In what can only be described as sheer arrogance, on Tuesday May 9, US President Donald Trump announced he was unilaterally withdrawing the US from the international treaty commonly known as the ‘Iran Nuclear Agreement’ or the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA), and reimposing sanctions on Iran.
Further humiliating his European co-signatories and partners who warned against such a decision, the US president threatened sanctions against those who would continue to do business with Iran. Rubbing salt to the wound, and in a show of total contempt for Europe’s right to formulating its own foreign policy, newly-appointed US Ambassador to Germany warned business leaders that they needed to withdraw investments in and with Iran, or face US sanctions!
Trump was putting his European ‘partners’ on notice -their future role within US-led alliances would be that of hewers of wood and drawers of water to their US masters! Using all manner of lies, deception and distortion the US President attempted to paint a picture of why the Europeans needed to follow the US lead in ramping up sanctions against Iran. Using Israeli fake news and outdated documents, Trump attempted to coerce the European nations to follow his lead making out that Iran had reneged on keeping up its end of the nuclear deal. This despite US intelligence sources and the UN nuclear watchdog -the IAEA- vouching that Iran had in fact kept its commitments.
The US was, through its President signalling a shift back to diplomatic practices of the colonial era -gunboat diplomacy- where the diktat of powerful nations were enforced through armed coercion. In today’s context economic might/sanctions. But then, US allies in Europe should not be totally surprised by these events. Even prior to his election to the office of the US presidency, candidate Trump had shown his disdain of America’s allies.
Under the glare of international media he bluntly accused America’s European allies of not paying NATO bills and implied the US would pull out of the alliance (Atlantic Council Dec 12, 2017), conveniently forgetting the agreement was fathered by the US itself-playing on age-old western European fears of the ‘Russian Bear’ and its political system - Communism/Marxism - as the eternal enemy of western democracy.
He accused Europe business leaders of cheating the American people. Though some members of NATO did protest, the US president never withdrew his charges, nor did he apologize for his warped interpretations regarding defence treaties and outright untruths regarding business agreements. The weak-kneed reaction of US NATO partners to President Trump’s blatant lies and falsehoods ultimately led Trump into believing he could trample underfoot European...
In Asia, today we seem to be witnessing a similar drama. Trump is attempting to set Asian countries one-against the other rousing China-phobia in an attempt to draw the Asian countries into the US fold, using disputes in the South China Sea to gain a foothold. Japan’s present political leadership has forgotten that it is the only country to have suffered a nuclear attack - not from China - but by America itself. And let us not forget the US has not apologized for that crime.
The countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos et al, who are now being wooed by the US have all been subject to chemical weapon attacks and bombing of civillian targets by the US. What for us in South Asia is the saddest spectacle is to watch India - which once gave leadership to the Non-Aligned nations - seemingly physically and metaphorically embrace US designs in the Asia region. A case in point is the US-India joint naval and other exercises.
We should understand the US will continue any agreement, only as long as its interests are served. As much as the US is now pulling out of a devastated Afghanistan, abandoned it’s protege Ngo Dinh Diem in Vietnam, and as it threatens its European allies over Iran today, India too could fall into the same US web of subjugation as other US allies.