On Tuesday, former State Department officials Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky penned a sober assessment in Politico of the damage President Donald Trump is doing to U.S. foreign policy. The president's extreme stances aren't just hurting U.S. standing, they warned, they are also creating a mess that will be nearly impossible for the next president to undo.
On Iran, the authors said, Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laid out a list of extreme demands that will make it hard for any future president to broker a nuclear agreement. The pointless decision to designate the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group and sanction countries making deals for Iranian oil will further isolate America.
Even worse, they noted, Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton are risking all-out war. "There is a growing risk that U.S. forces and Iranian IRGC units and Iranian-backed militias could stumble their away into an unintended conflict, especially in Iraq or Syria but also in Yemen, where the administration's unstinting support for the Saudi Arabia's inhumane and ineffectual military campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthis risks further provoking Houthi missile attacks on the Kingdom, creating a pretext for the Trump administration to come to the Kingdom's defense."
Iran isn't the only issue on which the Trump administration is threatening peace for years to come, they argued — it is also wrecking any chance of a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
"Over the past year the administration has waged a relentless campaign of economic and political pressure against the Palestinians — closing the PLO office in Washington, withdrawing U.S. assistance from the UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees and cutting aid to the Palestinian Authority," the authors say. They also note that the administration has abandoned the idea of a two-state solution, have no interest in a deal that will cede majority control of the West Bank to Palestine, needlessly declared Jerusalem the capital of solely Israel before any deal has been reached, and recognized Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights — all of which essentially shatters decades of diplomacy and U.S. consensus on the issue.
"In its own inimitable way, the administration is well on its way to hanging closed for the season signs on both improving relations with Iran and on a two-state solution and, sadly, irreversibly damaging American credibility and national interests in the process," the authors conclude. And the next president will be faced with this reality.