Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Hail to the Chief

With all the militaristic pageantry one can muster:

"Trump asks for military tanks on the Mall as part of grandiose July Fourth event" by Juliet Eilperinand Josh Dawsey Washington Post, July 1, 2019

WASHINGTON — National Park Service acting director Dan Smith faces plenty of looming priorities this summer, including an $11 billion backlog in maintenance needs and natural disasters such as the recent wildfire damage to Big Bend National Park, but in recent days, another issue has competed for Smith’s attention: How to satisfy President Trump’s request to station tanks or other armored military vehicles on the Mall for his planned Fourth of July address to the nation.

The ongoing negotiations over whether to use massive military hardware, such as Abrams tanks or Bradley Fighting Vehicles, as a prop for Trump’s ‘‘Salute to America’’ is just one of many unfinished details when it comes to the celebration planned for Thursday, according to several people briefed on the plan, who spoke on the anonymity to speak frankly.

Trump — who has already ordered up a flyover by military aircraft including Air Force One — is also interested in featuring an F-35 stealth fighter and involvement from Marine Helicopter Squadron One, which flies the presidential helicopter, two government officials said. The Navy’s Blue Angels were supposed to have a break between a performance in Davenport, Iowa, on June 30 and one in Kansas City, Mo., on July 6 but will now be flying in the District on the Fourth.

At least 300 service members were slated to participate, primarily from military bands and drill teams, but that number could rise as additional military aircraft and other flourishes are added to the event.

The Defense Department has not released any estimate for how much the celebration could cost, but the use of numerous aircraft could drive it well into the millions of dollars when counting fuel and maintenance.

The F-35 costs about $30,000 per hour to fly, according to Pentagon estimates. Each Blue Angel jet costs at least $10,000 per hour to operate, and the cost of flying an Air Force One jet is more than $140,000 per hour.

The cost of a military parade Trump had planned for last year was about $92 million, including $50 million in Defense Department costs, officials said at the time. The parade was scuttled after the potential costs became public.

Other details of the July 4 celebration remain up in the air with just days to go. White House officials intend to give out tickets for attendees to sit in a VIP section and watch Trump’s speech but did not develop a distribution system before much of the staff left for Asia last week, according to two administration officials. Officials also are still working on other key crowd management details, such as how to get attendees through magnetometers in an orderly fashion.

Now I am getting nervous. 

Maybe he should skip it or blam-blam, Iranian assassins!

Traditionally, major gatherings on the Mall, including inauguration festivities and a jubilee commemorating the start of a new millennium, have featured a designated event producer, but in this case, the producer is the president himself.

Who is he going to fire?

The White House declined to comment on the ongoing plans.

Advocates for the Park Service and some Democratic lawmakers and local officials have questioned why the federal government is devoting resources to the event given constrained budgets and other demands. ‘‘It’s irresponsible to ask the National Park Service to absorb the costs of an additional and political event when there are so many unmet needs in the parks,’’ Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks chair Phil Francis, whose group represents current, former and retired Park Service employees and volunteers, said in an e-mail.



"The solid economy is doing little to bolster support for President Trump. Americans give Trump mixed reviews for his economic stewardship despite the growth achieved during this presidency, according to a new survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Nearly two-thirds describe as ‘‘good’’ an economy that appears to have set a record for the longest expansion in US history, with decade-long growth that began under former president Barack Obama. More people consider the economy to be good today than did at the start of the year, but significantly fewer approve of Trump’s handling of the economy, even as it remains a relative strength compared with other issues. The survey indicates that most Americans do not believe they’re personally benefiting from his trade policies, and only 17 percent said they received a tax cut, despite government and private sector figures showing that a clear majority of taxpayers owed less after the president’s tax overhaul passed in 2017. These doubts create a possible vulnerability as Trump highlights the economy’s solid performance in his campaign for reelection in 2020. Nearly half of Americans, 47 percent, approve of Trump’s handling of the economy, but his overall approval rating — 38 percent — is low compared with what past presidents have enjoyed in strong economic conditions. The public skepticism has persisted even as the president routinely congratulates himself on the economy, including the 3.6 percent unemployment rate and stock market gains....."

He better hope the lies keep coming and a downturn doesn't hit next year.

