The Tehran Foreign Policy Studies Quarterly
 

Editor's Note

Hossein Safdar

 

Repeating an Experience

Trump's four-year presidency and dominance in the White House not only gained no achievements in the field of foreign policy, but did serious damage to the American nation because his gravely unreasonable decisions made people question the rationality of the American ruling system and dropped the US –once the world's superpower- in rankings and put it next to the ineffective countries in the global equations. The loss of American citizens as a result of Trump's irrational and seemingly heroic policies regarding foreign policy is now completely obvious to all the American people or international observers. He was his most ardent fan of his own feats in international relations. Some of his manners only served some dramatic purpose and he was solely trying to pretend to be an authoritative, effective and successful leader of global transformations. After he withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and issued a film showing him pretending to sign the withdrawal from the deal, he promised to replace it with a better and more practical deal for the American people and the global community, however, he failed. He tried to force Iran to return to the forced negotiations about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, ballistic missiles and security arrangements of the West Asia region by imposing many sanctions on Iran which went far beyond a thousand; but his attempts in this regard also were met with complete failure. He was also unsuccessful to end Iran oil waivers and drive its oil exports to zero –a plan he had considered quite achievable. The US Secretary of State and Secretary of the Treasury's attempts to impoverish Iranian people to bring the high Iranian officials to their knees and yield into American demands were futile, too. By ordering to assassinate the Iranian martyr commander, Haj Qasem Soleimani, Trump tried to decrease Iran's importance, influence and successes in global transformations, but was instead terrified of the biggest funeral ceremony for Haj Qasem and Abu Mehdi in eight Iranian and Iraqi cities. He had pledged that he would restore America's prestige and glory, but al-Asad Airbase was officially attacked by Iranian missiles and American commanders were forced to embarrassingly evacuate the base. His Middle East peace plan, known as "deal of the century", was supposedly a proposal to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but in actuality a unilateral plan with unknown aspects designed to eliminate Tel Aviv's security concerns –that didn't work either. He took every risk to give power and glory to Saudi Arabia –the world's largest oil producer- against the poor but resistant Yemenis, but his plans backfired. He attempted to stop China's economic growth and Yuan's power against dollar –which was challenging America's economic fate and domestic market- but things went wrong again. He tried to render Beijing ineffective in front of Washington by imposing recurrent tariffs on Chinese imports, but had an inaccurate reading of the situation. He unsuccessfully tried to defeat Russia in both global and regional equations. He gave his word to improve American citizens' economic and social lives by changing his policies in global equations, but ended up inviting chaos and violence into the American streets by pursuing wrong policies, and then added insult to injury by suppressing those who protested to the social injustices. He talked about people's demands and will, but staged a coup against democracy when he failed to win enough votes to stay in the White House and issued a warrant to attack the Congress –a decision which led to his prosecution on account of his leading the mobs storming the Capitol. 
Trump's name will go down in the American history as the symbol of failure and populistic decisions and his stressful presidency would be the object of scholars study as one of the most teachable periods in global transformations. 
We can list many reasons regarding Trump's consecutive failures in global equations the most important of which could be his provocative policies and use of radical elements in the arena of foreign policy. He was radical in employing punitive policies, imposing sanctions and using power as a tool in negotiations and diplomacy with other countries of the world and went so far as making the United States' friends and allies to yield in and follow his policies in multilateral equations, threats of sanctions and imposing pressure. The pressure he put on European countries to follow American suit in its anti-Iranian policies is an example of these radical strategies. Trump chose the main members of his cabinet from the radical figures and appointed one of the most radical CIA chairmen as the Secretary of the State. By choosing such strategies and cabinet, he practically replaced diplomatic initiatives in the equations of the foreign policy with a military dialogue. Based on the aforementioned evidence and countless other pieces, the White House couldn't resolve its priorities –relations with Russia, China and the West Asia project (with Iran in it)- during Trump's presidency or reach any success in any of them. For all the ridiculous costs, Trump failed to have a sizable accomplishment in any of the American foreign policy issues or priorities. 
Trump's failure as a president who is supposed to manage the foreign political changes of the United States was clearly predictable from only a few months into his presidency, and the expectations from him to change his costly and futile policies only went higher from the second half of his presidency. Consequently, the observers and American commentators could predict that soft and consistent changes in American policies would be definite after Biden came to power. However, apparently the signals received from the forty-sixth American president's statements and decisions during his first months in the office can only show that American's approaches during the presidency of the new president, Joe Biden, will not be conspicuously different from what they were before and America's foreign policy approaches will still be a fry cry from wisdom and moderation. From the theorists' point of view, few examples of Joe Biden's wrong policies –which have also raised criticism from the media- include: 
In dealing with China, Joe Biden is still following a radical interfering approach and has even gone further from Trump's government in this regard. Criticizing Biden's behavioral model in arranging bilateral relations with Beijing and mentioning Chinese president's phone call to his American counterpart, Economic Times wrote: there is a tone shift from the former Trump administration to Biden regarding China –from confrontation to competition, and the confrontation can lead to a disaster for both the countries and the world as well; Beijing and Washington should invest on new solutions to avoid misjudgment and misinterpretation. In the phone call between Biden and Xi Jinping, Biden expressed concerns about China's "coercive and unfair economic practices", its crackdown in Hong Kong, human rights abuses in Xinjiang and increasingly assertive actions in the region in order to dominate the South China Sea. In defense of Washington's interfering stances against Beijing, American Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said: "To be fair, Trump was right to take a tough stand on China." 
