Are Israeli interests trumping those of America yet again?
The decision to bust up the Iran nuclear deal has as little to do with Donald Trump as the meaningless arm-waving antics of a puppet. It is of course the puppet master who is responsible and, in this case, it was purely the government of Israel which was pulling the strings.
This 180-degree reversal of official US policy amounts to an incredible victory for a foreign power.
Let us recall that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was negotiated in 2015 with the backing of the entire US civil and military bureaucracy as well as large corporate business interests.
Obama never took any action which went outside the consensus of the national security establishment which indicates that the Iran agreement was considered to be in the greater interest of the US. All the major world powers signed on as well.
A popular deal
Despite fierce resistance from Republicans in congress, responding to tens of millions of dollars spent by the pro-Israel lobby, the deal could not be voted down.
Even Netanyahu’s outrageous bypassing of the US Executive Branch in order to take his message direct to the legislative did not sway the American government or the American public (which has remained, by and large, supportive of the deal, with the latest polls showing a 63% positive rating at the very moment Trump was pulling out).
After such a bruising fight everyone thought, in 2015, that it was a done deal and that Israel would accept the outcome gracefully. A massive sweetener was offered in the form of pledge of $30 billion in aid to Israel over 10 years. Israel quickly pocketed the pledge of money but set out, nevertheless, on a lone battle to unravel the JCPOA.
Only now do we see how complex and persistent has the campaign conducted by Israel been since then to achieve its objective.
We can suspect that it was not so much the Russians but the Israelis who was the “foreign power” that played a behind-the-scenes role in getting Donald Trump elected, on condition that he would faithfully toe the line when it came to pursuing Israeli strategic choices (as has also been shown by the unwise decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem -- which was never an American state priority however much it may have been an Israeli one).
Leaving the JCPOA is not a neutral choice for the US. Big companies such as Boeing and General Electric were expecting to sell aircraft and heavy machinery worth more than $40bn to Iran. These orders will now have to be scrapped, along with potentially tens of thousands of high-paying jobs -- so much for Trump’s promises to his base which helped him get elected.
Two other fundamental risks to US positions have now emerged. Scuttling the Iran deal has immediately driven a wedge between America and its closest global allies France, Germany, and the UK by placing huge untimely costs on them, in terms of loss of trading and investment opportunities in Iran.
Furthermore, the European and other international powers are being threatened that the world financial system -- which is currently managed by the US -- will be used against them if they do not obey what the US government dictates (which in practice today means what the Israeli government dictates).
No self-respecting nation can tolerate remaining indefinitely under such a menace. This will force the countries of the world, including the US’s indispensable strategic allies, to re-set the financial system so that it can no longer be controlled by US financial institutions.
This means that one of the greatest, carefully nurtured, advantages that the American economy enjoys will surely be dismantled over the next few years by other countries acting together.
These two set-backs transcend, by far, all issues relating to the Iran nuclear deal. No responsible US government would undermine its own hard-won structural strengths. However, to an “offshore government,” these looming disasters are of no consequence. By working through a venal and weak US president, Israel appears to have systematically thwarted a range of basic American strategic and economic interests.
The funny thing is that leaving the JCPOA is not in Israel’s objective interests either, as was spelled out recently by the nation’s leading retired security officials.
The more enlightened sections of the Israeli populace are also opposed to such reckless overreaching. It seems, as if, the present Israeli government took this drastic step simply because it could not tolerate any US action in the Middle East which did not have its approval.
A troubling prospect
The slightest sign that the US was trying to stake out an independent position was too much to bear, and nothing was considered beyond the pale for Israel to get its way. It has now been confirmed that Israeli black operatives went to the extent of targeting US government officials who were thought to be pro-JCPOA. Who knows what other pressures may have been exerted or enticements proffered?
Netanyahu’s track record of involvement in personal bribery does not inspire confidence. A man such as John Bolton, who should have been driven out of Washington DC forever for the dishonest role he played in bringing about the disastrous Iraq War (the Israeli objective at the time) is, once again, in a position to manipulate the levers of power so as to carry out exactly the same pro-Israeli role.
Perhaps this interpretation is baseless and everything that has happened was simply uncoordinated.
Nevertheless, the American people and its governing classes must wake up to the scandalous possibility that a foreign nation has worked on its soil, using the most underhanded tactics, to impose its own policies on their country.
They must launch an in-depth investigation on whether a potentially treasonous anti-national coup was pulled off. Is it conceivable that matters of state were decided on the basis of monetary or business handouts?
The resources of the FBI, CIA, NSA, DIA, IRS, and every other agency concerned must be deployed because the stakes for the American polity are very high -- and likely to get higher if nothing is done to arrest any takeover of the governmental machinery of the US an alien authority.
Rafiqullah Bhuyian is a retired, occasional contributor.