[Between a Rock and a Hard Place] 04-10-18

In the coming weeks, I am going to experiment with a running column, which will then be incorporated as a side-bar feature.  It will work much better as a sidebar, but I want to try it out.

Trump's decision to annul Obama's Iran treaty is being attacked by the anti-American Left and by some people on the Anti-War.  Whether it was a good move or a bad one, none of us is in a position to say.  I would offer two things to keep in mind:

First, this is the Iranian government, which (with American assistance) overthrew the Shah and then, in defiance of every principle of international law, held Americans hostage.  The Iranian leadership at that time--and subsequently--has broken every promise and violated every norm of decency.  The government-engineered demonstrations that have taken place in recent days are all the proof one needs that the Iranian regime is not only evil but depraved.  Naturally, I am not suggesting that their mendacity, duplicity, and depravity justify American or Israeli aggression, only that we are dealing with a regime that should not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.  Of course there are similar regimes--in Pakistan and Israel--which shouldn't have them either, but that is another story.

Second, it is m0re than likely that Trump is using something like the carrot-and-stick diplomacy that has been so far successful with North Korea.  The Islamic fanatics of Iran are a tougher nut to crack than an aging and impoverished Communist regime, and the process of bringing them to their senses would--if that is the President's game--require more effort and finesse, but this much is certainly true:  The only rational argument that this Iranian regime will ever recognize is force majeure.

Let's be clear about this.  I don't support Trump's decision--nor do I necessarily oppose it.  I do think it may be worth a few minutes of thought to try to figure it out.

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Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

4 Responses

  1. Allen Wilson says:

    Maybe he’s just using the art of the deal? Of course Israeli influence may be affecting his moves.

  2. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Right on both counts!

  3. Khater M says:

    I might fall into the “anti-war” camp, but I certainly agree with all you say here. Good balanced prospective

  4. Jacob Johnson says:

    In the view of some commentators, the JCPA (Iran deal) was devised with the knowledge that the Iranians were working on weapons programs, and is a stop gap measure for the right time, namely when the Assad regime falls and thus reduces the retaliatory missile capacity from Syria. Maybe the timelines are being pushed too far, so tantrums are being had, and powerpoint presentations made.