This "may be the worst mistake Trump has made so far," Carter said.

    "When a president signs an agreement, it should be binding on all his successors, unless the situation changes dramatically and it hasn't changed," he said. "Unfortunately, I think it signals a message to North Korea that if the United States signs an agreement, it may or may not be honored."

    Carter, who has previously negotiated with the North Korean leadership, spoke to Gupta before being honored at the Bill Foege Global Health Awards. Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter were being recognized for their contributions in combating the spread of neglected infectious diseases on a global scale.

    The awards are presented annually to recognize people and organizations who contribute to the progress of global health. Foege, the awards' namesake and a former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, worked on the successful campaign to eradicate smallpox in the 1970s.

    Carter's work in foreign affairs didn't end after his presidency.

    For decades, the Carter Center has worked with ministries of health in nations worldwide to track tropical disease cases and to help stop the spread of those diseases by providing health education and programs.

    In March, the Carter Center and MAP International worked with the Liberian Ministry of Health to form a new partnership to combat a growing mental health crisis in Liberia. Their efforts included providing neuropsychiatric medications and supplies to the country, where decades of civil war and the outbreak of Ebola have left behind psychological scars.

    Carter gave credit to his wife for the advances made in Liberia.

    "There's no doubt that the Liberians have responded well. We now have trained about 250 or more mental health technicians, and we have them scattered all over Liberia," he said.

    The Carter Center also has made progress in efforts to eradicate Guinea worm disease infections.

    So far this year, only one country, Chad, has confirmed human cases of Guinea worm disease in three people. For all of last year, there were 30 Guinea worm cases, evenly split between Chad and Ethiopia.

    Guinea worm disease is a parasitic infection spread through drinking water from ponds or other stagnant water containing Guinea worm larvae. In 1986, Guinea worm disease afflicted an estimated 3.5 million people a year in 21 countries across Africa and Asia.

    Carter often has said that his goal is to outlive Guinea worm.

    In the summer of 2015, Carter announced that he had been diagnosed with a deadly form of skin cancer called melanoma, which spread to his brain. He was treated with a combination of surgery, radiation, and immunotherapy -- and now he says he is doing well. He said his doctors have not used the word cure but say he is still in remission.

    "I still get a check-up every three months or so, brain scans and things like that, but so far the results have been good," Carter said.

    "I still hope to outlive the last Guinea worm," he said.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/worl...us-mistake/ar-AAx2ALp?ocid=spartandhp&ffid=gz
     
  6. SueEllenRules!

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    Trump is reportedly happy that 'egghead' experts are freaking out on CNN about the Iran deal
    • President Donald Trump is reportedly feeling good about his decision to withdraw the US from the Iran deal on Tuesday.
    • One reason is apparently that experts are freaking out about it on CNN.
    • The news website Axios reported that Trump is pleased with the move, and likes the largely negative reaction from prominent academics.
    • "POTUS ran against experts - the 'eggheads' - and believes that rebalancing our policies on trade, defense spending, security, etc., simply makes sense," a White House official told Axios.
    President Donald Trump is reportedly feeling good about his decision to withdraw the US from the Iran deal on Tuesday - because experts are freaking out about it on CNN.

    The Iran deal, developed over years by the Obama administration and signed in 2015, was very unpopular at the time.

    Trump spoke out against the deal on Twitter before he entered politics, and while campaigning for the presidency said he'd tear up the deal, which he described as the "worst ever."

    Since Trump took office, the deal became more popular as he more vocally opposed it. Experts in the arms control community widely supported the agreement, and John Kerry, Obama's former Secretary of State, met with Iranians despite having left office to advise them on the deal and to try to save it.

    Other deal architects, including Obama himself and his advisers Colin Kahl and Ben Rhodes have also bashed the decision.

    The news website Axios reported that Trump is pleased with the move, and the largely negative reaction by prominent academics.

    "POTUS ran against experts - the 'eggheads' - and believes that rebalancing our policies on trade, defense spending, security, etc., simply makes sense," a White House official told Axios.

    "The status quo itself is what the expert class got us, and isn't working," continued the source. "It's slow-walking a bomb in Tehran/Pyongyang, and steady decline vs. a cheating China."

    Trump "likes it when 'experts' are on CNN freaking out," the source said.

    After Trump's announcement CNN said that Trump had isolated himself from US allies.

    An analysis piece argued the move showed Trump's "political soul" and "a willingness to unleash the kind of chaos abroad he has fomented at home."

    Trump is reportedly happy that 'egghead' experts are freaking out on CNN about the Iran deal - Business Insider https://apple.news/AJeFq4osaTpOxZhUBqB1lgw
     
  7. SueEllenRules!

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    Trump is unraveling Obama's legacy
    — Letter to the editor, Chicago Tribune

    There is only one reason that President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Iran deal no matter how he tries to spin it. The sole reason is that President Barack Obama was instrumental in the Iran nuclear deal.

    Trump wants to pretend that Obama was never president of the United States. The Paris climate accord, the Iran nuclear agreement, Obamacare — anything that he had a hand in bringing into reality, Trump wants erased from our consciences.

    Well, sorry, but I will never forget the good that President Obama did and will, also, never forget the harm that President Trump is, and will be, causing in the world.

    — Marsha Lieberman, Chicago

    Trump is unraveling Obama's legacy - Chicago Tribune https://apple.news/AhdPMmbbDSYKt1YaUoYE5bQ
     

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