Iran summit: Europe’s silent rebuke
President Trump’s Middle Eastern summit was a diplomatic “dumpster fire,” said Heather Hurlburt in NYMag.com. The administration last week co-hosted a 60-plus-nation conference in Warsaw with Poland, in a desperate attempt to rally the world to its hard-line Iran policies. Lecturing “allies in public” is not normal, but Vice President Mike Pence called out “Britain, France, and Germany by name,” demanding they pull out of the 2015 nuclear accord, as the U.S. did last year. He also reprimanded them for undermining American sanctions with a “financing mechanism” that allows their trade with Iran to continue. In his cringeworthy speech, Pence’s obvious applause lines—such as his declaration that “the time has come for our European partners to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal”—were met with stony silence.
Trump’s “Warsaw war rally” accomplished only one thing, said Simon Tisdall in The Guardian. It exposed the “deep and widening divisions between the U.S. and its principal European allies.” To European leaders, a host of more pressing problems—including Syria, the war in Yemen, the plight of the Palestinians—are of far more concern than a “beleaguered, battered Iran.” How ironic, said Tom Rogan in WashingtonExaminer.com. All of those regional problems stem from Iran. It “fuels terrorism and bad governance in the Palestinian territories.” It launches missiles from Yemen into Saudi cities. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and militias will “play a leading role in the coming slaughter” of Sunni civilians in Syria. Iran undermines democracy in Baghdad and Beirut and exports terrorism globally. As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in Warsaw, “You can’t achieve peace and stability in the Middle East without confronting Iran. It’s just not possible.” That Western Europe doesn’t agree with him doesn’t make it any less true.
The fascinating thing about all this, said Kathy Gilsinan in TheAtlantic.com, is that at the same moment “the Iran issue” was dividing America from its European allies, it was uniting Israel and the Arab Gulf States against a common foe. In Warsaw, Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu was invited to a meeting of Arab officials, while Bahrain’s foreign minister spoke of establishing diplomatic ties with the Jewish state. All of them were united in their fear and loathing of Iran. “It was something significantly short of Middle East peace, but still significant.”