PARIS — Nature hates a void. It’s a rule that U.S. President Donald Trump might learn the hard way if he reneges on the international nuclear deal with Iran.
Trump has until Oct. 15 to decide whether to recertify the Iran deal. Struck in 2015 between Iran and the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China after years of negotiation, the deal gave Iran relief from sanctions in exchange for the curtailment of the country’s nuclear program. Not only would killing the deal hurt America economically and leave a void for other countries to exploit, but it wouldn’t do anything to dispel the notion that American foreign policy has been hijacked by Iran’s foes — most notably Israel and Saudi Arabia, which spend a great deal of money on lobbying U.S. officials and buying U.S. weapons.
The schizophrenia on Iran demonstrated by U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis suggests that some members of the Trump administration were at least temporarily brainwashed by the warmongering neoconservative reactionaries in Washington.
In February, Mattis called Iran “the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.” It’s one of the first lines that someone learns when sliding into the Washington swamp, in much the same way that someone taking up the guitar learns “Stairway to Heaven.”
Yet as Trump faces an obligatory decision on a deal he has long denounced as an abomination, Mattis is making a 11th-hour attempt to remedy the folie a deux that he and Trump have been exhibiting on the world stage.
“Absent indications to the contrary, (the Iran deal) is something that the president should consider staying with,” Mattis told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee last week.