"President Trump on Monday congratulated New Jersey’s Democratic-led Legislature for passing a budget that did not include a proposal by Governor Phil Murphy to raise taxes on millionaires — a move Trump claimed would have driven high earners from the state. In subsequent tweets, he complained about how ‘‘ridiculously high’’ taxes are hurting his children and businesses in New York. Murphy, a Democrat, was seeking to raise additional revenue by increasing the top marginal rate paid by those making more than $1 million from 8.97 percent to 10.75 percent. Fellow Democrats, who control both chambers of the state Legislature, balked at the move. On Sunday, Murphy signed a budget bill without the provision. ‘‘Congratulations to legislators in New Jersey for not passing taxes that would have driven large numbers of high end taxpayers out of the state,’’ Trump tweeted Monday morning. ‘‘Many were planning to leave, & will now be staying.’’ Murphy responded in kind later Monday, writing on Twitter: ‘‘We all know @realDonaldTrump is fighting for millionaires like himself. I’m fighting for New Jersey’s middle class and all those working to get there.’’

The Legislature learned from Connecticut's example, and Trump sure has a thing up his buttigieg for governors from New Jersey, huh?

And now meet your 2024 Republican nominee:

"Ivanka Trump tests her diplomatic chops and riles a legion of critics" by Katie Rogers New York Times, July 1, 2019

The Demilitarized Zone is the latest spot where Ivanka Trump has tried her hand at statecraft.

No one is interested in her e-mails, huh?

On Sunday, the president’s elder daughter used an impromptu meeting between her father and Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, to further slip into the role of unofficial spokeswoman and budding stateswoman for the Trump administration. With her husband, fellow senior adviser Jared Kushner, at her side, Trump delivered news interviews, posed for photos, and attended a closed-door meeting between her father and Kim.

Looks like a presidential campaign in the offing.

Earlier in the day, Trump had repeated what her father has often said about dealing with the North: that it would be free of crippling sanctions and clear for an economic boom if Kim were to dismantle his nuclear program. Scant evidence suggests that Kim is taking the steps to do this, but Sunday, two Trumps rewarded him with a visit.


Getting all cozy with Trump as he rewards the leader of North Korea as a teacher would award a student.

What an insult!

Trump had to take the meeting; otherwise, he would be an irrelevant figure as the Koreans, Chinese, and Russians move ahead without him.

“We are on the precipice of ushering in potentially a golden era for the Korean Peninsula,” Ivanka Trump told Bloomberg News in the hours before her father took the historic step of crossing into the North, but by the time she emerged from the closed-door meeting between the leaders hours later, she only had one word for journalists about her encounter with North Korea.

She called it “surreal.”

What is surreal is the golden era being proposed here after the abysmal failure of Bahrain and Kushner's Deal of the Century.

Others following along called it inappropriate.

“Ivanka Trump is not on the National Security Council — she is not an adviser on the issues being discussed,” Michael A. McFaul, an ambassador to Russia under former president Barack Obama, said. “So her presence undermines the professional look of the Trump delegation, both to other countries and to national security professionals in the Trump administration.”

I keep waiting for Congre$$ to get after them.

President Trump has come under fire for making family members part of his staff since the beginning of his administration, and then for clinging more tightly to them in a White House racked by turnover. Kushner alone has overseen portfolios ranging from the federal government’s outdated technology to peace in the Middle East, but for Ivanka Trump, 37, the visit to Asia over the past week represented a prominent step onto a bigger stage.

Yeah, she will be the female face for the continuation of Kushner Inc.

She appeared ready to assert herself from the start of the trip. She was the most visible woman from the administration to go. Her stepmother, first lady Melania Trump, stayed behind in Washington, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, former White House press secretary, had just stepped down.

Graham must be in rehab.



"Trump smiles with North Korea, threatens Iran" by Deb Riechmann and Matthew Lee Associated Press, July 1, 2019

WASHINGTON — With North Korea, President Trump puts on the charm, but with Iran, he cranks up the pressure. He warned its leaders Monday they are ‘‘playing with fire.’’

Nuclear weapons are at the heart of the difficult US relations with both Pyongyang and Tehran, but it’s in North Korea where Trump has more leeway — and perhaps a greater chance of striking a deal.

Kim Jong Un has seemed as willing to meet with Trump as the US president has been to talk and shake hands for the cameras with him. The North Korean leader jumped at the chance to meet Trump at the Demilitarized Zone between the Koreas last weekend.

Trump has made repeated overtures to Iranian leaders, too, but without the same results.

