In international affairs, it is sometimes necessary to lie. That’s not a big secret. The leaders of every country in the world understand this, and expect it of their counterparts. At times a president or prime minister or even a parliamentarian or senator may need to make a show of something in order to save face for their country or spare the feelings of another.
It is when a leader lies without any reason to lie that pathology is uncovered. This is where we are with Donald Trump.
Trump needed no reason whatsoever to withdraw completely from the nuclear deal with Iran. He could simply have said, “I don’t want to participate in this anymore, it was negotiated by my predecessor and I am the president now.” Instead, on Friday, Donald Trump gave a speech in which he said that Iran had “committed multiple violations of the agreement,” which is patently false. Not rendered false by interpretation, but false on its face.
There is only one country in the world that wants the United States embroiled in nuclear conflict with Iran, and its capital is only as far from Tehran as John “Bomb Bomb Iran” McCain lives from Washington, D.C.
But nuclear relations are even trickier than sparing the feelings of a speak first, think later president like Trump. That’s why Secretary of Defense James Mattis, upon hearing the news of Trump’s intended refusal to recertify the Iran nuclear deal, immediately interjected with the fact that imposing unilateral sanctions above and beyond the negotiated deal would effectively end it. Ending the deal would be very, very bad for a number of reasons — not the least of which is that it’s working.
And international relations are even trickier than nuclear relations. That’s why our chief diplomat, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, went on record agreeing with Mattis about not ending the Iran deal.
This really is like the parent at the playground, handing back another child’s ball behind their own child’s back after a screaming tantrum.
Watch as Tillerson parses Trump’s intentions very carefully on CNN’s State Of The Union:
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