Tom Friedman’s latest column obviously wasn’t fact-checked before it was published:
And then, a few weeks later, Trump ordered the killing of Suleimani, an action that required him to shift more troops into the region and tell Iraqis that we’re not leaving their territory, even though their Parliament voted to evict us. It also prompted Iran to restart its nuclear weapons program [bold mine-DL], which could well necessitate U.S. military action.
Friedman’s claim that Iran restarted a “nuclear weapons program” is completely false. That isn’t what the Iranian government did, and it is irresponsible to say this when it is clearly untrue. Iran has no nuclear weapons program, and it hasn’t had anything like that for more than sixteen years. The Iranian government took another step in reducing its compliance with the JCPOA in the days following the assassination, but contrary to other misleading headlines their government did not abandon the nuclear deal. Iran has not repudiated its commitment to keep its nuclear program peaceful, and it doesn’t help in reducing tensions to suggest that they have. Trump’s recent actions are reckless and dangerous, but it is wrong to say that those actions have caused Iran to start up a nuclear weapons program. That isn’t the case, and engaging in more threat inflation when tensions are already so high is foolish. Friedman is not the only one to make this blunder, but it is the sort of sloppy mistake we expect from him.
So, Trump wants to add Middle Eastern nations (so far unspecified) to NATO so that the alliance can be more involved in the region. We need another obligation to go to war there like a hole in the head. That’s very peculiar for a Putin marionette who supposedly dislikes NATO, which by the way has grown already during his tenure. One always proposes larger missions for useless organizations. Such is the incoherence we’ve come to expect for the 45th occupant of the White House.
According to Politico, Trump said to reporters while describing in a call with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg:
I think that NATO should be expanded, and we should include the Middle East. Absolutely … because this is an international problem…. And we can come home, or largely come home and use NATO. It’s an international problem. We caught ISIS. We did Europe a big favor.
One thing that becomes clear to me when I wander into the world, and the minds, of geopolitical professionals – government people – is how limited and linear their thinking seems to be.
When I do so, an internal distress signal starts beeping and won’t stop, especially when the issue under discussion is war and mass destruction, i.e., suicide by nukes, which has a freshly intense relevance these days as Team Trump plays war with Iran.
The question for me goes well beyond democracy – the right of the public to have a say in what "we" do as a nation – and penetrates the decision-making process itself and the prevailing definition of what matters . . . and what doesn’t. What doesn’t matter, apparently, is any awareness that we live in one world, connected at the core: that the problems confronting this planet transcend the fragmentary "interests" of single, sovereign entities, even if the primary interest is survival itself.
The European partners of the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal have handed a big gift to the neocons and warmongers, announcing that they have triggered a mechanism within the agreement that will effectively kill the agreement in weeks. So say goodbye to peace and trade and hello to war with Iran. On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
"It is, however, insane and intolerable that peace depends on the restraint of the Islamic Republic and an American president given to rage-tweeting war-crime threats," the Cato Institute’s Gene Healy, who studies presidential power, writes in "Trump the Decider."
"No one fallible human being should be entrusted with the war powers now vested in the presidency. Now, more than ever, Congress needs to do everything in its power to reclaim its authority over war and peace."