Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Pompeo’s Plan B On Iran: An Exercise In Futility

 

Lobelog

 

The scene at the Heritage Foundation today could have come from the film The Ugly American. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo devoted his first major foreign-policy speech—since assuming the office from his more affable, and certainly wiser, predecessor Rex Tillerson—to pouring venom on Iran and, in essence, declaring economic war by promising to “crush” Iran’s economy by imposing the “strongest sanctions in history.”

Pompeo’s speech might be music to leaders in Tel Aviv and Riyadh. But for the rest of international community it is emblematic of a deeply detested US administration that has a record of whimsically trashing international agreements without any qualms about damaging honor, credibility, and global image through such arbitrary exercises of American power. Frustrated by the tsunami of negative reactions worldwide to its decision to exit a verifiable international agreement that successfully curbed Iran’s nuclear program, the Donald Trump administration has now upped the ante by growing its list of demands from four to 12.

Pompeo has provided a political smokescreen for an undiplomatic path toward war with Iran by piling up arbitrary demands that amount to yet another technical violation of the nuclear agreement (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). Pompeo, who has a long track record of both Islamophobia and Iranophobia, accused Iran of seeking to dominate the Middle East and promised a firm American response, together with its regional allies. It is now perfectly clear that this administration has no diplomatic track with Iran and is simply bent on regime change, which will only wreak havoc on regional and global peace and stability.

Indeed, Pompeo’s incendiary speech against Iran revealed the preliminary outlines of a war strategy beginning with the necessary preliminaries of conflict escalation and continuing through the usual means of economic warfare. Behind Pompeo’s “12-point” demands from Iran is, perhaps, a hidden concern that the current Iran-Europe talks to save the JCPOA may actually yield positive results. Thus, the White House has tripled the number of items on its Iran list to make sure that no compromise can be reached and the US iron-fist approach toward Iran can proceed unimpeded. Meanwhile, Europe is openly criticizing the US for becoming “the gendarme of the world economy”—a new Rome that serves as the hegemonic center of a unipolar world order—and seeking to turn allies into “vassals” who slavishly follow Washington’s command.

Of course, since the world has evolved into a post-American-century multipolarism, it is futile for anyone in the US contemplating a return of the status quo. This is the major flaw in the administration’s hostile discourse on Iran: promising what it cannot possibly deliver. If anything, Europe is openly and legally questioning the new round of US sanctions, raising the distinct possibility that this attempt to resurrect the pre-JCPOA context of international and US-led sanctions regime against Iran will fail. Europe is now contemplating bypassing the US dollar by making direct oil payments to Iran through its own currency, the Euro, in addition to providing government-financed trade with Iran and initiating Iran projects through the European Investment Bank.

Given these challenges to the Trump administration’s promised sanctions, why is the US trying in vain to refocus European energy from cooperating with Iran to confronting the country? The straightforward answer to the above question is that the US is suffering from the delusions of a hegemonic power that can no longer impose its will on other nations yet refuses to acknowledge the new reality. It has now manufactured another unnecessary, destructive, and imprudent crisis with Iran, which is bound to bring a future clash between US and Iran to the detriment of world peace.

Kaveh L. Afrasiabi is a former adviser to Iran’s nuclear negotiation team and the author of several books on Iran’s foreign affairs.

 

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

The millionaire pastor of the Cornerstone Church in Texas, John Hagee argues that U.S. support for Israel will play a “a pivotal role in the second coming” of Jesus. He has also risen to new prominence during the Trump administration.


Michael Gerson, an evangelical Christian who served as a chief aide and speechwriter in the George W. Bush White House, is a conservative columnist for the Washington Post and one of Donald Trump’s harshest critics on the right, calling him an “unhinged president.”


Robert Kagan, a cofounder of the Project for the New American Century, is a neoconservative policy pundit and historian based at the Brookings Institution.


Mira Ricardel, former weapons marketer for Boeing, is the deputy national security adviser under John Bolton. She is a well-known foreign policy hawk who has served in key positions in the administration of George W. Bush and, earlier, in the office of former Senator Robert Dole (R-KS).


Fred Fleitz left his role as chief of staff at the National Security Council under John Bolton to succeed notorious Islamophobe Frank Gaffney as president and CEO of the Center for Security Policy.


Brian Hook is the director of policy planning and senior policy advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and is the head of the Iran Action Group.


Haim Saban is a media mogul and major donor to the Democratic Party known for his hardline stance on Israel and opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

U.S. supporters of Israel are in a bind: public opinion is changing; there are more actors publicly challenging Israel; and the crude, heavy-handed tactics they have successfully used in the past to silence criticism now only aggravate the situation.


As the civilian death toll from Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen grows and the backlash against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s role in Khashoggi’s murder escalates, former Sen. Norm Coleman’s control of Republican Party campaign purse strings positions him as a key influencer of Republican congressional action, or inaction, in curtailing the increasingly aggressive and reckless actions of Saudi Arabia.


Increasingly, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are positioned as rivals, each with pretensions to Middle Eastern influence or even hegemony. It’s not clear whether they can continue to coexist without one or the other—or both—backing down. This has made it more difficult for the United States to maintain its ties with both countries.


What does President Trump’s recent nomination of retired Army General John Abizaid to become the next U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia signify? Next to nothing — and arguably quite a lot.


The Donald Trump administration’s handling of nuclear negotiations with Saudi Arabia promises to lay bare some realities about security issues and nuclear programs in that part of the world that the administration has refused to acknowledge.


Eminent U.S. foreign policy expert Stephen Walt’s new book critique’s the “liberal hegemony” grand strategy that has dominated U.S. foreign policy since the end of the Cold War.


(Lobelog)  Retired Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz told LobeLog he will remain on the board of the Gatestone Institute, a right-wing think tank that receives money from Trump megadonors Robert and Rebekah Mercer and disseminates anti-Muslim and anti-refugee conspiracy theories. Last week, LobeLog reported that Dershowitz received $120,000 from the Gatestone Institute in 2017 and…


RightWeb
share