Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Paul R. Pillar — The Operational Code of President Trump

Press reports indicate that later this week President Trump will “decertify” the nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), relying on a clause in the relevant review legislation that permits the president to make such a declaration even if Iran is fully complying with the accord.
That Trump has decided on this course has nothing to do with the terms of the JCPOA, with Iran, or with Iranian actions. He has not advanced a convincing case, or even a coherent argument, as to how those considerations provide a reason to cashier an agreement that is working. His decision has nothing to do with any careful analysis of what would be the most prudent policy toward Iran or toward nuclear proliferation. 
The reporting indicates that he has resisted or ignored any such analysis of this issue that his advisers have tried to undertake. In fact, Trump’s decision has nothing to do with U.S. interests.
Trump’s action regarding the JCPOA conforms instead with a personal decision-making rule that has guided his actions on a variety of issues, foreign and domestic. It is a guideline that has provided a consistent streak in a presidency that otherwise has been filled with inconsistencies. That personal rule is to attack, and preferably destroy, any significant accomplishments of the previous administration.
This is the operational code that explains, better than any other explanation, the pattern of Trump’s decisions on major issues.…
This is precisely what Trump's supporters voted for him to do if elected, along with bringing the COP establishment into line with populist policies. He is well aware of that, and if he wanders off track, he now has Steve Bannon any Breitbart to warn him about it.

The Operational Code of President Trump
Paul R. Pillar | 28-year veteran of the CIA, presently a non-resident senior fellow at Georgetown University's Center for Security Studies, as well as a nonresident senior fellow in the Brookings Institution's Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence

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