Jamal Hussain |
Donald Trump’s decision to unilaterally pull USA out of the Iran nuclear deal aka Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) has raised serious concerns among the other five members who had signed the accord along with USA in 2015 and a vast majority of the international community—but it was hardly surprising. The questions being raised among analysts and experts are; why the move and why now?
The why portion is relatively simpler to answer: because this was one of his campaign promises, as he blatantly and brazenly announced, Donald Trump does not renege on his promises (amazing, given his track record on broken promises galore). Additionally, this action would appeal to the powerful Jewish lobby in USA, such as the AIPAC, that could rope in the section of the American Jewish voters who had opposed his candidacy during the 2016 US Presidential election.
Read more: Trump walks out of ‘Iran Nuclear Deal’
The query why now raises a series of possibilities. Was it to remove the domestic furore being caused among his conservative supporters by the revelation of his alleged pay off to Stormy Daniels to remain silent about their one-night liaison? Or as the latest addition to Trump’s legal team Rudy Giuliani mentions there could be other Stormy Daniels paid off to keep quiet. While Trump’s moral turpitude might not negatively impact his diehard male supporters who voted for him despite his ethical weaknesses, in his conservative vote bank from the Christian belt of Middle America it could lead to major desertions.
A solid 81 percent of white evangelical Christians had voted for Trump in 2016. Sean Illing in his article appearing online in Vox dated Dec 12, 2017, titled “This is why evangelicals love Trump’s Israel policy” in Vox dated Dec 12 2017, quotes Elizabeth Oldmixon:
These are the folks who believe that there will be a millennium in the future, a golden age, where Christ reigns on Earth, [and] they believe that before Christ will return, there will be a tribulation where Christ defeats evil. There will be natural disasters and wars, and perhaps an Antichrist, as the book of Revelations notes. Then at the end of that period, the people of the Mosaic covenant, including the Jews, will convert. Then after their conversion, the great millennium starts.
The evangelists encourage the expansion of Israel to the Davidic Kingdom status which was promised by Christ, as they believe only then the condition as stated in the book of Revelation for the return of Christ would be in place. The Davidic Kingdom included the current state of Israel and Judea and Samaria (currently Palestinian West Bank, parts of Jordan and Syria). By displaying his tough stand against Iran, considered the principal hurdle against further expansion of Israel, Trump gambles the evangelical Christians who are generally orthodox in their belief would overlook his sexual shenanigans and he would not lose their support.
The midterm American election of 435 House and 34 Senate seats besides 36 state governors is due on November 6 2018, and the low approval rating of Donald Trump (still below 50 percent) is making the Republican candidates nervous. The Mueller inquiry is the sword of Domacles hanging over the Trump presidency. A guilty verdict about any Russian collusion with the Trump’s election team by itself may not be sufficient to remove Trump from the White House, given the constitutional protections the US President enjoys—an impeachment is a way to do so.
The comfortable majority the Republican Party enjoys both in the House and Senate protects Trump from any impeachment move by the Democrats unless the Republicans legislators in sufficient numbers join hands with the Democrats. If a positive Mueller report about a Russian collusion with the Trump election team surfaces, the public backlash against Trump would seriously jeopardize the chances of success of the Republican candidates in the midterm elections if they do not support the impeachment of their president—unless Trump achieves a spectacular foreign policy triumph.
North and South Korean peace initiative and the upcoming dialogue in June this year between Trump and Kim Jong Un of North Korea is already being touted as a major Trump foreign policy triumph, many even demanding his nomination for the next year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Imagine if his gamble of unilaterally pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal succeeds in humbling Iran, his domestic popularity would register a meteoric rise. Trump and his hawkish advisers have decided to pursue this very dangerous course even if the move runs the risk of destabilizing the current world order and seriously jeopardizing the US interests in the process.
Perhaps it is a combination of all the factors discussed even if there is a disagreement on their priority. The question about how this diabolical Trump move would plays out requires further deliberation.
Both Donald Trump the US President and Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister are in grave domestic trouble and need a near miracle to survive. In effect both are spoiling for a major military conflict with Iran and reneging on the Iran nuclear deal has raised the spectre of war with Iran. They hope Iran would react aggressively to the US blackmail that would provide the necessary casus belli to declare war against it.
Nothing galvanizes the domestic public to rally behind their respective governments like a war. Examined from this perspective there is a method to the madness in the almost insane decision by Trump exhorted by Netanyahu that could plunge the world into the third world war; or at the minimum engulf the remaining Middle Eastern countries into an armed conflict which would dwarf the current destruction being rained down upon Syria.
So what is the final conclusion on the question why and why now? Perhaps it is a combination of all the factors discussed even if there is a disagreement on their priority. The question about how this diabolical Trump move would plays out requires further deliberation.
Air Commodore (retd) Jamal Hussain has served in Pakistan Air Force from 1966 to 1997. He was awarded Sitara-e-Basalat for his services in the year 1982. He regularly contributes articles on defense-related issues in the Defence Journal from Pakistan, Probe Magazine (Dhaka – Bangladesh) and Dawn, The News, and The Nation English Dailies from Pakistan. He is the author of two books on ‘Air Power in South Asia’ and ‘Dynamics of Nuclear Weapons in South Asia’. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.