Commentaries
Thu Dec 26, 2019 10:47
Trump Is Isolating the US and Here Is How
TEHRAN (FNA)- The United States’ annual defense budget, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) came in at $738 billion for 2020, up from last year a sweet $22 billion.

This year the NDAA came with a few extra stocking-stuffers for the warmongers and profiteers. It bequeathed the world an upgraded possibility of nuclear war and guaranteed the universe a future of bellicosity beyond the confines of the planet.

It also accelerates the growing nuclear arms race with Russia. It fully funds almost every element of the Trump administration’s trillion-dollar plan to replace the entire US nuclear arsenal with new, more deadly weapons. Most immediately, it will allow the Trump administration to quickly deploy the new W76-2 nuclear warhead – a lower yield weapon specifically intended to be more useable in a nuclear conflict. Weapons such as this one make nuclear war more likely and do nothing to enhance our security.

Nor is that all. Trump's NDAA also fired bullets at a slew of countries including not only Iran, Russia and China but also traditional allies such as Germany and Turkey. Apart from negative rhetoric on issues related to China's Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang, the act lists Syria, Turkey, and most controversially, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, as targets of sanctions.

Originally designed to transport natural gas directly from Russia to Germany, the pipeline is seen by Berlin as essential for its energy security. US punitive measures on companies involved in the project will undeniably exert tremendously negative effects on ties between the two allies. Immediately after the NDAA's passage, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz lashed out at it as "serious interference in Germany and Europe's internal affairs and our own sovereignty."

Washington justified sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as protection of Ukraine's interests and prevention of Russia's "undue leverage over Europe." Admittedly, the pipeline, if bypassing Ukraine, would mean huge financial losses for the country. But the Moscow-Kiev agreement clinched this month has ensured Ukraine's transit status in the project. "Hard to understand" is how Ulrike Demmer, a spokesperson for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, responded to Washington's Ukraine concerns.

Given this, the bogus fear of Germany becoming a "captive" of Russia sounds more like the real motive for the sanctions. In the era of global integration, systematic differences should be no longer a determinant in a country's foreign policy. However, American politicians are still obstinate in Cold War zealotry and its hostility against the socialist camp. From their perspective, a Western country's friendly ties with Iran, China or Russia are a result of its succumbing to economic interests.

Such a mentality is absurd. For any sovereign state in the 21st century, national interest is a top priority in their handling of foreign relations. In the Nord Stream 2 case, Germany has its own commercial and security considerations that should be independent of US interference. In Iran’s case, the EU countries want to save the nuclear deal and resume normal trade ties but to no avail, because of Washington's strong opposition. Also in China’s and Russia’s cases the same argument could be made which so far have gone nowhere.

Since Trump took office under his America First doctrine, the White House has been acting in self-contradictory fashion in foreign policy. On the one hand, it is pursuing to Make America Great Again at the cost of the interests of its allies. But on the other, it cannot accept its allies walking closer to the opposite side and is adept at using the "alliance" to pressure them into a unified stance with the United States.

Take Germany as an example. Several times Trump has launched verbal attacks on Berlin for its trade surplus and failure to shoulder more defense spending. In blaming Germany, the US is prioritizing its national interests over those of its allies. But in the meantime, the US cannot accept Merkel's pursuit to Make Germany Great Again, which the US believes is a betrayal of the alliance.

As is, Washington sacrifices allies' interests for self-gain, but has been playing the alliance card to interfere in allies' domestic affairs as well. It has relentlessly pressured Berlin to ban China's telecommunications giant Huawei from the country's networks and to give up energy cooperation with Russia by imposing sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Washington is blatantly bullying its allies to walk away from Iran trade as well by failing to meet their end of the bargain under the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Whatever this is, such unilateral and selfish moves must be harshly denounced and resisted by the international civil society. Having habituated to its hegemonic status in the world, the US has been acting capriciously toward friends and foes alike under a capricious president. Trump's will to Make America Great Again is to make the world miserable again just like after the Second World War. If the US insists on taking advantage of its alliance to thwart Western countries' will to grow, it will only isolate the US internationally in the era of multilateralism.

