Reasons behind Trump's focus on anti-Iran agenda at UNSC

TEHRAN, Aug. 27 (MNA) – The US’ recent failures at the UN Security Council, although proving the country’s lack of legitimacy in the international community, may have far-reaching benefits for Donald Trump.

After the scandalous failure of the United States in extending the arms embargo on Iran in the Security Council, the US, with an interpretation that lacks both legal and collective support from the international community, including its European allies, has called itself a "participant" in the Iran nuclear deal known as the JCPOA, and based on this absurd claim, it has called for activation of the trigger mechanism to reinstate the UN sanctions against Iran.

The US’ call was immediately rejected by 13 members of the Security Council and in letters addressed to the rotating chairman of the Security Council (Indonesia).

On the other hand, the chairman of the Security Council announced the lack of consensus on this issue, which is yet another defeat for the United States.

The question now is if the US was truly unaware of the possible outcome of the vote? That Trump's advisers were truly unaware of the positions of other countries on these issues, which could have been easily discerned even by tracking media coverage?

If they were aware of the outcome, then why did the Trump administration's special envoy, Brian Hook, make frequent trips to Security Council member states in an attempt to gain their support and have those countries vote on the extension of the arms embargo on Iran?

Although the outcome can clearly show the illegitimacy of the United States and the victory of Iranian diplomacy, this is not the whole story.

Addressing this issue requires examining Trump's foreign policy on the one hand, and the US upcoming election on the other.

Since taking office, Trump has sought to show that the neoliberal institutions that emerged after World War II are no longer compatible with American aspirations.

Of course, this issue was not unique to the Trump administration. For years, there has been controversy among American thinkers and politicians about the "low-cost foreign policy” of the US in the international order.

Proponents of neoliberalism argue that the US foreign policy should be based on international cooperation, especially in the field of economics, and that the US should impose its own order by establishing and supporting international regimes and preventing other countries from forging bonds with others, including China.

The World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund at the international level, and NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) at the regional level were formed based on the same idea. During his time in the office, Obama sought to establish free trade agreement between Canada and 10 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, known as CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership), in a bid to alter the order in Asia, but then Trump took over the White House and undid all of Obama’s efforts in this regard.

In fact, Trump believes that the era for a neoliberal approach, in which the US must pay a high price for maintaining a liberal order, is over, and that the country must pursue its interests through unilateralism and bilateralism, and all member states of an international regime or organization such as NATO, or the WTO, must pay a proportionate or equal share to that of the US.

This view, of course, is also supported by thinkers of the school of "neoclassical realism. For example, John Mearsheimer, a well-known thinker of the school of “offensive realism” in his recent book written in critique of liberalism, argues that the teachings of liberalism have failed for the American foreign policy. Accordingly, he believes that in foreign policy, the US should act according to a realistic approach and adopt liberal teachings only in dealing with domestic policy.

But proponents of liberalism still see the teachings of this school and neoliberalism as necessary to "establish and maintain order."

The US effort to focus on its dirty play against Iran at the Security Council, the outcome of which was clear beforehand, is also worth considering. Through his repeated efforts to extend Iran's arms embargo and activate the trigger mechanism against Iran, Trump has been conveying to the public that he is trying to confront Iran, but is utterly unable to realize his goals through these channels, that is, the United Nations on the one hand and its traditional allies (Old Europe)  on the other.

In other words, he needed these Security Council votes to support his arguments in his presential campaigns, and to justify his one-sided policies and his problems with his traditional allies. The votes would have helped him show that he was right, and he could use them to sway the public opinion in his own favor.

From this perspective, Trump showed that the policy of multilateralism in support of "institutions" and "regimes" is no longer useful to the US. That is why Nikki Haley, who once represented the Trump administration at the United Nations, said: "Now, the UN is not for the faint of heart. It’s a place where dictators, murderers, and thieves denounce America, and then put their hands out and demand that we pay their bills. Well, President Trump put an end to all of that. With his leadership we did what Barack Obama and Joe Biden refused to do.”

