With Israel and Saudi Arabia still lusting for war with Iran, President Trump and his disdain for reality about the Iranian nuclear accord have become the key enablers, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
By Paul R. Pillar
Donald Trump’s disdain for the truth does not prevent reality from repeatedly bumping up against his policies, the most consistent theme of which has been to try to destroy his predecessor’s accomplishments. The degree to which reality inconveniences Trump — and more importantly, how much Trump’s efforts to shove reality aside damage U.S. interests — vary from issue to issue.
Dominating the headlines recently, of course, has been health care, in which the denied truths include basic principles of how insurance pools work and the fact that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has successfully extended health care coverage to many Americans who did not previously have it. In foreign policy, one of the most glaring rejections of truth has concerned climate change and Trump’s associated withdrawal from the Paris agreement, which represents rejection of a well-established scientific consensus.
Trump appears to care little about the resulting near-term consequence of U.S. isolation and loss of leadership. The most cataclysmic physical and economic consequences are longer-term ones that will mostly occur after Trump leaves office, and there is no evidence that he cares about those consequences at all.
As for what was probably Barack Obama’s leading foreign policy accomplishment — the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to restrict Iran’s nuclear program — the reality that Trump rejects is that the accord is working as intended to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon and that Iran is complying with its obligations under the agreement, as verified by inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Trump faces every 90 days a congressionally imposed requirement…