FROM THE looks of things, Donald Trump’s legacy will be one of destruction. A man who rose to celebrity status in part due to television shows which portrayed him as a deal-maker has thus far distinguished himself as a deal-breaker in the most literal sense.
Trump has withdrawn the US from the Paris agreement; obliterated DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program; pulled his country out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership; expressed disdain for Nafta, the North American Free Trade Agreement; and now, in his most dangerous act yet, reneged on the Iran nuclear deal.
The flip-flopping by the US on that agreement, which is formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, now lays the groundwork for warfare in the Middle East and damages the ability of the US to achieve the diplomatic solutions that are now so urgently needed.
With each day, the world becomes a more dangerous day under Trump. The withdrawal of the US from the Iran deal has already triggered bitter recriminations in that country, with Iranian politicians burning the US flag in anger in their legislature. The resumption of sanctions can lead to the kind of economic isolation that simply makes Iran and the Middle East more dangerous, diminishes the quality of life of Iranians and creates room for extremism to breed. There will be a heavy price to pay.
In Trinidad and Tobago, we cannot simply dismiss all this by glibly relishing the prospect of a rise in oil prices due to renewed Middle East tensions. Not when our own nationals have been implicated in the rise of extremism in far-away lands and now pose very real threats to us at home. Trump must realise that by pulling out of the Iran deal he is signalling the word of a US president is not gold. North Korea will be looking on at this closely.
The US president is within his right to tear up whatever deals he likes. And if he has identified flaws, these should be addressed. But the thing is he’s not replacing these deals with anything better—as he has repeatedly promised to do. Worse, in some cases Trump is operating under falsehoods that simply pander to the prejudices of his supporters.
Take, for example, his claim that Iran has not been abiding by the deal. This is a falsehood as United Nations inspectors as well as American and international intelligence sources will attest. Instead, a desire to undermine the legacy of his predecessor Barack Obama, for whom the Iran accord was a signature diplomatic achievement, seems to be his only rationale. That alone speaks volumes.