If warmongering were a sport, President Donald Trump would surely be world champion.
On Friday, the president will announce whether he will refuse to certify that Iran is complying with its side of the nuclear deal. If he chooses to go back on President Barack Obama’s historic initiative by decertifying the deal, he will be putting our security — and the security of other nations — in jeopardy out of sheer petulance. He will also be isolating America.
Is he ready to face the consequences if he puts America on a path to war?
According to Ilan Goldenberg and Mara Karlin, two former Pentagon officials who worked under Obama and President George W. Bush, the decision to strike a deal with Iran didn’t come easy.
Out of fears concerning the country’s potential for building a nuclear bomb, Obama and his officials figured out that the best way to secure peace and to ensure that Iran wouldn’t march toward obtaining nuclear weapons was to get the line of communication between Washington, D.C., and Tehran restored.
But if Trump decides to cut these lines once and for all, the former Pentagon officials explain, the U.S. will once again face the same question Obama faced, having to choose between the threat of war with a potentially nuclear Iran or give in and strike another deal.
But perhaps, what’s most concerning to some of America’s closest allies, such as Israel, is that if the deal is brought to an end, the country would be vulnerable and exposed to a nation that could toughen its anti-Israel stance.
Israel staunchly opposed the Iran deal, but now they could be faced with a crisis if the deal is cut.
According to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former Director of Communications Yoaz Hendel, the nuclear deal between America and Iran is bad, but still, “canceling the deal will mean that Iran will harden its position.”
“[Iran],” Hendel said, “wants to be the regional hegemon, and it will want to prove itself. And I mean that in the Middle Eastern sense — militarily — not using the graces of European diplomacy.”
So if Trump walks away, he concluded, “we’re back where we were in the old days, where the only way to change the regional situation is a military strike.”
By saying no to the deal in its present form, Trump could directly pit Iran and Israel against each other, starting a war in the Middle East that could even pit Russia against America, as Tehran and the Kremlin are political allies.
Trump, who once promised he did not want to get involved with Syria, perhaps out of fear of a major war with Russia, could be putting both powerful nations back at odds if he chooses to decertify the Iran deal.
Unfortunately, with a conservative base that is constantly calling for more wars, it’s likely that the president will choose to "wag the dog" and opt for warmongering instead of peace.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst