April 2018 Antagonizing the Rest of the World

April 2018 Antagonizing the Rest of the World

Antagonizing the Rest of the World Is NOT in Our Best Interest

Trump’s misguided policy of denigrating and antagonizing the rest of the world in the name of “America first” is not in our country’s best interest. In fact, it is downright dangerous and irresponsible.

This policy–if you can even call Trump’s compulsive and contradictory actions a policy–arrogantly and patronizingly assumes that our engagement with the rest of the world benefits others at the expense of our own interests. In reality, constructive collaboration with other members of the international community is the most effective way to ensure that American interests are protected and advanced.

Take the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran nuclear deal. The United States under President Obama wanted to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and worked with China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, and the EU to negotiate a deal with Iran. The deal imposes strict curbs on Iran’s nuclear development in return for sanctions relief. It is by no means perfect, but it significantly reduces the threat of Iran developing nuclear weapons capabilities and makes the US and our allies more safe.

But Trump calls the Obama Administration’s signature foreign policy achievement “the worst deal ever,” claiming it does not go far enough, and even mentioned disagreements over Iran policy as a reason for firing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Foreign policy observers now fear that, with Tillerson gone, the path is clear for Trump to withdraw from the JCPOA. This would be a tragic mistake.

Reneging on the Iran deal would amount to throwing out the baby with the bath water; both American and Israeli security experts maintain that an imperfect deal is vastly better than no deal at all. Withdrawing from the deal would immediately increase the chances of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons and would put Americans and our allies at significantly greater risk. It would also send the message that the United States cannot be trusted to honor its agreements. Is this the message that we want to send right before going into negotiations with North Korea? Finally, we should be engaging with the people of Iran to the extent that we can, rather than pushing them away with the reimposition of sanctions that would come from backing out of the deal. The Iranian people want freedom and democracy and are benefiting from having the world opened up to them just a little bit more with this nuclear deal. If we withdraw now, we will only help to breed more oppression and resentment.


— Foreign Policy Task Force