The Failure of the Iran Obsession

Earlier today, the U.N. Security Council delivered an impressive rejection of the Trump administration’s obsessive pursuit of an arms embargo extension against Iran:

The United States suffered an embarrassing diplomatic defeat on Friday when the United Nations Security Council rejected a proposal to indefinitely extend an arms embargo on Iran, with even America’s strongest allies refusing to buckle under pressure from the Trump administration to take a harder line.

The vote was 2 yeas, 11 abstensions, and 2 noes. Except for the Dominican Republic, every other government on the Council refused to side with the U.S. on this issue. A number of NATO treaty allies chose to defy the U.S. rather than fall in line. It was one of the most comprehensive U.S. failures at the United Nations in decades. It is a measure of both U.S. international isolation and administration incompetence that they lost this vote by such a huge margin. Russian and Chinese opposition was guaranteed. There was no way that any resolution was going to pass. But the U.S. chose the most confrontational and obnoxious approach to this issue. Pompeo berated our allies, accused them of enabling Iranian attacks on other countries, and gave them every reason to oppose the U.S. position.

There was so much opposition to the Trump administration’s initiative because their Iran policy is bankrupt and contrary to the interests of the current parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The push to extend the arms embargo was a transparent ploy to punish Iran by reversing one of the few things it still gets from the nuclear deal. The administration has sought to drive Iran to abandon the deal, but it has received no support from any of the other governments that negotiated and continue to support the agreement. The U.S. forfeited any credibility it might have had by leaving that agreement more than two years ago. Their next move will be to attempt to use the so-called “snapback” provision in the agreement, but that will also fail because the remaining JCPOA members want it to survive.

This week, the U.S. was met with resistance to its economic warfare on another front:

Twenty-four European Union countries complained to the U.S. State Department this week over President Donald Trump’s expansive use of sanctions to help influence American foreign policy goals, according to a European diplomat familiar with the communication.

The backlash against Nordstream-related sanctions shows that our allies are growing weary of being dictated to and threatened with punishment for engaging in legitimate commerce. It has taken many years, but European governments are pushing back and rejecting Washington’s attempts to police their economic relations with other countries. The U.S. has been abusing and overusing sanctions for quite a while, and this has only accelerated in the last three years. The bill is coming due, and the price will be repeated humiliations and reversals for the U.S. in the years to come.