Deal and stick!

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Donald Trump is not a politician in the traditional sense, nor is he a classic businessman. He is known as a man of “deals”. In his book The Art of the Deal, he outlines his approach and in foreign policy he is always looking for a deal without taking into account the traditional strategic principles of previous US administrations. Confirmation of this is the deal of the economic agreement with Canada and Mexico, looking for a deal with North Korea, and looking for the biggest deal with China to force it to take a more equitable position, in Trump’s view, in its trade with America.

Now that Trump has canceled the nuclear deal between America and its allies with Iran, the US president has approved a series of painful economic sanctions in an attempt to deter the Iranian regime from expanding terrorism in the region through criminal armed groups such as Hezbollah and Al-Houthi and from threatening the movement of oil in the Arabian Gulf which is a direct threat to the international economy. In the end Trump is looking for a better deal with the Iranian regime, a deal that politicizes the system and counts as a foreign policy achievement as he prepares for the 2020 presidential election. In doing so he has applied the timeless dictum of US President Theodore Roosevelt who said: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

Iranians believe they are bargain geniuses and deal with their counterparts as if they were customers in the bazaar. They have succeeded in the past in different circumstances, but today Iran is on its knees. It suffers from a frightening economic situation, a loss of international credibility and accusations of its support for terrorism. It is unclear what the deal will be if and when it comes and whether the big stick will be used and in what way.

The drums of war are beating and cannot be ignored. The global economy has so far appeared to be betting on a last-minute deal, especially with the recent meeting in the White House of the US president with his Swiss counterpart, as Switzerland represents the interests of America in Tehran. It’s time to hold your breath.


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