As Donald Trump landed in the UK on Monday for a state visit, we had to ask ourselves: is Trump’s America a “normal nation”? Someone should have asked Mike Pompeo, who said that the US was, for the first time, “prepared to engage in a conversation” with Iran ”with no pre-conditions,” but immediately added that “[w]e are certainly prepared to have that conversation when the Iranians can prove that they want to behave like a normal nation”—which seems to mean the exact opposite, namely that more conditions are required after all.
What Pompeo meant might be obscure, but what a “normal nation” should mean is much clearer. And the term doesn’t describe the United States, which has sparked wars throughout the Middle East, from Iraq to Libya, has destabilized an entire region—the Middle East—and now, with the tariff war against China, is preparing to issue threats against the entire European continent and the world economy.
Trump might be in London, but he is in fact already on the long campaign trail to the presidential elections. While he was at it, he couldn’t miss the opportunity to try to strike a blow against the European Union and interfere in the internal affairs of another country. With a state visit approved for no other reasons than economic ones—concerning the UK’s deals with Beijing—the British monarchy made Buckingham Palace available to Trump for a glamorous photo-op, which he took full advantage of in view of the upcoming official announcement of his run for reelection in a few weeks. Why would Trump be interested in having talks with a prime minister who has already resigned, anyway? At most, he was interested in supporting Boris Johnson as the next Conservative leader, and giving a helping hand to his darling, Nigel Farage, who took first place in the European elections and is leading in all the polls.
The US president also brutally criticized Theresa May’s negotiated Brexit agreement, forcing May into what is likely the most ignominious possible end for her political career. Trump took pains to point out that if he had been prime minister instead of May, he would have refused to pay the €42 billion Brexit divorce bill that London will have to shell out. But that’s not all—as the Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable pointed out in the Financial Times, Trump’s America is a global threat: Trump is destroying all multilateral agreements, from the Paris climate deal to the Iran nuclear deal, the non-proliferation treaties in Europe and even the WTO itself.
The British will soon realize what Brexit actually means when they are forced to negotiate with Trump on their own. The plans for Britain to leave the EU put a lot of emphasis on the “special relationship” that has historically existed between London and Washington, but when the British will have to negotiate a free trade agreement with the United States, they will become aware of the fact that Trump will do them no favors. And they will almost certainly regret losing their previous status in the EU, especially if they exit with no deal, as Farage and Johnson would like. This is why Trump is the only one who benefited from the whole dog and pony show with the Queen, which will one day be seen as the pointless spectacle it truly was.
Trump’s America is not a normal nation. The president is complaining about the Russians and Syrians who are fighting against al-Qaeda jihadists in Idlib—the very ones that the Americans had been training to overthrow Assad. Of course, he did not say a word about Israel, which is firing missiles at the Syrian army. For Trump’s allies, everything is forgiven—especially for Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the two sponsors of the “Kushner Plan” for Palestine, who are being armed to the teeth to frighten Iran and wage a devastating war in Yemen, which is on the brink of total collapse. We should admit that we are also giving the Saudis a hand with the RWM-branded bombs made in Sardinia—indeed, the Europeans have no reasons to pat themselves on the back.
As regards Iran, before Pompey’s apparent overture—“wordplay,” as Tehran described it—the US had already decided to send ships and troops into the Gulf. In fact, the first condition for the start of negotiations between Washington and the Islamic Republic would have to be the cessation of military pressure from the US and its allies, not only in the Gulf but throughout the region: can it really be a coincidence that Israel has again struck Syria, an ally of Iran? Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been perfectly clear: he is available for negotiations if the United States were to demonstrate respect for Iran’s dignity. So far, Trump has shown very little respect for international law in any form, as he decided to exit the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran without any real, specific reason.
No, the US is not a normal nation, and it doesn’t want other countries to be. After denouncing the Iran treaty, the US imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran, preventing everyone else from doing transactions with Tehran and from purchasing their oil, and setting sanctions against all foreign banks and foreign companies which have business relations with the Iranians. Trump’s America doesn’t want Iran to survive—nor does it want other countries to have the right to their own sovereignty. While asking Iran to be a “normal nation,” the US itself is acting as the very opposite of one.