Wednesday Night #1887

Written by  //  May 9, 2018  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Any other news pales in comparison to the not-unexpected-but-still-hardly-believable announcement by Trump today that the US is pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal.

This is one of the better early pieces published:
Trump Continues to Rebrand America As Weird and Flaky
Pulling out of the Iran deal breaks a long U.S. foreign policy tradition of avoiding surprises — and it works against all the president’s goals.
(New York Magazine) The president provided all the television staples of national-security seriousness. He described the threat posed by Iran with headline-worthy hyperbole. No one thinks Iran is close to having a missile that can “threaten American cities” (that would be North Korea). He said Israel had provided new information about Iran’s nuclear intentions — all of which dated from before the agreement was signed and implemented, but never mind. And, with a flourish, he signed a national-security directive that would, he said, institute “the highest level of economic sanction.”
But wait. Insiders had told reporters an hour before that sanctions would not be re-imposed for six months. Statements from the White House and other agencies provided no details on when sanctions would come, or what they would include. In the prose of the White House fact sheet, “Those doing business in Iran will be provided a period of time to allow them to wind down operations in or business involving Iran.”

Meanwhile Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Theresa May spoke by phone to discuss Trump’s decision, a Downing Street spokesperson said, “and agreed their continuing commitment” to the pact. (Politico Eu)

Barack Obama issued a rare statement, pointing out that “at a time when we are all rooting for diplomacy with North Korea to succeed, walking away from the JCPOA risks losing a deal that accomplishes – with Iran – the very outcome that we are pursuing with the North Koreans.”

The Washington Post editorial board frets that Trump’s Iran decision just brought us closer to war “President Trump’s decision to abrogate it over the opposition of our European allies and without a clear strategy for replacing it is reckless and, most likely, self-defeating. Mr. Trump has opened a rift with Britain, Germany and France, who were partners to the pact along with Russia and China, and he has handed Iran’s Islamic regime some unfortunate opportunities.” Nicholas Kristof echoes the sentiment: Trump’s Rejection of Iran Deal: Not Foreign Policy, but Vandalism while The Guardian underlines that “hardliners in Iran have been given a new lease of political life with Trump’s decision … , seizing on an opportunity to consolidate their power over reformists who championed the pact.

And, of course, the Saudis and Israel are applauding.
Brookings experts have weighed in with comments that generally reflect what other pundits are saying, but importantly, Bruce Riedel, Senior Fellow in the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence and the Center for Middle East Policy, addresses Saudi concerns

Washington – or at least the White House – continues to trumpet (yes, pun intended) DJT’s role in bringing North Korea to the table, although skeptics about the outcome of a Trump-Kim meeting abound. [Will Exiting the Iran Accord Undermine a Deal With North Korea?
Significantly,  Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met in Tokyo Wednesday and have agreed to work together to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons and on a three-way and regional free trade agreements. This, coupled with the news of Kim’s earlier meeting with President Xi Jinping, points to the importance of China’s role and that of the three Asian nations. It also makes one wonder why Washington is still picking a trade fight with China.
We look forward to Cleo’s views and analysis.

The focus on the Trump-Kim meeting has just about eclipsed discussion of any other international matters, but readers of the Globe & Mail may be encouraged that Minister Chrystia Freeland stated yesterday that NAFTA talks are making “constant progress” toward a deal which explains Why Trudeau’s reaction to Trump’s Iran decision was muted  The June G7 meeting in Charlevoix doesn’t get much ink either, but La Presse paints a picture of the security provisions surrounding the meeting at the Manoir Richelieu. Very glad we don’t have to cope with the disruptions and still concerned that Donald Trump may cast an acquisitive eye on the beautiful golf course.
Highly recommended reading:  In  Is there such thing as a singular Canadian foreign policy? Marie Lamensch of MIGS explores the ways Quebec and other regions within Canada pursue their own global agenda, undermining the myth of a unified national interest.

Cannot pass on the news that Ollie North is the new president of the NRA – how appropriate!

Finally, in local news:
Dr. Howard Chertkow appointed as the new Chair in Cognitive Neurology and Innovation at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute
We are delighted that our friend and David’s wonderful doctor, Howard Chertkow has been recognized in such a spectacular way, but so very sad that Toronto’s gain is Montreal’s loss.

It was a thrill to be present at the announcement that Chez Doris women’s day shelter gets $1M gift from retired Montreal businessman
Congratulations to Marina Boulos and her team. This will make a huge difference in the lives of so many women.

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