‘‘I think Trump would be equally on a charm offensive with the Iranians if he had a dance partner,’’ said Mark Dubowitz, an Iran nuclear deal skeptic with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

OMG, the AP turned to the FDD for expert analysis, one of the most influential and powerful of the Zionist lobbies which changed its name and sprung into action immediately after 9-11!

Also, Israel, which views Iran as its archenemy, is pressuring Trump to take a hard-line approach to Tehran, which has threatened to wipe Israel off the map. There is no big anti-North Korea lobby in the United States pressuring the White House to shun Kim’s repressive government.

Well, that just about says it all regarding who runs U.S. foreign policy, 'eh?

I'm glad there was nothing else to read, and how disappointing to read the above web additions that were excised from print -- especially the mistranslated(?) lie about threatening to wipe off the map -- as well as being told Iran lashed out by shooting down a $100 million, unmanned US surveillance drone that had violated their airspace and national sovereignty.


Looks like one big photo-op of the most unsubstantial kind.

"Iran breaches critical limit on nuclear fuel under 2015 deal" by David E. Sanger New York Times, July 1, 2019

More New York Times slop, so look for the skewed distortions and inferred nefarious on the part of the Iranians from the government mouthpiece Sanger.

WASHINGTON — Iran has exceeded a key limitation on how much nuclear fuel it can possess under the 2015 international pact curbing its nuclear program, effectively declaring that it would no longer respect an agreement that President Trump abandoned more than a year ago, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported Monday.

Why should they have to hold true to a deal Trump abandoned?

WTF kind of backwards ass shit is that?

The breach of the limitation, which restricted Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium to about 660 pounds, does not by itself give the country the material to produce a nuclear weapon, but it is the strongest signal yet that Iran is moving to abandon the limits and restore the far larger stockpile that took the United States and five other nations years to persuade Tehran to send abroad.

The developments were first reported by the semiofficial Fars news agency, citing an “informed source.” Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, was later quoted confirming the news, according to another semiofficial outlet, the Iranian Students’ News Agency, or ISNA.

The report from Fars said that representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency determined last week that Iran had passed the threshold, and a spokesman for the agency said Monday that it had confirmed that the stockpile had surpassed the limit laid out in the deal.

It was unclear how much the action would escalate the tensions between Washington and Tehran after the downing of a US surveillance drone in June nearly resulted in military strikes, but it returns the focus to Iran’s two-decade pursuit of technology that could produce a nuclear weapon — exactly where it was before former President Barack Obama and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran struck their deal four years ago.

That is where the media cro$$hairs want them, and we are far from where we were four years ago. What's up with that distortion?

“Now the inevitable escalation cycle seems well underway,” Philip H. Gordon, a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former Obama administration national security official, wrote in an article this spring for Foreign Affairs magazine shortly after Rouhani telegraphed that he intended to walk away from the deal’s restrictions. Iran was on a “slippery slope” to fully pulling out of the agreement, Gordon added.

Next they turn to a CFR globalist, and Iran hasn't done anything wrong!

On June 28, after meeting in Vienna with European officials who had promised to set up a barter system with Iran to compensate for the effects of US sanctions that Britain, France, and Germany say are unwise, Iranian officials said the effort was insufficient.

Everyone knew the Europeans would fail them, what with them being soulless vassal states for USrael.

Hook has estimated the sanctions have cost Iran $50 billion in lost oil sales, far more than the system that the Europeans are putting in place would generate.

Who Hook?

As they left the meeting, Iranian officials hinted that the breaking of the limit would go forward, though it could just as easily be reversed in the future.

For now, however, Iran seems on a pathway to step-by-step dissolution of key parts of the accord. Rouhani has said that Iran will begin raising the level of uranium enrichment this month.

We all know who set this in motion, and it appears the pullout was so war could be waged.

Maybe the deal itself was trap.

Even before the announcement, the Pentagon and the nation’s intelligence agencies — led by the CIA and the National Security Agency — were beginning to review what steps to take if the president determined that Iran was getting too close to producing a bomb.....

That is years down the road, presuming the Iranians are even trying.


As for the only Middle Eastern power with a nuclear bomb:

"Israel is blamed for deadly missile strikes in Syria" by Isabel Kershner New York Times, July 1, 2019

Poor widdle Iswail is being blamed, says NYT!

JERUSALEM — Israeli warplanes struck several military sites in Syria overnight and killed several fighters and civilians, Syrian state media reported Monday, in what appeared to be a stepping up of Israel’s longrunning, partly covert campaign to thwart Iranian military entrenchment in Syria and stop weapon transfers to Lebanon.

Meaning Israel is basically at war with Syria. 

The warplanes fired missiles from Lebanese airspace, according to SANA, the official Syrian news agency, which reported that a baby was among four civilians who were killed. The airstrikes hit a variety of targets, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitoring group identified with the Syrian opposition.

So they violated Lebanese airspace to murder children.

The targets included the headquarters of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard in the south of the Syrian capital, Damascus; a scientific research center in the countryside around the city; and positions held by Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese group, in the mountains near the border with Lebanon, the Observatory said.

The Hezbollah sites that were targeted included ammunition warehouses, resulting in explosions and huge fires, the Observatory reported.

Israel has carried out many strikes in Syria. The military and government officials declined to comment, in line with their usual policy of ambiguity, an approach intended to avoid forcing the government of Bashar Assad or his allies into retaliating.

What chutzpah, as if neither confirming or denying will fool the Syrians into not retaliating! They don't retaliate because it isn't worth it and would be playing right into the Israeli provocation.

The attack came amid escalating tensions in the region between Iran and the United States over sanctions and the downing of a US reconnaissance drone, and just hours before the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran had surpassed a key limitation on how much nuclear fuel it can possess.

Last week, Israel hosted an extraordinary meeting of the national security advisers of Israel, Russia, and the United States that was planned long before the recent rise in tensions. Iran and Hezbollah, both archenemies of Israel, together with Russia, have helped Assad of Syria gain the upper hand in a civil war that began in 2011.

Opening that trilateral meeting in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel pressed for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Syria, in particular those of Iran and Iranian proxies near the frontier with Israel. He said Israel had acted “hundreds of times” to prevent Iranian military entrenchment in Syria and the transfer of weapons.

He didn't mean AmeriKa forces or the CIA-backed ISIS terrorists.

The Israeli campaign, however surgical, risks miscalculations and unintended consequences. Last year, Syrian forces accidentally shot down a Russian military plane after an Israeli airstrike on Syrian territory, causing a temporary crisis in Israeli-Russian relations. 

So Israel basically controls the Russians, too.

On Monday, the foreign minister of Turkish-held Northern Cyprus, Kudret Ozersay, said that what appeared to be a Russian-made antiaircraft missile fired by Syria at Israeli jets had missed its mark and fallen on the island. There were no reports of casualties.

Another figure close to the Syrian government who was briefed on the strikes and who requested anonymity to discuss secret military information put the total death toll from the attacks higher, saying that at least 16 had been killed, including five Syrian army personnel, one Iranian, and 10 civilians and that 49 others had been wounded.

He added that many of the targets had been vacated ahead of time because of the tensions between Iran and the United States and that the civilian casualties had been caused by explosions from munition stores.

Citing a military source, SANA said that Syria’s air defense had responded to the missiles fired by Israeli warplanes.

Though hardly a supporter of Assad, Israel has professed neutrality in the Syrian civil war, saying that it only acts in the country in the interests of maintaining its own red lines and protecting its own interests. Israel has said it would like to see stability restored there. 

They have stability now, and Israeli airstrikes are not helping!

Speaking Monday at an annual conference on national security, Yossi Cohen, director of the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service, said that the country had “no interest in a conflict with Syria, but we cannot agree to Syria serving as an arena in which Iranian forces or forces operated by it become entrenched against us.”

Without specifically addressing the overnight activity, Cohen added that Israel would not allow Syria to become a logistical base for the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah and Lebanon.

“Israel has operated in the past four years, overtly and covertly — only a small part of that has been reported — to prevent and destroy the entrenchment of Iranian forces in Syria and the infrastructure for manufacturing precision weapons,” he said. “Thanks to that resolute action, I believe the Iranians will ultimately reach the conclusion that it’s not worth their while.”

He said that Iran and Hezbollah were now seeking to move some of their bases to northern Syria, “a place where they believe, mistakenly, that we will have trouble reaching.”


Maybe they could end one war before starting another?

"Bombing kills dozens and hurts schoolchildren as Taliban talks resume" by Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Rod Nordland New York Times, July 1, 2019

KABUL — A complex Taliban attack including a car-bombing and militant assault killed at least 40 people in Kabul on Monday, badly damaging a private war museum, an adjoining television station, and a primary school, hurting dozens of children, officials said.

Who do they think they are, Israel?

