Iran test-fired a missile and the U.S. government went ballistic. It put Iran "on notice" — a phrase meaning little but with a distinct menace.
Rummaging around in the Obama administration files, the new arrivals soon discovered well-prepared plans for sanctions should Iran's actions displease. Iran was no longer 'on notice,' it was sanctioned. The Iranians are furious, saying nobody was going to stop them from defending themselves.
Saudi Arabia, the perennial U.S. ally and unhappy with the Iran agreement, was well pleased promising to increase its investments. From Wikileaks we had learned how this defender of the true faith urged President Obama "to cut off the head of the snake," meaning Iran. So a fourteen centuries-old political struggle resulting in two Islamic factions continues, complicated no doubt by the lesser known fact that Saudi Arabia's oil-rich province has a majority population who are Shia — the same form of Islam as in Iran.
The Iran agreement itself consisting of an initial Joint Plan of Action (JPA) and culminating in a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is unique in including a U.N. Security Council imprimatur and in involving the six major world powers — U.S., Russia, China, UK, France and Germany — plus, of course, Iran. Should the U.S. abrogate the agreement unilaterally, it would consequently alienate not only Iran but also its allies, major trading partners, and friend-to-be Russia, if President Trump is to be believed. Nowhere in this copious document does the word "missile" appear for Iran would not have signed the agreement.
So it was that the Obama administration put forward a resolution in the U.N. security Council to secure missile restrictions not in the tentative agreement. And it dug in its heels. Thus the Security Council Resolution 2335 passed unanimously. The U.N. and its Security Council pass all kinds of resolutions sometimes implemented much more strenuously than was the intent (as in Libya) causing chaos, often ignored (as by India on Kashmir, or Israel, and others) and generally paid not too much heed ... except when countries find it suits their purpose.
Is it all the Trump bluster? After all, his much self-vaunted business acumen consists of owning one building — Trump Tower — and a minority share in two others in New York and a few hotels. These constitute a majority of his net worth. The rest is a smattering of golf clubs and franchises.
Mr. Trump will soon discover the world stage, countries, their political leaders and their people are a different cup of tea from real estate. In the first place, the stakes are higher ... and can be deadly. And a war with Iran, a much larger, better armed country than Iraq, would be a disaster — its ramifications likely to be felt by Israel through a missile-armed Hezbollah. And its large army with easy access to Saudi Arabia's oil fields, via a Shia-run friendly Iraq government, could teach the Saudis and the Gulf States a lesson they would not soon forget — despite the U.S. base in Qatar.
If Trump has been as easily seduced by military power as Obama was, another war and even more refugees are the future.
Dr. Arshad M. Khan is a former professor whose comments over several decades have appeared in a wide-ranging array of print and electronic media.