So The Great Negotiator has pulled the U.S. out of the 10-year Iran nuclear freeze agreement signed by five other nations. We will now throw our weight around by reapplying the sanctions lifted by the agreement, plus we unilaterally forbid other nations, presumably including our allies, to continue whatever trading they resumed when the sanctions were lifted.
Now what? Will our allies comply, or leave us adrift, on our own, as odd man out? How might this affect our standing among nations, when friend and foe alike no longer can trust the U.S. to keep its word? What shall be the long-term consequences of Trump’s self-imposed isolation, already begun by withdrawing from the Far East Trade Agreement arranged during Obama’s tenure, thus abdicating U.S. economic influence there indefinitely? How badly might this undermine the pending talks to disarm North Korea?
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Recently on a trip to Saudi Arabia, Iran’s arch-enemy, we saw Trump on TV dancing a celebratory sword dance with gleeful Saudis. Was this week’s Iran move decided then and there? In return for what, that makes the Iran disruption a net gain? For the U.S. or for Trump personally? His finances remain secret. What second shoe is yet to drop in that scenario?
In today’s narrative bashing Iran, all the background factors that may have contributed to the current impasse and Iran’s actions since are disregarded. Those include our CIA’s meddling in Iran’s political affairs, including the overthrow of President Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953, paving the way for the ayatollahs ruling there today and disrupting Middle East politics from Lebanon to the Saudi border, including anarchy in Iraq in the wake of our invasion.
Our Founding Fathers had no way to anticipate the political impact of oil or nuclear warfare when they warned against “foreign entanglements,” yet their wariness was prescient. Add Trump, all hubris and scant wisdom, and all bets are really off. It is difficult to see a gain from his impetuosity. Worse, we seem in for two-and-a-half more years of it. If nothing else, it promises to clarify the limits of U.S. power.
Ted Z. Manuel, Hyde Park
‘Indecent’ to separate immigrant mothers and children
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that government policy on immigrant detainees will now be even stronger. The plan is that young children and babies will be taken away from their mothers. This news comes as TIME magazine published the story that 1,475 migrant children placed with U.S. sponsors under the direction of the Department of Health and Human Services cannot be located. The disclosure raises the fear that these children might have become victims of human trafficking.
Ironically, Melania Trump announced that her mission will be to keep children in America safe. What hypocrisy! Is Jeff Sessions taking orders from Donald Trump or is it his own revolting concept? He smirked during the speech with that simpleton grin. Is he behaving like the head of the Justice Department or the commandant of a concentration camp? How far have we descended as a nation? This weekend is Mother’s Day. To celebrate it, every caring, decent mother or grandmother in America should contact her representative and senators in Washington and demand that this indecency be exposed and stopped.
Betty Kleinberg, Deerfield
Steinberg, Shakespeare and politics
Neil Steinberg’s May 8 column combined thoughts on Shakespeare and current politics. It got me to thinking of the contrast between a classical Shakespearean hero — a great man brought down by one tragic flaw — and the majority of current politicians — small men who bring society down with an endless variety of their flaws.
Jim Bruton, Irving Park
McDonald’s bland new headquartersMcDonald’s U.S. President Chris Kempczinski describes their old Oak Brook headquarters as “sleepy.” If that’s the case, their new downtown headquarters is stone-cold comatose. A building even blander than a Quarter Pounder? Who’d a thunk it was even possible? This is a building with all the vision and inspiration of a Chicago Public Schools warehouse.
Jim Morris, Evanston