The attack, apparently aimed at a government facility, came as US and Taliban negotiators met for a third day in Qatar amid hopes for a deal on a US troop withdrawal, but the pace of violence in the 18-year Afghan war has only picked up, with each side increasing attacks......

That's what happens when you play both sides, and the Taliban claim of responsibility came via  Twitter, so who could doubt that? 


Finally, a call for peace from the Bo$ton Globe (only Jewish voices need apply):

"We must stop our nation’s push for relentless war" by Oliver Stone and Dan Kovalik, July 1, 2019

Former president Jimmy Carter recently made a profound and damning statement — the United States is the “most warlike nation in the history of the world.” Carter contrasted the United States with China, saying that China is building high-speed trains for its people while the United States is putting all of its resources into mass destruction. Where are high-speed trains in the United States, Carter appropriately wondered.

As if to prove Carter’s assertion, Vice President Mike Pence told the most recent graduating class at West Point that it “is a virtual certainty that you will fight on a battlefield for America at some point in your life. . . . You will lead soldiers in combat. It will happen.” Clearly referring to Venezuela, Pence continued, “Some of you may even be called upon to serve in this hemisphere.” In other words, Pence declared, war is inevitable, a certainty for this country.

Moreover, it was recently reported that the Pentagon is preparing for war against both Russia and China, even as Trump and his henchmen are openly threatening war against Iran and Venezuela, doubling down on the nearly 20-year war in Afghanistan, and aiding and abetting Saudi Arabia in its genocidal war in Yemen. One might think, and certainly hope, that there would be a massive outcry against what appears to be the imminent threat of another world war, and yet, this threat has been met with near total silence. Indeed, to the extent that the mainstream media have reacted at all to Trump’s war plans, the reaction has been disappointment that Trump is not moving quickly enough toward military aggression. One example was a May 11 New York Times piece, “Trump Said He Would Tame Rogue Nations. Now They Are Challenging Him” — a piece which essentially goaded Trump into using military force against North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela.

They saw the same thing I did.

What the Times and other press sources fail to recognize is that it is the United States that is the rogue state by any true measure, and this truth is not lost on the citizens of the world who, in two global polls, ranked the United States as the greatest threat to world peace.

In the meantime, the promised and desperately needed infrastructure overhaul in this country is barely mentioned anymore; tent cities sheltering the homeless are rising up in nearly every major US city; nearly half of Americans cannot afford basic necessities; and basic health care is still out of reach of millions of Americans.

The mammoth elephant in the room is the insatiable military-industrial complex, which is diverting precious resources away from these causes and toward the cause of destroying other nations. Meanwhile, the US war machine is arguably the greatest contributor in the world to the global warming crisis, and, as a symbol of its environmental threat, the US military just opened an airstrip in the Galapagos Islands.

As the 2020 presidential campaigns begin, it is baffling to witness that none of this is a matter of debate. The one candidate who is willing to broach this subject — military veteran Tulsi Gabbard — is vilified and ridiculed as a result, and yet, don’t people realize that there will be no “Green New Deal,” or “Medicare for All,” or other such laudable social programs as long as we continue down our unending path of war? Indeed, the United States just made history this year by experiencing a high increase in the deficit during good economic times, and this is because we are now engaged in deficit spending on war instead of meeting human want.

In the end, the greatest single thing we can do, both for ourselves and for the world, is to stop the United States from starting its next war, while demanding that it end the wars it has already started. We must demand that our government stop putting resources into war and destruction and instead put those resources toward building, meeting human needs, and saving our environment. This will require the rebuilding of the US peace movement, which once helped stop the war in Vietnam and the US war on Central America, and which mobilized record numbers of people in opposing the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Such a peace movement is needed now more than ever, and it is literally a matter of life and death.

Oliver Stone is an Academy Award-winning filmmaker and author. Dan Kovalik teaches international human rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. They both contributed to the new book “The Plot to Overthrow Venezuela: How The US is Orchestrating a Coup for Oil.”


They also join George Soros and Charles Koch (they also qualify) in calling for the wars to be put on ICE.

Right below Stone's op-ed was this:

"Trump needs a Belichick game plan for Iran" by Alan Berger, July 2, 2019

Like it's a football game, ugh!

