Germany: Immediate Danger of Mideast War if Trump dumps Iran Deal

Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Foreign Minister warns that Europe will take the Russian and Chinese side on the Iran issue against the USA.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (Democratic Socialist Party: SPD) warned this week that if Trump pulls out of the Iran deal, it would provoke an immediate danger of another Middle East war.

He also warned that Germany and the European Union would side with Russia and China on this issue against the United States of America.

In an interview with Deutschland, Gabriel warned, “A termination of the Iran deal would turn the Middle East into a hot crisis zone.” If Iran were to turn, on the collapse of the deal, to trying to develop a nuclear weapon, it would create “the immediate danger of a new war.” He said that Israel would see such a step as a severe danger.

The SPD politician said that a US pull-out “would send a devastating signal on nuclear disarmament.” Some states, he warned, might take the cancellation of the Iran deal as a sign that they should speed up their development of an atomic bomb. It would in the aftermath be “completely illusory to hope to move North Korea to conclude a security treaty if the Iran agreement fails.”

He said that the Iran deal could become a football in American partisan politics and that unrealistic expectations, such as that Iran cease its role in Iraq, Sria and Yemen could emerge. He said you couldn’t tie that issue to nuclear non-proliferation.

Gabriel added that if Iran remained in compliance with the 2015 deal, that would “put the Europeans on the Iran issue in the same posture as Russia and China against the USA.”

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23 Responses

  1. “die unmittelbare Gefahr eines neuen Krieges” etwa mit Israel zurück.

    Israel is where he sees danger looming if Trump/Congress diss the treaty, something Obama was at considerable pains to avoid. As for the wedge in the US/Europe alliance, it was already apparent in Obama’s time, the sanctions simply cost Europe too much to be sustainable indefinitely, particularly as they don’t work.

    Trump puts me in mind of the renunciation scene in Richard II, Now mark me how I will undo myself…

    • Since I penned the above, he appears to have decided to let the AIPAC fox into the Congressional hen house and wash his hands of the whole business.

    • If any Shakespearean character is brought to mind by Trump it is Iago in Othello – a malicious little worm of a man who commits mayhem for mayhem’s sake simply out of pique. The obsessive revenge for pure spite, the malignancy he holds against anyone’s happiness, and his utter disregard – nay the delectation he takes! – in human misery are all Trumpian traits. Would that he would take a cue from Iago’s last line in the tragedy – “From this time forth I will never speak word”

  2. Foreign Minister Gabriel I beg you to please cease using language like…”“A termination of the Iran deal would turn the Middle East into a hot crisis zone.” You’re only encouraging Trump.

    For some psychological reason Trump prefers crisis to order especially if it means, like in the days of the Pharaohs, undoing anything his predecessor put in place.

  3. Putin understood perfectly. He knew Trump would not toe a pro-Russian policy line, but he also knew that last year’s election gave him an opportunity to put in the oval office what had never occupied that place before: a true incompetent.

    You don’t need Raymond Shaw; Chauncey Gardner will do quite well.

    • Chancery Gardner, despite being a moron, kept his mouth shut and let other people project. It was a testament to the lack of an individuals importance.

      Here we have the bull in a China shoppe, overworked as that cliché has become.

  4. In this context, it is worth mentioning that Trump has also decided that the US should withdraw from UNESCO, due to its “anti-Israel” bias. These policies harm the US, and the world.

  5. Isolationism is a key ingredient to Bannon’s world view, for which Trump is a highly Useful Idiot.
    It remains to be seen what Congress will throw into this mix, but complete withdrawal does not seem in the cards.

  6. This sounds like the contingency written about in the Brookings ‘Path to Persia’ Plan. This arrogance of stepping all over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has no short term, or long term, benefit for the U.S. National Security. This is where a poorly informed American is of no help. Apparently our German friends aren’t as stupid though, as we watch allies peal away from our American coalition.
    .
    Trump is certainly doing his best to prove he hates everything about Obama. Only a small and ignorant business person would interject so much hate into a business deal. And oh have you noticed how with Trump nothing is policy it’s all now about a ‘deal’….what a deal, is all Trump knows, and he’s the best at it, just ask him.

