The Trump administration’s illegitimate reimposition of nuclear sanctions on Iran escalates next week. While the policy is sure to be harmful to the civilian population, it cannot succeed on its own terms because the administration’s goals are far too aggressive and maximalist:
“There is no way the Trump administration will be able to achieve its 12 stated objectives because they’re utterly unrealistic,” said Robert Einhorn, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “Unless significant changes are made, it’s a policy destined to fail.”
The administration’s demands are so excessive and unreasonable that no self-respecting government would ever agree to half of them, much less all, because any government that yielded would be effectively surrendering its independence and allowing the U.S. to dictate its foreign and domestic policies. Besides impoverishing the people and causing them pointless suffering, the only things this policy can achieve are to raise tensions between the U.S. and Iran and to make armed conflict more likely. It is a purely destructive and senseless policy whose costs will be borne by tens of millions of innocent people. To the extent that the administration manages to cut off Iran’s oil exports, it will be imposing higher costs on everyone around the world, and American business and consumers will be paying the price for the irrational obsession of Iran hawks.
In addition to being doomed to fail, Trump’s bankrupt Iran policy is not justified by any real U.S. security interests. Iran has no ability to threaten the U.S., and curtailing its regional influence won’t make the U.S. the slightest bit more secure. The administration’s fixation on a medium-sized regional power on the other side of the world is ridiculous, and its willingness to strain and damage far more important relationships and interests to pursue that fixation shows how warped its priorities are. The Iranian government is neither as powerful nor as vulnerable as hard-liners in Washington believe it to be, and there is no good reason for an obsession with it to dominate U.S. foreign policy to the extent that it has.