Bring it

I sincerely hope France, Germany, and the UK are dumb enough to listen to Obama’s ex-officials and call what they wrongly imagine is the God-Emperor’s bluff on the Iran deal:

Two former Obama administration officials suggested that America’s European allies should punish President Donald Trump for withdrawing from the Iran deal and levying additional sanctions on the Islamic republic.

The European Union and individual European countries are obligated to take aggressive steps to preserve the Iran deal, in order to avoid becoming Trump’s “doormat,” Steven Simon and Jonathan Stevenson argued in an op-ed that ran in The New York Times Thursday. Both Simon and Stevenson were directors on former President Barack Obama’s National Security Council (NSC).

“The European Union could, for instance, announce the withdrawal of member-states’ ambassadors from the United States. Isn’t this what states do when diplomatic partners breach solemn agreements, expose them to security risks and threaten to wreak havoc on their economies? That is, after all, what the administration is threatening to do by courting the risk of a Middle Eastern war and applying secondary sanctions to European companies,” they argued. “Depending on the American response, European capitals might even follow up with expulsion of American ambassadors.”

“It would be hard to fault these moves as irresponsible, given that they would not impair vital security functions like intelligence-sharing and law enforcement coordination. They would, however, symbolize a stark diplomatic breach that could extend to other areas in which the Trump administration needs allied support,” the former Obama officials wrote. “Thus, the White House would face the first hard choice in this whole process: a full-blown crisis in trans-Atlantic relations. If the administration’s next move were to impose secondary sanctions on Europe, the Europeans could slap its own penalties on American multinational corporations, which in turn would place additional pressure on the White House.”

It’s truly remarkable how these once-powerful bureaucrats simply don’t understand the power calculus involved. Or, as it should be phrased, the power addition. The US runs a big balance-of-trade deficit with Europe, so any such action on the part of the European governments would affect them much more severely than it would affect the United States.

We are rapidly coming to the end of the peaceful period when butter mattered more than guns. Which is why Europe is waning in influence as Russia, and particularly China, are waxing. What mattered more to the Syrian government, Germany’s cars or Russia’s anti-aircraft systems? What was more important to defeating the Islamic State, UK banking institutions or Iranian military advisors?

Any such move on the EU’s part will help break the illusion of its power and offer further encouragement to the rising nationalist movements seeking to free their peoples from the EU’s chains. In the meantime:

H.J.Ansari Zarif’s senior advisor: “If Europeans stop trading with Iran and don’t put pressure on US then we will reveal which western politicians and how much money they had received during nuclear negotiations to make #IranDeal happen.”

If Trump doesn’t already know them, he should offer the Iranians something to go public with those names.