Trump Pushes His Destructive Iran Policy at the UN

Originally appeared on The American Conservative.

Aside from being laughed at by the audience, Trump achieved very little in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly today. The president talked a lot about the importance of sovereignty, and then called on the rest of the world to gang up on Iran to infringe on their sovereignty. It is nothing new for hard-liners to treat the sovereignty of their country as sacrosanct at the same time that they routinely violate the sovereignty of other states, but Trump made a point of boasting about this double standard before the entire world.

There was also the usual hypocritical denunciation of Iranian behavior that we have come to expect in these speeches:

“Iran’s leaders sow chaos, death and destruction,” Trump said in his address. “They do not respect their neighbors or borders or the sovereign rights of nations.

Other governments would have more reason to use those descriptions for the behavior of our government in the Middle East over the last thirty years. Iran has pursued destructive policies during the same period, but the same could be said of several U.S. clients as well. Trump refers to Iran’s “agenda of aggression and expansion,” which would much more accurately describe the actions of the Saudis and Emiratis. The president had the gall to praise the Saudis and Emiratis for their humanitarian assistance to Yemen when it is their U.S.-backed bombing campaign and blockade that created the catastrophe that threatens to claim millions of lives. Trump ignores the latter because the US is aiding and abetting the coalition in its war crimes and shares responsibility for creating the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. The Saudi coalition’s leaders and our political leaders are just as guilty of sowing death and destruction, and in Yemen they are doing so on a massive scale.

Trump asserted that “so many countries in the Middle East strongly supported at my decision to withdraw the United States from the horrible 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimpose nuclear sanctions,” but in fact only a handful of countries including Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE supported this decision. Almost all other countries in the region and the world consider the reimposition of nuclear sanctions to be illegitimate and unjustified because Iran continues to be comply with the JCPOA. Many of Iran’s immediate neighbors are being negatively affected by the sanctions.

Iraq desperately needs to be exempted from these sanctions because its economy is intertwined with that of its neighbor. Trump’s decision is not popular there, and the sanctions are already causing hardship. The same is true for Afghanistan. Turkey has made it clear that they won’t go along with the US effort to cut off Iran’s oil exports.

The reimposition of sanctions not only hurts the Iranian people, but imposes significant costs on the populations of neighboring countries as well. Trump’s Iran policy is inflicting harm on the entire region, and it is stoking greater resentment against the US It is Trump’s effort to strangle Iran’s economy that threatens and harms Iran’s neighbors more than anything that Iran is currently doing.

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and is a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Dallas. Follow him on Twitter. This article is reprinted from The American Conservative with permission.

8 thoughts on “Trump Pushes His Destructive Iran Policy at the UN”

  1. How do you know when Trump is lying?
    He has his mouth open.
    When I look at US foreign policy, it generally consists of holding others to far greater scrutiny and far harsher expectation than the US would see aimed at itself.
    It also applies to the client/puppet states of the US.

  2. But the author knows we are an exceptional nation, THE indispensable nation. When we (or our buddies, who are exceptional by inference) do it, it’s right and proper. When others do it, to a much lesser degree yet, it is an incredible affront to civilization itself. ‘T has always been thus …

  3. It’s well and good to acknowledge American laughing stocks like Trump,
    Nikki Haley, John Bolton, etc. but the fuckers have Nuclear weapons and
    the largest military on the planet!
    And as the infamous GW Bush regime stated: “they make their own reality”!
    These are dark days for the majority of the worlds peace loving citizens and there is no end in sight of American hubris.
    Go back to the year 2000 and try to imagine Russia as being the voice of reason in a world of Nuclear armed morons!

    As we all laugh at America and its obvious lies and Warhawks pray to
    whatever gods you can that WW3 isn’t the end result of the American
    decline!

    1. What prominent US diplomats, advisers, and politicians aren’t laughing stocks? Trump might have deflated tensions between Israel and Iran, no war thusfar, so good might have resulted.

      Technology improves as man becomes ever less suited to wield it. It’s all downhill after Trump.

      Regarding “making one’s own reality”, how is that any different from Obama supporting terrorists, backing a coup in Ukraine, or abusing drones? Do you believe the justifications were legitimate? It’s all downhill after Trump.

  4. President Trump and Secretary Mattis are more inclined to a peaceful resolution, renegotiating the nuclear deal and not going to war. However, Secretary Pompeo, Vice President Pence, National Security Adviser Bolton, CIA Director Haspel and Senior Adviser Kushner are far more hawkish and very well may dictate policy, continuing the longstanding US-UK-Israeli mission to spread massive death, destruction, poverty, chaos, anarchy and irredentism across North Africa and the Middle East until only Israel and Saudi Arabia remain as viable states. They seem totally unconcerned that their neoconservative warmongering might very well lead to World War III, pitting Iran, Syria, Russia and probably China against the US, UK and Israel. The US’s putative allies in NATO (other than the UK) and West Asia are more likely to sit it out than to join what’s sure to be the losing side in a long, bloody and horrendously expensive war. Let’s hope that cool head, morality, international law and enlightened self interest hold sway.

    1. How is “re-negotiating the nuclear deal” a “peaceful resolution?”

      For years, the US made demands of Iran for a deal and every time Iran agreed the US said oh, wait, sorry, no, we have to have more. And then Iran would agree again, and again the US would go oh, wait, sorry, no, we have to have more.

      Then when the US finally stops saying oh, wait, sorry, no, we have to have more, and a deal gets done, not just with the US and Iran but with five other major powers, and then codified as a UN Security Council resolution binding on all UN member states, with Iran giving up a nuclear program it didn’t even actually have in the first place for the privilege of getting some of its own stolen money back and not being sanctioned, two years later here comes Trump with oh, wait, sorry, no, we have to have more.

      Too late. Unless the US withdraws from the UN, it is still a party to the deal, there’s nothing to “renegotiate,” and even if there was Trump has already proven that the US can’t be trusted to abide by a “renegotiated” deal even if it got one.

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