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Iran has a storied history. 2500 years ago the Archaemenid Empire of Cyrus the Great stretched around the Eastern Mediterranean into the Indus valley –  3 million square miles in total*. It is one of the world’s great sources of culture, poetry and religion.

Regime change is never easy. We should know by now**. It requires steadfast coalitions of like minded nations, years of negotiation, and tested trust. It demands consisitent leadership, and profound empathy, sensitivity to the different but no less proud histories and narratives of different peoples.

Alas the current administration is the White House of Misrule – it may not even know of Cyrus, of Persepolis or of Babylon, it certainly shows little caring. 

Instead in just two years it has:

– reneged on the 2015 Accord hard won by Obama, Kerry and the alliance of Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China that could have proved a pattern for future collaboration;

– pushed this erstwhile alliance into becoming unwilling and embarrassed critics of the US, if not open adversaries;

 – broken trust with Iran, pushed them into an Iran first mind set, and demonstrated the futility of relying on any word from the US.

The challenge posed by Iran is real and present. So too is that of North Korea and China – and here too the Trump leadership has been consistent only in its inconsistency:

– Team Management: whatever you think of Bolton, Pompeo, Ivanka Trump, or Jared Kushner as sophisticated representatives of our nation, their roles, status and responsibilities have become so confused, inconsistent and incoherent as to make impossible any building of understanding and trust within the team let alone with our opponents. The Koreans and the Chinese will know now to just wait out so incompetent and changeable a team.

– Cover Up: out negotiated, out witted, out strategised and with nothig to show for his efforts the President has turned to redefining his failure in Asia simply by miscalling it a success – the deal with China “could be very historic”, his photo op with Kim Jong-Un was “legendary”.

The United States is being misled by an egregious reframing of the President’s own dishonest narrative – this is an emperor with no clothes. He has a counter productive trade war of his own making, he has lost the trust of his allies, he has manufactured crises on all fronts and ensured that any moral authority America may have built under Obama has been shredded.

Happy 4th of July. James

* Roughly three quarters the size of present day USA.

** The US has broadly failed in all its attempts since 1946.