 

 

 

 

Bottom top
Burnt Port: Destruction Left by Deadly Beirut Blast in Drone Footage

TEHRAN (FNA)- Drone footage revealed more of the aftermath of a deadly explosion that devastated the port of Beirut on Tuesday. Smouldering debris and flattened buildings were captured by drone, which swept over the city and the coastal area. [VIDEO]
Lebanon: Wreckage Smoulders in Beirut Port after Deadly Explosions

TEHRAN (FNA)- Beirut's port was strewn with smouldering wreckage on Wednesday, one day after deadly explosions rocked the area. Tuesday afternoon's explosions left at least 137 dead, with roughly 5,000 wounded with the numbers of dead and wounded expected to rise further. [PHOTOS]
Life in Age of Coronavirus

TEHRAN (FNA)- People around the world adapt to a new normal of staying at home, social distancing and masks during the coronavirus pandemic. [PHOTOS]
US: Fire Crews Still Fighting 'Apple Fire' in California, Blaze 30% Contained

TEHRAN (FNA)- Firefighters in Southern California are still battling the "Apple Fire". CAL Fire said the Apple Fire is now 30% contained after burning through 27,319 acres in the mountains East of Los Angeles. [VIDEO]
Parents of Dead 6-Y/O Speak Out on Brutal Bedside Arrest, Manhandling at UK Hospital

TEHRAN (FNA)- A couple whose daughter was taken off life support against their wishes has won a court battle to publish footage of their brutal treatment by UK cops. After winning the right to have footage of Rashid’s brutal arrest at his dying daughter’s bedside made public the respiratory doctor and his wife – also a trained physician – are determined to stop such heinous maltreatment by NHS from continuing. [VIDEO]
Worldwide Coronavirus Infections Near 19 Million

TEHRAN (FNA)- More than 18.9 million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus globally and over 711,000 have died, according to global tracking websites. [PHOTOS]
Lebanon: Beirut Blast Survivors Experience Harrowing Ordeal

TEHRAN (FNA)- Lebanon is in mourning and surveying the damage to its capital, Beirut, after a massive explosion ripped through the city’s port and surrounding areas on Tuesday. At least 137 people were killed and 5,000 injured, with many still feared trapped under rubble. [PHOTOS]
Beirut Blast a Grim Reminder of Hiroshima, Nagasaki Nuclear Bombing

TEHRAN (FNA)- On Thursday, August 6, bells tolled in Hiroshima, Japan, to mark the 75th anniversary of the US dropping of the world's first atomic bomb.
Iran's Red Crescent Delivers 15 Tons of Food to Lebanon

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran’s Red Crescent Society has dispatched some 15 tons of food to Lebanon's Red Cross to be distributed among those affected by the devastating blast in Beirut, an IRCS official said.
Iran Calls for US’ Accountability at UN for Hostile Move against Mahan Airliner

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian envoy to the UN Majid Takht-Ravanchi asked for UN’s serious reaction toward two American warplanes’ harassment of his country’s passenger plane last month, and emphasized that Tehran would pursue the issue via relevant global bodies.
Speaker Calls for Realization of Unity among Muslim Leaders

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf congratulated Eid al-Ghadir to the political and religious figures of the Shiite world, and called for the materialization of unity among Muslim countries.
Iran Reports 2,125 New Coronavirus Patients, 132 Deaths

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian health ministry announced on Saturday that 2,125 new cases of coronavirus infection have been identified across the country during the past 24 hours, adding that 132 patients have passed away since yesterday.
Protests, Arrests at Eviction of Left-Wing Berlin Bar

TEHRAN (FNA)- Hundreds of German police officers faced off against protesters trying to stop the eviction Friday of a left-wing bar in Berlin that has been the focus of an anti-gentrification campaign.
Belgium Suspends Arms Exports to Saudi National Guard

TEHRAN (FNA)- Belgium's top legal authority suspended arms export licences for shipments to Saudi Arabia's National Guard after a complaint from human rights groups.
Brazil Rapidly Approaching 100,000 COVID-19 Deaths

TEHRAN (FNA)- Mexico hit a grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic Friday, crossing 50,000 deaths, while Brazil's death toll approaches 100,000.