NEWS & VIEWS
PRESIDENT Donald Trump is going ahead with the policies he promised during election and before taking office. He believes that agreement with Iran during Obama’s presidency has fundamental flaws: it does not address Iran’s ballistic missile programme or its regional “expansion” policy, and does not prevent its acquisition of nuclear capability at some point down the road. Last week, he withdrew from the deal with Iran and announced revival of sanctions against Iran. He made this move despite the fact that the IAEA, the UN agency that monitors nuclear compliance claimed Tehran so far complied with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Tehran had previously warned it could go back to enriching uranium the way it did before the agreement was signed, if Washington pulled out. Tehran is weighing its options, as other parties to JCPOA vis-à-vis Britain, Germany and France have regretted the decision.
The EU declared that it would remain a party to the JCPOA, but National Security Adviser John Bolton warned the Europeans that any of their companies that are doing business in Iran have just six months to wind down their operations otherwise they would face US sanctions. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed his deep concern along with America’s closest allies, such as Australia and Japan. Turkey also disapproves of the move. Moscow has expressed its disappointment at the US decision, noting that this unilateral action constitutes a breach of international law. China has joined Russia in reaffirming its own commitment to the JCPOA. European countries remember that the US had attacked Iraq with the support of Coalition of the Willing and lied that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, as those weapons including Uranium imported from Nigeria were never found.
By withdrawing from the deal with Iran, what message the US has given to the North Korea; and whether North Korea would trust any agreements it might reach with the United States? Anyhow, it is yet to be seen what transpires in meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on 12th June 2018 in Singapore. It is not difficult to reach the conclusion that the US has had always double standards – one for the Muslim countries and the other one for rest of the world. Iran is being pushed against the wall because it is an Islamic country, whereas Trump has chosen a different course for North Korea. Even America’s attitude towards Pakistan is reflective of the fact that it cannot digest a Muslim country having nuclear capability. Anyhow, EU, Russia, China and other countries feel that the US action would force Iran to resume uranium enrichment, and the US would then resort to military action.
America’s friends and allies are wary of Trump’s policies. Washington has already made unilateral decisions to leave the Paris climate accord and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) without any deference to the opinions of anyone else including its best friends. NAFTA and the trade agreements with China are to be either renegotiated on America’s terms or canceled. One would not know whether European countries would pressurize the US to abandon such policies that are fraught with serious dangers. In Syria, the US-led SDF is ramping up its operations to create further chaos. With the deal with Iran torn up, the scenario and consequences of that conflict can be predicted and described as horrendous. According to Trump’s watchers and analysts, a short victorious war is exactly what is required to boost the US president’s approval ratings and improve the Republicans’ chances before the November 2018 mid-term elections.
In his inaugural speech after taking oath, Donald Trump had said: “From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first. For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries, while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military. We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own.” Furthermore, President Trump and his trade team are set on a path of protectionism and economic nationalism. Meanwhile, the United States has imposed travel restrictions on Pakistani diplomats. Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Aizaz Chaudhry said. “In my opinion, this is not the right decision. Both countries have to come close to each other, and measures like these do not help us to that end.” Pakistani diplomats previously were allowed to travel throughout the United States without limits.
In a quid pro quo, Pakistani authorities have imposed restrictions on the movement of US diplomats in the country. The move comes after the US required Pakistani diplomats to get permission five days in advance to travel more than 25 miles from their embassy. The measures are likely to strain ties between the two sides. It was unclear what prompted the moves but the developments come weeks after Pakistan barred a US diplomat from leaving the country after he killed a Pakistani motorcyclist in Islamabad. US military attaché Col Joseph Emanuel Hall was not arrested because he enjoyed diplomatic immunity; however, he is accused of crossing a red light and killing Pakistani citizen Ateeq Baig on April 07. Last week, the US has sent a plane to get Col Joseph, who was stopped by FIA from boarding the plane.
—The writer is a senior journalist based in Lahore.