Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Should We Follow Trump’s Lead? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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U.S. President Donald Trump, AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Some observers promote that agreeing with U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration views against Iran is a risky adventure calling for a war. This is an exaggeration.

Policies change according to situations.

The new U.S. President adopted a policy that stands against Iran’s threatening dominance on the region. No one spoke of waging wars or even engaging in military confrontations. Instead, there is a series of measures from which Trump will choose to punish Tehran after he decides the level of confrontation.

President Trump doesn’t have to send his warships to occupy Bandar Abbas Port, for instance, to stop Iran’s armament of Houthis. It is enough for the U.S. fleet to dock near Yemeni ports and monitor the navigation activities to end smuggling of weapons.

It may be enough to revive the economic sanctions that do not contradict with the nuclear deal and were lifted by the former U.S. President Barack Obama.

Sanctions were approved by the Congress and put into action during the early days of Obama’s term and they proved to have a greater, less risky effect than all military operations in the region that could be used against Iran’s regime.

Sanctions were so effective that Tehran had to call for negotiations and, for the first time ever, showed leniency towards abandoning its nuclear project.

The two most effective elements during the sanctions were the banning oil companies from investing and working in Iran, and, what was even more painful, was preventing Tehran from using the U.S. dollar in its trade transactions.

Those criticizing any Arab cooperation with Trump against Iran for the fear that it might lead to a war can be rest assured it won’t happen. No one said war was an option.

Whereas if the U.S. President decides to launch a wide-ranging war against Iran, it is natural that we feel worried, but that is currently out of the picture. We can deal with such developments when they occur.

Tension may lead to naval battles or clashes in conflicting areas and that could happen but within a limited possibility. There won’t be any grand wars with Iran.

Nonetheless, a war never occurred between the countries and it never was part of exchanged threats. Everyone wants to avoid anything that could spark a clash and both Iranians and Americans have succeeded in doing so for decades.

No one even wants tension to develop.

It is rather superficial to consider the Gulf approval of Washington’s announcements as a wrong policy equipped with consequences, as some intellectuals stated.

The truth is that Trump is the one approaching Gulf policies, not the other way round. The new administration in Washington decided to return to the point where Obama left off when he secretly negotiated with Iran.

Some critics say that the U.S. policy can’t be trusted on the grounds that it had abandoned its cooperation with the Gulf against Iran, like Obama did. But this is politics. Each country decides its policy according to its interests.

If the Iranian government is serious in abandoning the use of power and interventions, no one would have had to resort to such alliances and coalitions.

Some regard matters from the point of view of Iran and its allies. They consider signing oil deals and agreements with the West and buying airplanes as a great achievement and break of siege. But when Arab states do the same, they are weak and submissive running after Western agendas!