Tehran Times – Research Assistant at Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security, says war with Iran is not only Trump priority, but he is personally against it. Sina Azodi adds “Next presidential elections will be important because anyone who challenges Trump will use these issues to attack Trump’ policies on these issues – Trade war with China will hurt average American consumers.”
Following is the full text of the interview:
Q: Some argues that going to war with Iran is not President Trump policy preference. What is your opinion?
A: I think that not only it is not his priority, but he is personally against it. He ran on the campaign of pulling the U.S. out of the Middle East and he has repeatedly said that it is not in the U.S. interests to be engaged in the region. For example, at his State of the Union address he emphasized that great powers do not engage in perpetual wars.
Q: Some argues that President Trump priority is his trade wars. Recent trade wars with EU, China, and other are examples for this argument. What do you think?
A: I don’t think it is the trade war; rather he sees everything in transactions – that is it is a give and take – his business mentality has influenced his FP decision making: subcontracting foreign policy. In case of China, it is not just Trump that is concerned with China, U.S. views China as a potential competitor and seeks to contain China. For example one of the reasons that the U.S. pulled out of INF treaty was that China was rapidly increasing its missile capabilities while the U.S. was chained to the treaty limitations. Going back to Trump, he sees everything in transitions: you give me money I give you security. This applies to South Korea and NATO too: Pay me to protect you
Q: Based on the priority of trade war, some says President Trump’s foreign policy toward Iran will not be close to John Bolton who wishes war with Iran. What do you think?
A: I think a potential war (in form of a very limited clash- not all out) with Iran is unlikely but still possible under three scenarios
A- Miscalculation and accidental fires that no body intended (a standoff situation with one side accidentally doing something)
B- A false-flag operation someone does something and puts the blame on Iran- could be anything – attack a ship and say it was Iran
C- Force Iran to the corner so much that it decides that it has no option but to fight its way out of misery. (This is very unlikely, but has historical precedence – Japan facing the same situation decided to take on the U.S. at Pearl Harbor)
Q: Some argues if President Trump cannot reach to his goals on Iran until the beginning of the presidential campaign, maybe he fires an odious persons like John Bolton. What is your assessment?
A: Trump has the tendency of firing people that he doesn’t like or disagrees with- We know that he has some disagreements with Bolton on how to deal with Iran – But I don’t know about the timing – It could be next week – Problem with Trump is his unpredictability (which I think he does it on purpose)
Q: As Trump fights Trade war with China, North Korea negotiations, Venezuela and Iran cases are the main issues in President Trump’ foreign policy. How much do you think the upcoming elections cycle to choose the next presidential of U.S. will affected by these issues?
A: The next president will inherit a lot of foreign policy problems for the U.S. Rise of Russia and China are certainly troublesome for the U.S. U.S. as the sole superpower since 1990s is under a lot of structural pressures- that is we are moving from a unipolar world to a multipolar world.
Next presidential elections will be important because anyone who challenges Trump will use these issues to attack Trump’ policies on these issues – Trade war with China will hurt average American consumers. Relationship with allies are strained because of Trump’s pressure and the rise of China and Russia, as mentioned will put the U.S. under further pressure.