After Donald Trump pulled out of the international nuclear deal with Iran, ignoring most of his team and advice from key U.S. allies, the declaration was followed by an obvious question: What the heck are you going to do instead, you orange idiot?
As Washington Post’s Dana Milbank noted, after the incompetent president shared a long “torrent of adjectives” to insult the Iran agreement, “Trump had few words left to say about what would happen next, beyond working with our allies (who oppose the U.S. reversal), economic sanctions on Iran (which does little business with the United States) and threatening Iran with military action for noncompliance (“bigger problems than it has ever had before”). In other words, he has no idea.”
Perhaps Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will have some idea? Or not.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Monday that the United States would impose “the strongest sanctions in history” against Iran if it did not agree to change course.
“We will apply unprecedented financial pressure on the regime,” Pompeo said in his first major foreign policy address, delivered at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “The leaders in Tehran will have no doubt about our seriousness.”
Pompeo outlined an alternate path: reprieve from sanctions and restoration of full diplomatic and economic relations should Iran meet a list of 12 demands aimed at the heart of Iran’s foreign policy agenda.
The total list of demands is very long and completely unrealistic. Stephen Walt, who is a professor of international affairs for Harvard, joked after Pompeo’s remarks, “I’m still a bit surprised Pompeo didn’t demand that Iran agree to open a Trump-branded golf course in Teheran and pay for the wall with Mexico.”
Pompeo had a disturbing willingness to put “the strongest sanctions in history” on Iran. Whether the evil Trump administration understands this fact or not, America already had the toughest sanctions in history on Iran.
In fact, the Obama administration worked hard over the course of many years to make an international sanctions regime designed to force Tehran into accepting diplomatic talks. It worked: Iran came to the negotiating table, the U.S. and its partners achieved a historic agreement, and his policy worked as intended. That was easily the most impressive foreign policy accomplishment in a generation.
Then Trump threw it away for literally no good reason.
Mike Pompeo may love the idea of starving and impoverishing innocent Iranians by creating another sanctions regime, however, that would need significant help from our allies – a group of nations Trump just ignored and horribly betrayed. They no longer believe in this administration, and due to the circumstances, it’s impossible to blame them.
This all suggests something very important: the Trump administration lacks a plan. It has a stupid and impossible fantasy, but that’s not a policy.