Contemplating the incoherence of President Trump’s Iran policy as the explosion of mines on oil tankers approaching the Strait of Hormuz and the downing of a US drone nearly provoked American retaliation against military targets in Iran, I was reminded of the sign Billy Wilder, director of “Some Like It Hot,’’ kept in his study. “How would Lubitsch do it?’’ the sign said, in tribute to Wilder’s mentor, Ernst Lubitsch, the creator of “Ninotchka,’’ and “To Be Or Not To Be.’’ Wilder’s reminder to himself evoked a wish that someone would hang a sign in the Oval Office that instructed Trump to ask himself, before taking any important decision, “What Would Belichick Do?’

Because the first principle of New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s game plan is to delve deep into the proclivities of an opponent — to know before the whistle blows what that rival tends to do in a given situation.

Isn't that Kushner's job?

Trump, who appears to know about Iran only what he has gleaned from Fox News, has taken America out of an international nuclear pact that the clerical regime was observing scrupulously and has imposed crushing sanctions that affect Iran’s oil sales, metals industry exports, and financial transactions. If Trump had any understanding of the adversary his belligerent national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have chosen for him, he would know that his actions strengthen the clerical regime’s most rabid elements while inflicting great harm on a populace that tends to be favorably inclined toward America.

Even a cursory review of the way Tehran’s bosses play the global power game would have dissuaded Trump from inviting Iran’s president or supreme keader to pick up the phone and dial the White House number. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the decider on issues of war and peace, has preached and practiced what he defines as a policy of “resistance’’ against the American imperium. Khamenei had to approve the shooting down of an American drone. His intent was to show that Iran will not submit meekly to US pressure tactics.

There is zero chance the supreme leader will debase himself by entering into a direct negotiation with Trump. And before any US-Iran dialogue could produce an outcome both parties might accept, Trump will need to back away from the extreme demands Bolton and Pompeo have sought to impose.

It is an open secret that Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have come under the influence of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, his Emirati counterpart, Mohammed bin Zayed, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. Those regional leaders decried the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated under Barack Obama not so much because its sunset clauses might eventually allow Iran to resume enriching uranium to the level needed for a nuclear weapon, but rather because it did nothing to curtail Iran’s spreading influence in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen.

The mention of Netanyahu is the closest either op-eds got to answering the question of Jewi$h influence over American foreign policy.

The regional antagonists of the Iranian regime have a point when they decry Tehran’s use of Shiite foot soldiers from several countries to fight in Syria under Iranian Revolutionary Guard commanders. The ruling mafia of Syria’s hereditary president, Bashar Assad, has committed horrific crimes against humanity. And the bosses in Tehran are accomplices to those crimes.

Nevertheless, Obama had the right idea when he sought to resolve the nuclear issue as a first step toward a peaceful resolution of Iran’s conflicts with its neighbors and with Washington. What Trump apparently does not know is that, according to the CIA, Iran ceased its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Iranian generals, fearful that Saddam Hussein’s forces, with their chemical warfare agents and perhaps other weapons of mass destruction, might overcome Iran’s mostly unprofessional army, persuaded Ayatollah Khomeini to lift his prohibition against nuclear weapons as “haram’’ (against Islam).

After Saddam’s demise in 2003, Khomeini’s successor, Ayatollah Khamenei, once again defined all weapons of mass destruction as haram. There were two reasons for this course change. First, Saddam was gone and Iraq would be ruled by a fellow Shiite government, and, second, the Americans had just invaded a neighboring country on the false assertion that it might have — or would soon acquire — nuclear weapons.

Hence Iranian negotiators were hardly making a painful concession when they struck a deal with the Obama administration to limit drastically their production of enriched uranium and to severely reduce the number of their spinning centrifuges. They wanted an end to sanctions for the sake of economic progress — and to give themselves more leeway to enhance their influence in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen.

If Trump wants to limit Iran’s interventions in other countries, he should bring America back into the nuclear accord and then pursue negotiated agreements to end the gruesome wars in Syria and Yemen. A savvy US president would enroll the region’s major players — including Russia, Turkey, and Iran’s friends in Iraq and Qatar — in negotiations that aim to balance the interests of Iran and its neighbors. If there were a Belichick of geopolitics, he would have studied in great detail the strengths and weaknesses of the regime in Tehran; then he would contain it, take away its most dangerous weapons, and wait patiently for the clock to run out on it.

It's a nice fantasy and all, going back to the accord and ending the gruesome wars while working with everyone in the region and not just as an agent for Israel; however, the question is how would Belichik deal with Israel, or would Israel be able to stop him?

Alan Berger is a retired Globe editorial writer.


Meanwhile, Iran just runs out the clock.