A few of you have asked about Trump decertifying the Iran deal. I think it is a big mistake, keeping in mind the old chess maxim “The threat is stronger than the execution.” If we slap them, they slap us back by doing something like, say, green-lighting the Iraqi invasion of Kurdistan. Whatever next level of escalation we might consider, I don’t think it would do us much good.
That said, I find most defenses of the Iran deal shocking in their naivete or perhaps self-deception. The deal didn’t do much good in the first place, and came to pass because the Europeans weren’t going to uphold the previous sanctions anyway. As it stands, the Iranians continue to enrich uranium and develop and test long-range missiles, and they could buy a bomb from North Korea as quickly as it would take to deliver the package. Furthermore, they still support terrorism on a large scale, talk gleefully about the destruction of Israel, and in general their citizenry favors the idea of the government having nuclear weapons. They simply decided that a slower path toward nuclear weapons, rooted in stronger international economic relations, was in their national interest. However much you think they have or have not violated the formal terms of the treaty, they’re using the treaty to get a better, richer, and more stable version of nuclear weapons. Israel and Saudi Arabia, the two countries that don’t have the luxury of wishful thinking on these issues, understand this quite well.
The thing is, Trump’s action won’t change any of this, and will only make us seem less reliable, should someday further action be required. It is a foolish, high time preference move, but those who support it — Trump included — often have a better understanding of the underlying realities than do the critics.