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National

May 15, 2018

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Obama legacies

Thomas Friedman’s article titled ‘The Trump Doctrine’ published in New York Times in October last year has perfectly defined the persona of US President Trump in these crispy words, ‘Obama built it, I broke it, and you fix it’. It perfectly resonates with as he has been in the destroying spree of former president’s landmark achievements since his entry in the White House. He did not even spare the former president in his inaugural speech where he was in attendance with other ex-presidents. Courtesy demanded he should have been rather nice in his inaugural speech on the auspicious occasion. But he made his intentions known as what would unfold in his narrative “America first”.

It seems president Trump immensely grudges the highly acclaimed diplomatic achievements of former US President Obama and therefore determined to efface his footprints regardless of the diplomatic and strategic cost to the United States. He pulled out of the extremely popular Paris Climate Agreement signed by 195 countries in April 2016; unilaterally revoked Iran nuclear deal known as signature achievement of President Obama, attempted to undo Obama Health Care regime, withdrew from the US led Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement, NAFTA is hanging by thread, trade war with Europeans allies as he imposed crippling tariffs on steel and aluminum, trade issues with China to offset trade surplus running heavily in favour of China, reversal of normalisation of relations with Cuba rationalised by Obama, brinkmanship with Mexico on the issue of building wall at US-Mexico border, his comments of chit-hole countries of African continent and his open-ended war of words against local media calling them ‘sleaze’, are the physical manifestations of his frenzy also to make the contemporary world sharply divided, dangerously unsafe and extremely vulnerable.

The immediate question that comes across the mind is about President Trump’s sense of proportion apparently devoid of ordinary prudence. His method in madness does not sound plausible to the overwhelming majority of the learned people. Ironically, he is not impressed by the public opinion, comments of the experts as reflected in the news and views, and has been continuing his juggernaut as per his startling preferences. One cannot remain indifferent to his obstinacy and seek Divine help for salvation of the whole world in a state of helplessness. His ‘America first’ is analogous to where might is going to be right in letter and spirit executed through gun-boat diplomacy. The US system of checks and balances in the constitution may also prove ineffective in the face of President Trump’s impetuousness and single mindedness. God may save the world and America during the telling times dawned in while Trump is in the saddle.

President Trump’s sense of disproportionate could be judged as he earlier pulled out from the Paris Climate Agreement concluded in 2016 -- signed by more than 195 countries of the world -- to combat the climate change issues posing growing threat to the living species on the planet earth. He could not resist the temptation because President Obama played important role to mobilise international support around the climate issues those were putting the future of coming generations in grave risk. The Paris Climate Agreement earned accolades the world over that might be enough reason for President Trump to undo it -- he did it without the slightest compunction. One wonders as what material he is made of. He also imposed new sanction on Russia for its alleged cyber fiddling in US electoral process and action in Syria and yet looked other side when planet Earth was under attack of greenhouse gases threatening the very survival of the all living species. It only intensified the perception that his sense of proportion might be grotesquely on the wrong side of the equation.

The worst of all his diplomatic vagaries so far was the reneging of Iranian nuclear deal that was undisputedly deemed as the signature achievement of President Obama in which major European Union countries including China and Russia were on board. It was welcomed the world over as the triumph of diplomacy over brinkmanship with the message that diplomacy could resolve long festering conflicts that could not be imagined to be resolved through the military means. The pre-requisite was the political will which was there indeed. It was hammered out after long and painstaking negotiations engaging Iran over years. Iran agreed to abandon its pursuit of weapon grade nuclear fuel under verifiable monitoring frame work to be executed by the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA) in exchange of lifting of sanctions by the USA and other countries.

Amazingly, all reports of myriad intelligence agencies, without exception, had confirmed that Iran had been scrupulously complying with its obligations of the nuclear agreement. Notwithstanding this impeccable record of implementation of the international agreement, the US president’s unilateral withdrawal from the deal, despite the US European allies insistence to the contrary, was mind-blowing. His action was indeed allegorical to weakening of the world order based on international law and morality. It may be noted that according to CNN survey even 62% American opposed the decision of the US president to strike down the deal. The international community is in shock and disbelief as what the US President Trump is up to.

The striking down of the Iran nuclear agreement by the US president is going to hurt the credibility of the United States at the international level so far as the honouring of the international agreements are concerned. US president seems to be in scrapping spree of the international treaties for the reasons known to him.

The immediate fall out may be in the form of undercutting of the prospects of negotiating the agreement with North Korean strong man during the forthcoming summit between the two countries, USA and North Korea. Many political analysts are of the view that North Korean leader would be rather more cautious now in abandoning his prowess of nuclear and missile technology those had undoubtedly forced the most powerful nation of the world to come to negotiation table to negotiate on equal basis. The North Korean leader knows very well his strength and therefore will never contemplate to total de-nuclerisation of his war sinews and tentacles. The narrative of total de-nuclearisation has surely suffered severe jolt after the US unilateral pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, hugely supported and acclaimed by the international community and the people right across the world. It is going to eclipse the US President Trump and North Korean leader summit scheduled to be held in Singapore. The US standing may take nosedive because of its back to back revoking of the international agreements.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani handed out measured and matured response when he stated that his country would not pull out from the nuclear deal and would like to work with European countries including China and Russia who had expressed their resolve of extending unabated support to the agreement. Obviously, it would be convenient and beneficial for Iran to hold on if the economic and technological co-operation between his Iran and other countries remained intact without taking into account the pressure of US sanctions. The clear message of Iranian president was that if other countries including European countries remained steadfast in doing business with Iran in the face of US opposition then Iran would fully reciprocate in undertaking obligations as contained in the nuclear agreement-- not to resume nuclear activities meant for military purposes. In case, the European countries and its companies were buckled under the pressure of US economic sanctions against Iran then the country might be constrained to switch-on its nuclear activities not at regular pace but at accelerated pace to cover up the losses incurred during the period of enforcement of the nuclear deal.

The tearing apart of the nuclear deal by the US may intensify the wave of the armed conflict in the region, sharpen the sectarian divide, possible blockade of Strait of Humus by Iran disrupting the oil supply, and the possibility of the war between Iran and Israel with the tacit support of Saudi Arabia could not be ruled out. Israel, Saudi Arabia and its allies of the Arab world are happy over the US president’s decision anticipating that may contain Iranian political and strategic ambitions in the region. There are equal number of political analysts who opined that Iran will sail through the telling times but its adversaries may not withstand snowball impact of the armed conflict. The armed conflict in the Middle East may create situation like now in Syria or erstwhile in Libya, Iraq and now in Yemen. In such conflict, Israel may not be contended masquerading as onlooker. It may jump in the foray to cause the full-throttled conflagration enough to cause havoc of horrendous proportion throughout the region and beyond.

muhammadshaheedi @yahoo.cpm

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