By Mohammad Mazhari

Biden will definitely revisit the JCPOA if elected president, scholar says 

September 30, 2020 - 12:3
“America has no soft power anywhere any longer,” says American Professor William Beeman

TEHRAN - An American scholar, William Beeman, is quite sure that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will join the 2015 nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) if he wins the November presidential elections. 

“Biden will definitely revisit the JCPOA,” Beeman tells the Tehran Times.

Beeman also believes that Washington would counter adventures by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) if the Senate shifts power to Democrats.

“If the Senate shifts power to Democrats, there will be attempts to curtail MBS's actions in Saudi Arabia,” says Beeman, an internationally known expert on the Middle East (West Asia) and the Islamic world,

particularly Iran, the Persian Gulf region, and Central Asia.

“Our foreign policy is in shambles.”Here is the text of the interview with William Beeman: 

Q: Is there a court or an international body that could restrict Trump's illegal actions?

A: Unfortunately, no. The United States has withdrawn from the World Court, the International Criminal Court, and all other international judicial bodies to prevent this and prevent being judged for war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. It isn't just Iran. Almost nobody on earth can restrict Trump's actions. 

Q: What is Trump's vision toward international deals and bodies? Is Trump anti-globalist. 

A: Obama was a globalist. Trump is essentially an isolationist. He does not want multinational agreements. He wants the United States to be dealing with one-on-one individually with other nations. This is a result of his background as a real-estate executive. He sees everything in very small transactional terms and doesn't understand macroeconomics at all.  He especially does not understand international trade. Everything is a point-to-point zero-sum game. 

“He (Trump) sees everything in very small transactional terms and doesn't understand macroeconomics at all.”Q: Why is the U.S. pushing hard to normalize Arab countries’ ties with Israel? 

A: This is part of Trump's "deal-making." The UAE has been trading with Israel for years through third parties. In fact, Jared Kushner and Trump have commercial interests in the UAE, and so they have encouraged this arrangement, and UAE leaders are primarily concerned with commerce. 

Trump thinks that this arrangement will hurt Iran. He is wrong. One of the unintended consequences of this action will be increased trade between Iranians of Dubai and Israel. Surely all Iranians can see this. Iranians having UAE passports can now travel to Israel, and Iranian goods can be transshipped through Dubai or Abu Dhabi and vice-versa.

Q: How do you evaluate the U.S. relationships with Arab dictators? Doesn't it contradict American values for democracy and freedom?

A: Yes, but Trump has no interest in values such as democracy and freedom. He is purely transactional, and the only things he cares about are economic arrangements, personal power, and enriching himself. He will profit tremendously from these arrangements, as will his family.

“Trump has no interest in values such as democracy and freedom.”Q: Do you expect the U.S. to change its policies in the region if Biden wins the November elections? I mean especially its support for the Saudi war against Yemen.

A: Most definitely. The United States will once again be interested in regional stability and global dynamics. Biden will definitely revisit the JCPOA. If the Senate shifts power to Democrats, there will be attempts to curtail MBS's actions in Saudi Arabia.

Q: Some critics say that warmongers have surrounded Biden, and his policies will be more aggressive than Trump. What is your comment?

A: I don't know who you get this idea from, but it is false. Trump has surrounded himself with neoconservatives who have been trying to overthrow the Iranian government for more than two decades. Trump himself has threatened violence and he loves throwing bombs and killing people because he thinks it makes him look strong. 

“Neoconservatives have been trying to overthrow the Iranian government for more than two decades.”Biden has no one in his foreign policy community that advocates war-mongering or the kind of extreme hostility we see in the Trump administration. Biden will go back to favoring diplomacy. There is one matter that will be different. Trump is protecting Russian interests, perhaps because he is personally involved with Putin and Russian oligarchs. Biden will not do this. This could result in a shift in power regarding Iran. Russia is defending Iranian interests (for their own purposes), but this may change under a Biden presidency. 

Q: How do you assess America's soft power under Trump's presidency? I mean U.S. reputation and cultural and economic ties with other countries around the world?

A: America has no soft power anywhere any longer. Trump has made the entire world angry at him, and has created disrespect for the United States.  No one can travel to the United States. No international conferences are being held here, no cultural exchanges are taking place, and diplomats are all Trump supporters who "bought" their posts, or they are career diplomats who are afraid of saying anything for fear of being fired if they do something Trump doesn't like. In addition, under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, hundreds and hundreds of diplomatic posts are empty. Pompeo hasn't made the appointments, and when State Department personnel are attacked by Trump, Pompeo doesn't defend them. So our foreign policy is in shambles.  Some people like Putin and Kim Jong Il have seen that by flattering Trump they can manipulate him. So that is what soft power consists of these days--either people hating Trump, distrusting the United States, or trying to manipulate Trump in a cynical manner.


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