"From the very beginning, it was clear that the United States lacked any legal basis and the necessary support to call for the immediate resumption of sanctions on Iran," Dr. Osman Faruk Loğoğlu, deputy of Turkey’s Republican People's Party (CHP), told Mehr News Agency. “So why did the United States raise this issue in the Security Council for the second time? There may be at least three motives for this: One could be that the United States is trying to build up a case against the United Nations, which the Trump administration has never been a fan of. A case to justify America's ultimate challenge of the UN system. The second motive may be to provide better reasons for continuing the US bilateral sanctions. Ultimately, the last motive may be part of the overall US effort to isolate Iran in the Middle East, and with this misconception, it thinks that the UAE-Israel agreement would be a great success in advancing its goals."

"I think the Trump administration wants to make it clear to the American people that the United Nations is not good and it is not in America's best interest," he said. "Trump may think that taking over the United Nations may help him in the November election."

But another issue that the Trump administration pursued through this lost game was the intensification of "Iranophobia", "Chinaophobia" and "Russiaophobia" sentiments in public opinion.

In the "Iranophobia" project, which Trump has been pursuing more vigorously than any other US presidents before him since the beginning of his presidency, he was able to sell billions of dollars in weapons to the Persian Gulf littoral states; in an arms deal with Saudi Arabia alone, the Trump’s administration managed to create as many as 60,000 jobs in the US.

The trade war with China and the fact that the US has so far been “tolerating” China and giving it a "free ride" were also raised by Trump from the beginning. Trump, influenced by Henry Kissinger’s views, sought to justify and pursue tougher measures by highlighting and curbing China. Accordingly, Trump previously stated that if his Democrat rival Joe Biden won the election, China would own the United States.

In fact, Trump and supportive media were trying to show that the president's focus on Iranophobia and Chinaophobia projects were justified. That’s how two birds are killed with one stone. First, Trump is strengthening his "ballot box" and preventing it from suffering from possible drops as a result of the Democrats' arguments, and second, he may be able to gain some part of the Democrats' "ballot box" or the gray votes (undecided) to whom these issues matter.

"In general, the United Nations is the most important and legitimate international body that has a great role to play in resolving crises," Dr. Arthur Cyr, a professor of political economy and former vice president of the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, told Mehr News Agency. “Keep in mind that the United Nations has always been a contentious issue in the US domestic politics, and there have always been conservative parties that have constantly called for the United States to leave the organization. Despite the US withdrawal from the World Health Organization, no one today recommends leaving the UN. I believe that European countries now have an opportunity to reconsider their policies on Iran and other issues."

Thus, conservative public opinion welcomes the idea of the United States withdrawing from international institutions, including the United Nations, and the outcome of the two Security Council votes against Iran could be used by Trump as examples of the inefficiency of these institutions, which would then help consolidate these votes in his ballot box.

Another issue that Trump pursued by focusing his efforts on this already failed game was to justify his argument in the way he confronts his traditional allies. Since coming to power, Trump has repeatedly pressured and humiliated his traditional European allies for one reason or another.

Exerting pressure on America's traditional allies began with the issue of each member needing to pay its share to NATO, which was previously taken care of by the US alone. Trump constantly threatened them to pay their membership dues in full and allocate a fair share of their countries' budgets to NATO. The scope of the US government's threats escalated to the point that European countries, led by Germany and France, spoke of forming a "European army" independent of the United States and outside the NATO's sphere of influence. In this regard, French President Emmanuel Macron had spoken about the "brain death" of NATO before the start of an important NATO summit some time ago.

Although the level of success of the German-French plan to form a joint European army is not the subject of this article, a more serious tendency towards the plan speaks of the fact that Washington has become aware of the amount of support for the plan among the US traditional European allies now and in the future.

As such, Trump called the Europe containing his traditional allies an "Old Europe" and focused on expanding relations with Eastern European countries, including Poland. In this regard, the US government withdrew some of its troops from Germany and deployed them in Poland. He even suggested that Brazil, a country whose right-wing president is called the South American version of Donald Trump, should join NATO.

Overall, it can be said that Trump will benefit from the outcomes of the two UN Security Council votes against Iran to justify his arguments about Iranophobia, Chinaophobia, the inefficiency of international institutions, including the United Nations, the inefficiency of America's traditional European allies, and the benefits of bilateralism instead of multilateralism.

MNA/5009153

News Code 162803

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