Trump And Iran

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The US President Donald Trump’s threat to Iran has ratcheted up the tension between the two countries. After Iranian President Hassan Rouhani refered to ‘the mother of all wars,’ Trump warned of consequences such as ‘few throughout history have ever suffered’. Rouhani’s statement and Trump’s disproportionately more threatening response has underlined the prevailing fraught global state of affairs that could lead to disastrous consequences if it is not handled carefully. And the overriding reason for such a situation is the Trump’s mercurial and unorthodox style of working driven largely by the instrumental use of force than diplomacy. Earlier, Trump had unilaterally withdrawn the US from the 2015 Iran nuclear accord, and the US administration had later issued 12 demands for a new deal. Tehran swiftly rejected the terms, which included stopping support to groups of fighters in Iraq and Syria. Now the US is set to impose the “strongest sanctions in history” on Iran.

Earlier, Trump had issued similar dire threats to North Korea which included the use of nuclear weapons. But later on, the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to discuss the dismantling of its nuclear sites which led to his summit meeting with Trump. Ever since the two countries have taken steady steps towards normalization of their relationship.  Many analysts are wondering whether Trump was deploying a similar playbook in regard to Tehran. And whether there is a chance that this brinkmanship could pay off and we might even see a Trump-Rouhani summit in the near future. However, as of now, there is little that signals that such a turn of events is possible. Both sides have dug in their heels and stuck fast to their respective positions. 

One conclusion, however, that can’t be missed is the element of deep uncertainty in global affairs ushered in by Trump. In his time in power, the US has largely abdicated its global role, except in matters of protecting its own core interests. And this abdication has detrimentally impacted the world. One such negative fallout has been on the working of United Nations. The growing US  withdrawal from the world and its new found reluctance to put its weight and money behind the UN has reduced the profile and role of the world body in managing the global faultlines. This state of affairs portends a dangerous world. With an international oversight and the weakening of the global institutions, the countries around the world are getting away with the murder. As the only super power, the US should have ideally tried to regain its moral consciousness but this is something that seems unlikely to be the case under the Trump presidency but looked quite possible when his predeccessor Barack Obama signed the landmark Iran deal. The exclusive reliance on the force to manage the world is a dangerous strategy and if persisted could tip the world into turmoil.

In regard to Iran, the US under Trump has gone for an overreach. For one, it was the US which withdrew from the accord with Iran and now threatens the country with more sanctions. This approach towards the country will further destabilize the Middle East. The US thus needs to step back and take a recourse to diplomacy to resolve its issues with the countries. Its current foreign policy has brought the world to the edge of a deeper geo-political chaos.

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