If it works, it works, however much diplomacy shudders at the methodsby Simon Jenkins / May 11, 2018 / Leave a comment
Published in June 2018 issue of Prospect Magazine
The antics of Donald Trump over Iran and Korea raise two questions. One concerns his capacity for coherent thought, the other is whether the antics might just work. Might the madcap mix of bombast and blather, willy-waving and mouthiness just achieve foreign policy goals that are beyond up-market diplomacy? If so, a lot of textbooks are going to need rewriting.
In the light of the seemingly-shambolic anti-diplomacy on Iran, it is already easy to forget the remarkable shift from screaming abuse to hugs and kisses in Korea. A logjam has loosened, and timber is flowing down- stream. As I write, at least, there is détente. Washington must be reckoned part of the cause. Even where Trump appears bent on vandalism, as with the Iran deal, he is more concerned with posturing as a troublemaker than driving through a consistent policy. To risk opening a hot war in the Middle East and threatening to bomb Iran seems extreme, but if we’ve learnt one thing, it’s to not take Trump’s words at face value, but await the consequences of what he has (or as often has not) actually done.