When it comes to changing jobs, homes, or social circles, I have a rule: Don’t just run away from something bad — run toward something better. A more promising profession. A more welcoming domicile. Friendlier friends. Sure, it’s fun in a fit of pique to storm off, but that strategy — say after an argument with your spouse — can leave you roaming around at night with no car, no wallet and nowhere to go. So like I said, head toward something, not just away from something else.
I mention this because President Trump is heading strongly away from the Iran nuclear deal set up under President Obama; you know, the one in which Iran agreed to stop its nuclear development program in exchange for the U.S. and its allies dropping economic sanctions. Trump never liked the plan. He said it was poorly designed, one-sided and not good for American interests. “This disastrous deal gave this regime — and it’s a regime of great terror — many billions of dollars,” he declared. Harrumph.
He has promised for some time that this move was coming, so it was no surprise. And yes, presidents have that prerogative. They can trash the policies of their predecessors. What is unclear, however, is what allegedly better plan Trump has in mind.
While American allies have erupted with concern over the potential fallout over abandoning the old deal, Team Trump has offered precious few details into how a new one might be reached. The administration has suggested in a vague sense that fresh economic sanctions will pressure the Iranians to return to negotiations, but many foreign affairs analysts are skeptical. A new deal, they say, would require buy-in from many other countries, which seems unlikely considering how hard it was to get them to the table the first time. And, in any event, it would need Iranian agreement and why would they offer it after Trump just spiked the deal they already had?
Again, the president can do what he wants and lead where he pleases, but on the Iran deal, it is not at all clear where he is going — or if even he knows.