While most eyes are on the president’s ongoing battles with the press and Democrats relating to collusion, other assorted charges, and North Korea, two extraordinarily important issues are unfolding abroad with much less fanfare.
The first is unprecedented protest in Iran, a country that always discourages dissent aggressively. The importance of this development is too great to ignore. Iranians are disgruntled with the priorities of the ayatollah leadership that controls the country with an iron fist. Most of the money generated by oil revenues and the $100 billion Obama gave Iran two years ago, as part of his efforts to endear himself to Iranians, has been used to fund the country’s nuclear program and subversive military adventures in Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq and Syria.
Iranians have experienced hyperinflation, food shortages and generally poor economic conditions that include high unemployment. Exacerbating all this is repressive governmental control of the daily lives of average Iranians.
The protests are yet another new Arab Spring in which average people are clamoring for more government spending to improve their lives. In addition unhappy citizens are demanding more human rights and democratic rule, all anathema to repressive government leadership.
The Trump administration via Nikki Haley, the US United Nations ambassador, are siding with and encouraging the protesters to the dismay of Iran leadership and all of Iran’s Shiite allies.
As expected other Security Counsel members are against US intrusion in Iranian internal affairs. A massive revolt in Iran would not be in the economic interests of several European countries and Russia along with the Shiite world. The opposition is saying that the US is using the protests as a means to ultimately abrogate the Iran nuclear deal. The derivative impact of the deal has enabled European countries to dramatically increase trade with Iran over the past two years since the signing of the pact.
It’s time for the US to do everything possible to encourage a regime change in Iran. More sanctions, even without support from other nations, are in order and recommended. This could be the final strike that could result in a change in government.
The second situation that has been somewhat underreported by the press relates to the Israel/Palestinian conflict. For the umpteenth time the combatants are trying to determine whether they support a one-state or two state solution. Unfortunately allocation of territory in a two-state process, among countless other issues, will hamper the process indefinitely. Israel is more than reluctant to cede land that might endanger its security. Additionally the future of Jerusalem is front and center since the decision by Trump to build an embassy in the Holy City.
A one-state process is not a path preferred by Israel because of the demographics in the country. Israeli population growth is very low (2% in 2016) while Palestinian growth was 106% from 1990-2008 (4.3% per woman in 2012). Over time the Palestinians would have substantially more citizens than Israelis similar to South Africa before its revolution. The minority would rule the majority, an unsustainable situation.
A one-state solution is not a path that Israel will take because of demographics. Yet the Palestinians, if they are patient would benefit by this strategy.
A change in the Palestinian strategy to one state could make peace that much more elusive.