A good opening to a Paul Waldman column today:
A quarter-century ago, a certain New York real estate investor took an interest in negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union over nuclear weapons. Apparently he believed that if he got in a room with the Russians, he could end the Cold War with his awe-inspiring negotiating skills. As Bruce Blair reported last year, upon meeting one of the diplomats negotiating the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, Donald Trump told the gentleman, Richard Burt, that he knew just how to cut a “terrific” deal with the Soviets. “Trump told Burt to arrive late to the next negotiating session, walk into the room where his fuming counterpart sits waiting impatiently, remain standing and looking down at him, stick his finger into his chest, and say 'F–k you!'”On Tuesday, President Trump brought that unique nuclear negotiating acumen to the United Nations for his first address to the General Assembly. It wasn't much better.
What a low rent embarrassment. And Trump’s U.N. address really was that bad.
Listening to Trump at the U.N., I also realized that Trump is promising to put a nail in any continuing notion of the U.S. as a global leader. Keeping in mind Trump’s pull-out from the Paris climate change agreement, the notion of American leadership is going to be entirely broken when Trump, as he promised at the UN, pulls out of the Iran Nuclear Agreement.
While Trump likes to pretend that we are talking about an agreement between the U.S. and Iran, the reality is much different. The U.S. joined the Iran nuclear agreement as part of the so-called “P5+1.” You know who the rest of the “P4” are? The other permanent members of the UN Security Council (the United Kingdom, Russia, France and China)! And that “plus 1”? — Germany. But it gets better because everyone forgets that there is another counter-party to this nuclear agreement . . . . the European Union! Or, said another way, another 25 countries on top of the Security Council members plus Germany.
These 30 countries are not going to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement based on Trump’s mania and dysfunction, and with those countries remaining onboard, Iran can laugh at any notion of unilateral U.S. sanctions. So, if the U.S. pulls out of the Iran nuclear agreement, the agreement — and the entire global arrangement — will simply continue without the U.S. That — along with Paris climate agreement withdrawal — will do more than anything else to to finally shatter any notion of the US as “the indispensable power.” And for what?
Thanks, Republican voters.