Published On: Fri, Jun 1st, 2018

Iran, Jerusalem, North Korea and the U.S clay – foot

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By Charles Onunaiju

Swashbuckling and stumbling recently, the United States has been drifting and rolling without gathering any moss on the international circuit. From tearing down an internationally acclaimed and duly negotiated deal over Iran Nuclear programme, to stirring up international retributions for the needless transfer of U.S embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem and now cancelling the over-hyped summit between the U.S and North Korean leader earlier scheduled for 12 June, in Singapore, President Trump’s Washington has plunged into atrophy but not without the revisionist chest thumping of America’s first rhetoric. It has now appeared that the haranguing clouds of surreal ideological bigotry have significantly coloured the U.S retreat from serious and meaningful international engagement.
The Joint comprehensive plan of Action (JCPOA) negotiated and agreed in 2015 as the foremost international mechanism to keep Iran’s nuclear program from any prospect of weaponization and also allow Iran, a normal international intercourse with removal of sanctions, were widely recognized as running its course smoothly, with Tehran keeping to its end of the bargain. The trouble even for the United States is that the Trump administration, even before Mr. Trump took office has disparaged the deal as “horrible” and “the worst ever.” A journalist, who interviewed Mr. Trump on the day the deal was signed, remembered recently, how he denounced it without seeing the document, let alone reading and understanding its contents. Mr. Trump’s evident bias against the Iran’s nuclear deal is more ideological than the deal’s practical purpose of deterring nuclear proliferation.
In tearing down the deal recently, he invoked the familiar mantra of regime change, believing in the discredited and bankrupt neo-conservative ideological delusions that ever more earth-scorching squeeze of the Tehran will trigger a popular domestic revolt that will overthrow the Iranian regime.
However, far less worried at Washington’s bellicosity as it was largely expected, Iran has now turned the heat on the international community especially U.S ally, the European Union to show course why they should deserve the respect of multilateral engagement.
Earlier attempts by Europe major countries- Germany, France and Britain to persuade Mr. Trump to stay in the deal was contemptuously rebuffed. Europe is vowing to stay the course of the deal, a trend that might turn the U.S into an isolated ass-hole, if the staunch pronouncements from European capitals are any meaningful guide. Iran takes the global shine of an international respecter of rules and for circulating around major global capitals, Iran’s foreign minister Mr Javid garners goodwill and assurance that increasingly make the U.S wish for Iran’s isolation look ever more forlorn. From the Iran’s nuclear deal fiasco, Mr Trump stumbled into an intractable Mideast conflict of the Palestinian and Israel face-off with a thoroughly unhelpful escalation.
Despite the nominal and largely symbolic gesture of several embassies operating from Tel-Aviv in Israel, the Israeli government conducts its administration and international engagement in Jerusalem. For all intents and purpose, Jerusalem which is sensitive to the final settlement of the conflict between the Israeli and Palestinians have been the putative capital of Israel but without much of international recognition. It is basically symbolic and does nothing to stop Israeli government from conducting its affairs in Jerusalem. So in moving the U.S embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem, the Trump administration achieved nothing except to instigate international provocations and outrage, something that appear now to be the only standard measure of the success of Mr. Trump’s agenda. Apart from its value in reinforcing President Trump’s ideological intransigence and bizarre new politics, there is nothing in the relocation of the U.S embassy to Jerusalem that will add value to its work or detract from the U.S long-standing Pro-Israel policy in the region. Choosing the 70th anniversary of the creation of Israel for the which the Palestinians marks as the origin of their national catastrophe of dispossession and expulsion, President Trump symbolic relocation of U.S embassy to Jerusalem only damaged U.S long-standing, though, largely questionable status of an impartial mediator in that persistent conflict. Again, the U.S took a course that seriously undermined the substance of her key transatlantic alliance which left Europeans flushed, at the ruthless deconstruction of their strategic platform. For a world struggling to come to terms with Mr. Trump’s implacable hostility to the Iran nuclear deal, the Jerusalem edition of the Washington solo orchestra gave up any hope that the U.S under Mr. Trump can be taken serious as an international partner.
Now the over-hyped US and North Korea’s summit that is expected to bring President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-Un face to face is dependent on the changing mode of the U.S leader. A meeting that has already been set for the 12th of June in Singapore, President Trump suddenly announced that it is no longer going to hold as scheduled, claiming that intemperate rhetoric from Pyongyang was the culprit and even added that China’s unseen hand is helping to scuttle the process. This is not withstanding that his National security adviser, Mr. John Bolton first threw Washington’s hat in the ring for provocative banters.
Mr. Bolton, an un-reconstructed ideologue far behind the contemporary trend of emerging multi-polarism has interjected that North Korea would be served better with the Libya,s treatment, a tease reference to the former Libyan strongman, Col. Gaddafi who dismantled his rudimentary nuclear programme only to be violently toppled and assassinated by the Washington-led NATO military alliance. His view was reinforced by Vice President Mike Pence, whom the North Koreans called “political-dummy”, and warned that any comparison with Libya is a function of U.S naivety. Pyongyang made clear that unlike Libya’s rudimentary nuclear programme that never really took off, North Korea is already established nuclear power that can cause the United States to experience a kind of pain, it has never imagined. However, to demonstrate a commitment to talks though, without “begging” the U.S for talks, North Korea went ahead to destroy its nuclear test sites as it has earlier scheduled.
But following the visit of South Korea’s President Mr. Moon Jae-In to Washington and a summit he held with Mr. Kim Jong-un, President trump has suddenly reinstated the June 12, Singapore summit between him and Chairman Kim.
This is however, the measure of Chaos and confusion that the Trump’s Washington spews, triggering speculations that the sole hyper-power is on desperate meltdown.
If eventually the June summit in Singapore happens, given the recent track record of Washington, it will mean nothing to the world except that Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim met and greeted.
From sacking his emissary to Africa while still airborne in obvious contempt to the Continent that welcomed his former secretary of state, Mr. Tillerson with open arms, to the half-hearted trade war with China, to snubbing longstanding European allies, and to the elaborate Washington’s theater of dragging Russia to its internal election headache, the United State is proving a nominal bystander and heavily clay-footed to the powerful current of forces that is re-shaping and re-configuring the international system and energizing it in the direction of a community of shared future for all mankind.

Mr. Onunaiju, is director, Centre for China Studies, (CSS) Abuja.

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