By pulling out of the nuclear accord with Iran, Trump is gambling that Iran wont rock the boat too much. That may prove complacent.
“Mr. Trump, we are the honest men who have throughout history guaranteed the safety of this region’s waterways,” said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a televised speech last month. “Do not play with the lion’s tail, it will bring regret.”
Clearly, the Iranian leader was threatening to block or attack ships in the Straits of Hormuz, considered the world’s most important oil artery, with a third of the world’s seaborne oil supply passing through the chokepoint every day, which amounts to a daily shipment of 17 million barrels, should the US reimpose sanctions against Iran.
Ignoring Rouhani’s threat, and defying a UN resolution, which had been ratified by all permanent members of the Security Council and honoured by the Iranian regime, US President Trump reimposed sanctions on Iran on August 7, which has not only done irreparable damage to the notion of international law, but also puts the United States on a chosen path of conflict rather than cooperation.
Essentially, Trump has indeed grabbed the proverbial lion’s tail with both hands, and now his Iranian counterpart has a small window to ensure Trump truly comes to regret it.
Rouhani is fully aware of the fact that the US mid-term elections are now less than 3 months away, a nation wide election that will in all likelihood determine whether or not Trump will serve out the second half of his first four year term in office.
The political headwinds blowing in Trump’s face is becoming a mini-typhoon. Not only is he contending with a job approval rating that ranks among the lowest in modern times, but also the Department of Justice investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election has ensnared his long time lawyer Michael Cohen, former campaign manager Paul Manafort, former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates, former national security advisor Michael Flynn, and promises to soon take down his son Donald Trump Jnr.
When Trump looks outside from within the Oval Office, he sees the wagons circling and getting closer. Charges to conspire against the United States, obstruction of justice, federal election law violations, and even money laundering are now looming on the horizon.
Effectively, the only thing standing between Trump and impeachment, and possibly even prison time is his political party’s control of the House, Senate, and United States Supreme Court. All of which, with the exception of the Supreme Court, might be undone if the Republicans loose the November elections.
Should the Democratic Party seize control of either the House, Senate, or both, they will be in position to launch any number of party led investigations into a number of directions, all of which promise to end badly for Trump, and no one knows this better than the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Were Rouhani to carry through his threat to use its military capabilities to impede, block or attack oil transport ships in the Straits of Hormuz, it would unleash the third great oil shock on the United States. The first being in 1973 when the OPEC states sought to punish the US for its role in re-supplying the Israeli military during the 1973 Arab-Israel war. The second being when the Iranian Revolution caused a sudden drop in global oil production in 1979.
The latter oil crisis not only triggered a recession in the US, but was also a major contributing factor towards President Jimmy Carter’s failed re-election bid in 1980.
A leading oil and gas analyst predicts oil prices could jump from their current level of $66 per barrel to more than $250 almost overnight. A quadrupling of the oil price could then cause a quadrupling of the price Americans pay for gas at the pump, which would trigger an economic crisis for US households.
US voters would most certainly lay the blame at Trump’s feet, given he unilaterally created this crisis by tearing up the multilateral denuclearisation deal, one that Iran had been in full compliance with, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
A Trump caused economic crisis would most certainly turn what is already predicted to be a “blue wave” turnout in the midterm elections into an epic proportion blue tidal wave, and thus handing control of both houses to the Democrats for the first time since 2010.
A suddenly depressed domestic economy coupled with the myriad of scandals surrounding Trump would fast track impeachment hearings, and all but guarantee an end to his presidency.
The irony is too delicious to ignore. A president who was pushed by his neoconservative and pro-Israel backers into trying to affect regime change in Iran is brought down by the very same regime he tried to oust.
Iran affected regime change in the United States in 1980, and it could do so yet again in the next year or two.
Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of TRT World.
We welcome all pitches and submissions to TRT World Opinion – please send them via email, to firstname.lastname@example.org