When Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear peace treaty today, somebody should have told him he is not the president of the world.
Apparently, Trump is confused about this global power if a tweet today by Richard Grenell, the U.S. Ambassador to Germany he appointed, is an indication.
As @realDonaldTrump said, US sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran’s economy. German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) May 8, 2018
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Germany, like France, the U.K., Russia, and China, all of whom were among the signatories to the Iran agreement, have no obligation to go along with Trump’s actions today, and in fact, have an incentive to continue the agreement since it is universally agreed to be working by everyone who doesn’t dream of regime change in Tehran.
Iran has already indicated it plans to discuss with the other sovereign nations that are part of the carefully negotiated deal how they can continue to work together.
Germany, France, and the U.K. have publically said since the end of last month that they will continue the pact with Iran even if Trump pulls the U.S. out, as he did today.
Trump’s recent White House guest, France’s President Emmanuel Macron, has said his country will not drop out of the deal and, according to i24 news, warned that if Trump was to withdraw, “we would open the Pandora’s box” and warned that “there could be a war.”
Grenell may not have noticed but Germany has been just as clear.
“We continue to believe that this agreement makes the world safer and without the agreement, it would be less safe,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass said. “We fear a failure would result in escalation.”
In fact, Germany has said today it will take the lead on working with Iran.
“The historical connections between Berlin and Tehran make Germany a strong supporter of the nuclear deal. Now Germany is set to help lead the response of the other signatories after Trump’s decision to pull the US out,” reports Deutsche Welle, Germany’s leading international broadcaster.
“There’s hardly an issue on which there is more consensus in German politics than the Iran nuclear deal,” adds Deutsche Welle. “From the far-right populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) to the Left Party, no one in the country shares the US president’s skepticism about the 2015 agreement.”
While Germany has the strongest economy in Europe and one of the best in the world Trump has repeatedly treated them like an enemy instead of one of America’s best friends in the post-World War II alliance that also includes France and the U.K.
Not long after he was inaugurated Trump attacked Germany because it has a favorable trade balance with the U.S., calling German people “very evil,” and then during a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel he appeared to refuse to shake her hand.
Things have gotten a little better since then but with his singular action against Iran, Trump once again appears to be shaking the foundation of Western democracy.
As a messenger, Ambassador Grenell is a strange choice by Trump’s usual standards. He is a Republican who served as America’s spokesman at the United Nations for a number of years, but he also is openly gay in an administration that has not been friendly to gays.
Grenell does have the quality Trump seems to value most – loyalty. For instance, he was recently pictured on Instagram with the controversial new U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, with a caption that said: “We are lucky to have him leading our diplomatic efforts.”
If Grenell believes Germany has an obligation to follow Trump’s lead on Iran, despite their repeated statements to the contrary, then the U.S. is not lucky to have him leading our diplomatic efforts in Bonn.