When all else fails with Donald Trump try flattery. That’s exactly what Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif did on Sunday. Because for Iran and North Korea that is, honestly, all that is left.
First it was North Korea, saying talks could resume but only if President Trump’s staff were no longer around.
This weekend Iran took to the airwaves with an interview on Trump’s favorite network, Fox, likely the only thing he’s allowed to watch along with CNN. Good cop/bad cop as it were.
Zarif made his way around the Sunday talk show circuit to make his case to the U.S. establishment. These appeals were to Trump himself to come out from behind his staff and broker honestly with both countries.
“They have all shown an interest in dragging the United States into a conflict. I do not believe that President Trump wants to do that, I believe President Trump ran on a campaign promise of not bringing the United States into another war. But I believe President Trump’s intention to put pressure, the policy of maximum pressure on Iran in order to bring Iran to its knees so that we would succumb to pressure, is doomed to failure.”IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER JAVAD ZARIF ON FOX NEWS SUNDAY
At the same time Iran and North Korea both understand that if Trump doesn’t do this they are moving on with their lives regardless of what the U.S. does next.
Russia is openly preparing for war if need be.
Since the beginning of the Trump administration there has been almost zero interaction between U.S. and Iranian foreign offices. The lack of diplomacy and professionalism of the Trump administration has been quite evident from the beginning.
Any attempt to engage in diplomacy was roundly rejected by Trump himself. Why do you think Rex Tillerson was fired? It wasn’t because he called Trump an “Idiot.” Though Rex was right about that.
He was fired because he actually engaged in diplomacy with both North Korea and in intervening to stop the Saudis from invading Qatar in 2017.
He was also a supporter of the JCPOA, knowing that that deal was as good as it would get until the U.S. stopped all regime change activities around the world. And that was the breaking point.
It was time for the neocons, specifically Sheldon Adelson, the Saudis and the UAE, to push for a new foreign policy. They had to stop Trump from making a deal of substance with North Korea because it would undermine the goal of destroying Iran.
Peace might have broken out in the Middle East and U.S. troops might have come home. The Horror. The Horror.
Remember North Korea and Iran are linked in the minds of the Israelis, Trump and the Neocons because of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
Iran just test-fired a Ballistic Missile capable of reaching Israel.They are also working with North Korea.Not much of an agreement we have!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
These are the most important 140 characters Donald Trump has written in the past two years. It underscores and puts paid why he is so dead set on pushing the situation with North Korea and Iran to its crisis point.
Readers of this blog know that myself and Halsey English have been saying for months that Iran and North Korea divided up their nuclear weapons ambitions between them. This way they could adhere to the letter of their international agreements while violating the spirit of them.
WHY TRUMP’S TWEET SIGNALS NUCLEAR END-GAME, 9/24/2017
Pompeo and Bolton were installed to rein in Trump and accelerate the antagonism of Iran on behalf of Israel. They were installed to scuttle Korean reunification and make unreasonable demands on every one of Israel’s enemies — Lebanon, Syria and Iran — to ensure non-compliance and justify sanctions.
This is why the JCPOA was the ‘worst deal ever.’ It didn’t preclude the outsourcing of the two halves of the nuclear weapon — the warhead developed by North Korea and the ballistic missile developed by Iran.
This is why Benjamin Netanyahu wants to cripple Iran’s ballistic missile program. And why he is so obsessed with ‘proving’ the Iranians are still making a warhead.
There is no solution to the intractable mess of this situation if the U.S. is dead set on unilateral ultimatums of the kind Bolton and Pompeo only seem capable of.
This is why it is so significant that first Kim Jong-un and now Javad Zarif are trying to cleave Trump away from his advisors handlers and appeal to him directly to de-escalate the situation.
Last week Kim sat down with Russian President Vladimir Putin and affirmed a close relationship while elevating Putin to that of equal partner in any future talks between the U.S. and North Korea.
Putin understands that North Korea would “rather eat dirt” than give up their nukes at this point. They know what happens to countries that negotiate with Americans like John Bolton.
Kim knows like Putin does that “Presidents change, policy doesn’t.” And the U.S. policy on subjugating its adversaries is not open for discussion.
So any agreement between Trump and Kim isn’t likely to last a decade. This is the consequence of Trump’s tearing up every treaty he can get his hands on he doesn’t like.
At some point, like it or not, you honor your agreements or accept that there are no deals possible.
Kim rightly refuses to be treated like an underling and now will only deal with other heads of state. Zarif knows that Trump watches Fox News and so does Fox’s executives who allowed this interview.
The fact that both Kim and Zarif have to go through these channels to get their message across is beyond embarrassing. And not for them.
They both come across here as statesmen while Pompeo continues to look like a buffoon, blundering his way around preparing the world for the Rapture he so clearly thinks is necessary.
Zarif understands that the moves made in the past couple of weeks by Trump through Bolton have the potential for outcomes Trump himself doesn’t want.
Trump wants to win the hand and get his Middle East deal of the century across the finish line. If Bolton has sold him on the notion that the only way to stop Iran and save Israel is to invade and destroy them then the die has been cast and we’d better get out the body counters.
As Scott Ritter points out in the American Conservative the move to nominate the IRGC as a ‘Foreign Terrorist Organization’ was a de facto declaration of war against Iran which makes thousands of U.S. troops vulnerable in Iraq and Syria where they fight side-by-side against ISIS.
It is well past time for Trump to decide who runs his administration and what his legacy is going to be. Zarif appealed to candidate Trump, a man no longer in existence, who sold his presidency to the neocons to stay in power back in 2017 when he doubled down in Afghanistan.
He’ll never have more political capital to break free of Bolton et.al. than he does now with RussiaGate over and the Democrats in disarray.
Too bad he’s such a coward he can’t see that.
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