  7. In addition to the German foreign minister and a number of other European, Russian and Chinese officials, Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, who was also the EU’s chief representative at the nuclear talks, has categorically rejected Trump’s charges and has said that the EU will abide by the deal:
    link to pbs.org

    However, words alone are not enough. If Iranians see that despite warm words they are not reaping the benefits of the deal, they will pull out of it. There is no doubt that the statement that was released this morning by the Office of the Press Secretary at the White House about Trump’s new policy towards Iran bears the hallmark of Netanyahu and his supporters in the White House who write Trump’s speeches for him.

    The main question that US lawmakers and the international community must ask themselves is whether for the sake of appeasing Israel’s ultra-rightwing prime minister it is right to drag the Middle East through another devastating war and perhaps start a global conflict, or whether the time has finally come to tell Israel to resolve the Palestinian issue and put an end to this long simmering conflict, which is at the root of all the other conflicts in the Middle East.

  8. First of all Gabriel is not likely to be the FM much longer as the SPD will not stay in a Grand Coalition with the CDU/CSU.
    But even if Germany did take the side of Russia and China and I imagine Turkey as well, how would that work? The German leadership was really annoyed when Trump said that NATO was obsolete. Now are they going to suddenly agree with Trump and say NATO is obsolete? Does that mean that the German leadership will admit to the Russian Leadership that Germany and the USA bear responsiblity for the breakup of the Ukraine? Does that mean that the Germans will stop giving visas to Americans? Does it mean that Gemany will give automatice politcal asylum to Americans seeking to escape the USA?
    How will Germany work with Turkey against the USA when Turkey is even further along down the road to facism than the USA is. I will say that Erdogon at least has a good reason for his paranoia. Not everyone gets a bomb dropped on the hotel that they were just staying at.
    Anyways when I hear Merkel AND Germany’s top General say that Germany will fully side with Iran including arresting every US service menber in Gemany if neccessary then I would put some credence to the story.

  9. Interestingly, there was a story that made the rounds yesterday quoting senior Israeli officers arguing that the US not abrogate the accord. They saw an opportunity to continue to work with Tehran and build on the deal. But Trump’s blind insistence to make good on a silly electoral talking point is likely to create an unnecessary mess. We see the same MO at work with his undermining of the ACA. He could have fixed the shortcomings in Obamacare but instead chose to blow it up because…well, because.

    Yeah, it’s as bad as the pessimists predicted. And there are still a couple of months left in Year One. I hope Jill Stein is happy.

    • Let Jill Stein go del ! Don’t you see the problem is not just that Hillary did not get elected. There are structural problems in the world and in this country that the two-party system cannot answer anymore. Both parties have have failed to address the fundamental issues and disruptions brought on by globalization. Period. Blaming Jill Stein or Sanders for the mess we are in, is like covering our head in order to escape from the reality. Those two and others should be at least thanked for trying new approaches to meet the demands of our time.
      I am sorry to say that those who are waiting for a democrat to win next election to win and swing country back to the center, will be deeply disappointed. So, get over Hillary’s loss.

    • Two different parts of Israel . . .

      – The military leadership in Israel KNOWS that killing the Iran deal is very, very BAD for Israel because a USA war with Iran will devastate Israel leaving it mostly as one giant rubble heap. The military leadership has already run the simulations and KNOW that it is suicidal for Israel to attack Iran and if the USA does it, Israel will suffer massively. Per the IDF leadership, there are over 50000 reasonably accurate, very deadly HE (non-nuclear) missiles pointed at Israel (actually the published number was twice that, but I discount it because it was during budget discussions). The reason Israel has not attacked Iran already is the Israeli military leadership told Bib to go sit in the corner and shut up. Bibi is angry with the IDF and is trying to box them in by using DJT to start the war so the IDF will then have to defend Israel (based on simulations, probably not successfully)

      – Then there are the “greater Israel” politicians, especially Bibi, that want to conquer the entire Mid east and make all the Muslims subservient to the mighty Israelis. These people are delusional and have no chance of success because once they light the fuse, the bomb will go off in their face. BUT they still want to light the fuse because they just can not stand being a small backwater minority instead of global leaders like their “god” says they should be.

