The World

May 10, 2018

Trump’s ‘dumb luck’ decision-making may not last

Just when naysayers were starting to rethink Donald Trump's brinkmanship, he drives the US right over the edge. Does pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal prove it was all dumb luck?

Professor Damien Kingsbury

Crikey international affairs commentator

Donald Trump

Just a couple of weeks ago, President Donald Trump’s naysayers were having to re-think on his Korea strategy and, potentially, his wider unorthodox political style. Perhaps, they were being forced to ask themselves, his brinkmanship really was responsible for what is looking like a rapprochement between North and South Korea and potentially the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

Alternatively, with encouragement from China, Kim Jong-un was already intending to move towards a "weapons for peace and aid" deal and Trump’s blustering was just dumb luck.

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8 thoughts on “Trump’s ‘dumb luck’ decision-making may not last

  1. old greybearded one

    It’s about the Saudis where Trump has business and his son in law’s interests in the West Bank. Iran are no angels, but the Saudis and some of the Gulf states are true mongrels and have funded those who kill our soldiers on an umber of occasions. Who the hell do we think pays the Taliban’s bills?

  2. Peter Hannigan

    There is an alternative take on North Korea and the current move to negotiate than attributing it to Trump. The Kims needed to survive, and looking at the international scene the conclusion would have been that you are only relatively free from external intervention if you have both nuclear weapons and delivery systems for them. Kim the youngest accelerated that (and there could be a range of reasons for this) and now he has them in hand he can negotiate.

    Kim may consider that Trump is a good mark to try working on – both to diffuse or delay his hostility while he is in the Presidency, and to see if Kim can sneak something through given Trump’s lack of interest in detail and desire for some grand moments of achievement for himself.

    I think one thing we can be sure of is that despite what grand words or long term ‘deal’ is agreed North Korea will not be giving up its nuclear capability. That is its insurance policy. The great irony may be that this is exactly what Trump has just taught the Iranians – you are only secure if you have nuclear weapons.

  3. David Nicholas

    As someone who has reported on American politics in the US — some 30 years — which included following in detail for the two years the tough back and forth of negotiations in Geneva and Vienna to arrive at the JCPOA, the Trump decision to take America out of the agreement is an act of wilful calculated stupidity. This act changes at the very least the balance of power in the Middle-East at the least and a nuclear winter at the worst. Of the two choices as I see it nuclear winter would bring a truly lasting peace to the Middle-east in that everyone would be dead.
    The unfortunate game that is now in play is that the change in the balance of power in the Middle-east is the manifest destiny of the ultimate fascism of Israeli Prime Minster Bibi Netanyahu. Bibi has a dream of realising the state of Greater Israel which is way larger than the the Israel laid out in 1948. Not everyone and probably most Jews in Israel do not adhere to this vision but that Bibi is so invested in this, it is why he is so preoccupied with Iran’s rise and why he wants to stamp it out in a crushing defeat in what he believes will be a short war. Now war he might get but it won’t be short. Bibi is short on credentials as a wartime Prime Minister. Given whatever crisis that inflames him at any particular time such as the recommended indictment on corruption charges, Bibi goes to ground and hides. So Israelis will be found wanting in his attempt in leading the them against the perceived ‘Philistines’ of Iran.
    Following the negotiations and the conduct of the Iranians in these negotiations I found them to be exemplary in their conduct. Hard bargainers certainly but their word and following the letter of the agreement has been true.
    Iran as seen in the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s doesn’t give up from what I’ve seen. That war ended in a truce as both sides fought to exhaustion, death by poison gas being a major factor. The huge loss of manpower is why Iran fights small wars of proxy in Syria, Yemen and controls Iraqi politics in Baghdad in Iraq and finances and supports Hezbollah in the Lebanon.
    So as a optimist generally I am pessimistic of how this callous grand play of Trump’s ends. I often tell friends that this jerk can get us all killed. The telling feature of this shirker from military service is that the rapture of his braggadocio is that he thinks that his actions in this won’t kill him. Little does he know. Such fools do guide us now. Yes indeed they do.

    1. AR

      JFI, “.. a dream of realising the state of Greater Israel ..” that would be Eretz Israel, from the Great River (Nile) to the Euphrates which is still a wet dream for the crazies.

  4. Christopher Darwent

    Professor Kingsbury offers startling new information in stating that “The JCPOA led to Iran agreeing to stop its nuclear weapons program in exchange for dropping economic sanctions.” The Obama administration’s negotiators must have been truly skilled to secure Iranian agreement to cease a program that’s never been admitted to, nor proven to exist.

    What the JCPOA actually involved was Iran agreeing to onerous conditions well beyond those required by the Non-Proliferation Treaty (to which Iran has long been a signatory) in exchange for partial relief from US-led economic terror. The sanctions were illegitimate, and arguably illegal, when pushed by Obama and will continue to be under Trump.

  5. AR

    The range of the F15/16 Eagles, eg of the Israeli air force, fully laden with extra fuel tanks (forget munitions) is barely 3,500 miles.
    The areas of interest in Iran are a great deal further than the early morning sorties into Syria.
    The 1981 attack on Iraq’s Osirak reactor was the effective range fully armed
    Unless the IAF is intent on being some latter day Holy Wind the only way it could attack Iran would be with US assistance & refuelling – lotsa luck getting clearance over Iraq otherwise.

  6. Draco Houston

    The bluffing with North Korea reminds me so much of Obama’s “Red Line”. This is a tactic that only ‘works’ when the desired result is a foregone conclusion.

  7. [email protected]

    Reagan went in hard on the Russians and the wall came down, unfortunately except for Trump or the subsequent presidents didn’t keep the momentum up.

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