Despite the fact that majority of Western politicians and media are against Saudi Arabia's policy in suppressing the Yemenis and criticize America's unconditional support of Saudi Arabia –which was unprecedentedly high during Trump's presidency- and consider it one of the factors leading to the massacre of Yemeni civilians by Saudi Arabia, American Secretary of State calls his Saudi counterpart and instead of rectifying the previous policies condemns Yemenis' cruise missile attack on Abha International Airport and consult with him about their joint attempts to reinforce Saudi's defense system. 
The American government under Trump's presidency withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and The Islamic Republic of Iran remained committed to this international deal for even a year after that; however, Biden's government which includes American veteran politicians is following Trump's wrong suit. Instead of the outright cancellation of all the cruel anti-Iranian sanctions and offering an apology for the cruelty against each and every one of the Americans and condemning the bullying American politicians who tried to create scarcity and starvation among the Iranians, and eventually modestly returning to a deal of which he was one of the founders, speaks with arrogance and reiterates that if Iran comes back into full compliance with its obligations under the JCPOA, the United States will do the same. American Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, repeated Biden's stances and claimed that they could return to the deal only if Iran becomes committed to the nuclear agreement's requirements. He emphasizes the fact that Iran ignored the limitations one by one and tries to hide American president's sheer violation of the agreement and adds threateningly: "We are still concerned about Iran's aggressive policies, its ballistic missiles and Iran's destabilizing activities in the region." Biden is trying to complete Trump's incomplete path by these threats and use the tried and untrue model of the previous leaders of the White House to bring Iran to its knees. By looking at the White House's new team's behavioral model towards the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) we may as well say that Biden is Trump's Vice President an Blinken is his Secretary of the State trying so hard to pursue his patterns in international relations. This behavioral model has aroused many criticisms in the American society. Lawrence Davidson, the American analyst, examined the United States' new government's problems with Iran in the CounterPunch magazine and concluded that they employed the same strategy as Trump against Tehran. He described Blinken's statements about the necessity of Iran's compliance with its obligations as "childish" and quoted Blinken as: "After Iran decided to come back into full compliance with its obligations, Washington would try to formulate a stronger and longer accord to cover more concerns." Davidson called Trump an immoral paranoid for imposing hostile sanctions on Iran and employing radical policies against it and added, "Now we should ask Biden why he decided to imitate his predecessor and follow his radical approaches against Iran?" 
Then, he answers his own questions: "The answer is clear; Biden is also under the pressure of the lobbying of the same groups with which Trump sympathized. He insists that Israel and Zionist supporters are the first on the list of the lobbyists. 
However, the new tenants of the White House must be aware of the fact that American laws, originated from the oppressive spirit of this country, give them enough authority to employ different approaches to serve the interests of the powerful groups in the US (and not the ordinary people) and manage the equations regarding the United States. But, they should also bear in mind that they are facing with plenty of limitations in making crisis and fighting independence-seeking nations and freedom-fighters that would eventually thwart them in achieving their goals in different arenas of foreign policy: 
Regression and unrest in global economic transformations; a chaotic situation which has unsettled the balance between China and the United States and has rendered Washington unable to maneuver in the international equations. 
The collapse of America's exclusive dominance in the field of new technologies which has led to this country's return to a less developed state in economic, security and strategic equations. A notable example showing that the US is lacking behind in the field of new technologies is the case of micro aerial vehicles (MAVs) which can be a menace to American security domains and are now out of Pentagon's defense system control. General McKenzie confessed that the United States is unable to deal with the attacks of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). 
Unemployment, inflation, and poverty are undeniable threats to the American society and America's street crises –even if suppressed- show that the leaders of this country couldn't even succeed in providing the bare minimum for people to live on. It all can indubitably affect their performance in the field of foreign policy. 
The American society has an aging population which means that too few are working and too many are aging and retiring. This can both cripple the half-broke American economy and have social impacts on people's dynamism. 
It was all a part of the reality which should prescribe the necessity of proceeding with caution for the White House. The Islamic Republic of Iran is moving towards growth in a slow but consistent fashion and is simply relying on the God and the nation's capabilities; we know that success is within our reach and Biden's controversial statements and provocations in dealing with Iran is not entirely unknown to the Iranian nation, government and leader. From the Iranian point of view, the White House's policies in different eras (whether the republicans are running the country or the democrats) to cope with Iran –which American politicians have always considered an important threat- have always been consistent. The only difference between the two parties has been in the way they put those confrontational policies into action. The Iranian nation has lost hope that the White House or its policies ever change, but now that the American voters have demanded change, the government should comply since the absolute conformity to the policies of the defeated party and rival goes nowhere and can only up the costs of defeat for Biden. In order to decrease the moral and financial costs and achieve a modicum of success both inside and outside the country, Biden must get as far away as possible from the failed experiences of the previous presidents in acting against the will of the nations. 


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