      So just like the USA, Israel has both adults (IDF) and delusional ADHD pre-K children (Bibi). Unfortunately in both countries, the delusional ADHD pre-K children are in charge instead of the adults.

      Per the simulations I have seen, this can very rapidly get very, very, very BAD for the USA and Israel and most Israelis and Americans are going to be shocked at the almost over-night devastation to their lives.

      This is NOT going to turn out very well for either the USA nor Israel. Iran is more powerful than the politicians in Israel and USA give them credit for

  10. But, of course knowing how easy it is to demonize Iran in the eyes of American voters, attacking Iran is red meat for the base.

  11. Since Israel would also have to see US withdrawal from the JCPOA as encouraging Iran to become a nuclear state, its a puzzle why they have been working so hard to destroy the deal.

    Of course, Israel’s real problem with Iran has more to do with its existence as a big, viable, regional state, whose government is by and large empowered by its people.

    Like Saudi Arabia in its own way, Israel lacks any real legitimacy with its neighbors that isn’t coerced, and as such will remain extraordinarily vulnerable. Especially to a country like Iran, which at this point is pretty well inoculated to economic sanctions or conventional military intimidation.

    It doesn’t matter what Iran’s history of non-aggression or declared intentions are, as Israel is quick to point out. In fact, their policies could change on a dime—which will also forever be a problem for Israel with the rest of the world, as a matter of fact. There’s a chronic pathology at work here, largely self-inflicted as it is.

    The only solution for Israel, with all its neighbors, is to see them either emasculated or destroyed as viable states. Hence, they need to maneuver the US into doing to Iran what they did to Iraq. That would be success, and beneath all the other talk this is what they are really angling toward.

    That would leave KSA and Egypt intact. But Egypt has been neutered by its reliance on the US aid, and the KSA’s legitimacy is also such that they have to buy their security from the US. They can be tolerated as such.

    What remains is to be seen is if the rest of the world, since the US is already lost, will stand up to Israel.

  12. My guess is that Trump as the spokesperson for the DOD will just spend four years villifying Iran to keep America focused against fake overseas threats while looting America at home and creating enough poverty and mass stupidity (fake patriotism) to maintain enough recruits for the military.

  13. Dick Cheney wanted to go blow off Iran back in the Bush days. Its just the same old Republican ruling class resurfacing with their lust for the flow of blood and the sale of arms. Sick sick country the USA these days. Why not withdraw all your armies from around the world and let everyone get some peace.

  14. The “wild card” is China.

    So far, Chinese leadership has been publicly polite to trump’s version of the USA, BUT given China’s 5000 year history, I suspect that the leadership is getting downright angry with trump. China does NOT want war either in the Mideast nor Asia. Wars cause lots of additional problems.

    China just wants to create a very successful 21sty century nation where most people are reasonably happy. China is NOT looking to conquer the world and control billions more people (they have already done that and discovered it is nasty and a bad idea).

    Right now, Chinese leadership is sending daily subtle messages that trump has no capacity to hear, let alone understand, so I wonder how long before Xi Jinping and his team just decide to confront the USA directly and “bitch-slap” trump publicly and then let him know he has no power over China? Basically humiliate him. I realize that trump will try to retaliate, and discover just how impotent he is.

  15. So what if the Iranians and everyone else keep to the deal? The EU is already signalling this international agreement is not something the US can unilaterally declare as defunct. What if only the word of the US proves to be untrustworthy?
    American businesses pull out of Iran, EU and the rest of the world take their place. The US could then sanction firms that continue to do business with Iran but that would be hugely unpopular in the EU.
    This has the potential for a massive split in NATO.

  16. Steerpike’s views are remarkedly rational but seem missing from US public discussion and deserve much more public consideration! And a major victim of US withdrawal/aggression would be US economy relative to other signatories Thanks

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