An Executive Director at Asia Centre believes that the American withdrawal from the JCPOA has led to many doubts about the United State’s willingness to uphold its international commitments.
Robin Ramcharan who is the Professor of International Relations in Bangkok, says that President Trump, despite his leadership failings, will win again if he preserves this voter base that will give him enough seats in the Electoral College. Adding “Vice President Joe Biden has a good chance of winning in November 2020, given the very poor handling of the COVID-19 crisis by President Trump and his deference to white nationalists and far-right groups during the protests.”
Ramcharan also teaches in the School of Business at Alliance; you can read his interview with ILNA news agency as follows:
Q: On 8 May 2018, Trump announced United States withdrawal from JCPOA so why his administration is trying to extend arms embargo on Iran?
A: The US is trying to extend the arms embargo, however, two key powers on the UN Security Council, Russia and China, have indicated that they disagree with such an extension and so it may not happen. In the emerging multi-polar world order the ability of one power to exert its will against smaller opponents is becoming more difficult. Smaller powers have multiple options. This trend will continue as the global geopolitical order diversifies, with several competing global powers. The Trump Administration may not fully grasp this development and therefore may be pursuing counter-effective strategies. Moreover, as President Trump is in perpetual crisis with his shrinking group of advisers, he probably is not receiving sound strategic advice.
Q: Some experts believe that the Iranian move to transport oil to Venezuela is a show of defiance against the U.S. by the two allies. What do you think about the transfer of oil to Venezuela by Iran?
A: The transfer of oil to Venezuela by Iran was significant both on humanitarian and geopolitical grounds. Venezuela is a country in crisis because of mis-governance. The economy is malfunctioning and there is a serious shortage of oil. Iran helped Venezuela to satisfy basic needs of people in their time of internal crisis. The transfer is an example of South-South cooperation but will not be well received by the Trump Administration, which has been trying to isolate Venezuela diplomatically and economically.
Q: Can we say transferring oil to Venezuela was a defeat for the United States?
A: The transfer of oil may be a minor set-back for the Trump administration’s efforts to isolate Venezuela with a view to securing internal political change in Caracas. Fortunately, Trump’s attention at the moment is almost entirely about domestic politics and the November 2020 elections so that a more serious crisis did not occur. Given this domestic US political context, Iran correctly calculated that it was an opportune time to test American reactions. Clearly the USA did not wish to challenge the convoy and may have viewed the shipments from a humanitarian lens.
Q: what about the future of JCPOA. Now the question is that the JCPOA deal is still viable or not?
A: The American withdrawal from the JCPOA has led to many doubts about the United State’s willingness to uphold its international commitments. This is costly to the United States, which is facing the weakening of its friendships around the world. The future of the JCPOA is on very thin ice. Any chance to salvage the agreement will depend on a democratic victory in the US in November 2020 and on the extent of Iran’s advancement towards a nuclear weapon.
Q: President Trump increases pressure on Iran and his administration never offer sanctions relief to Iran. Sanctions are Trump's enmity with the Iranian people in this situation do you agree?
A: President Trump, throughout his life, has consistently held the view that the rest of the world exploits the USA and that American leaders have been too weak in securing favourable deals. This partly informs his approach to Iran. He was also determined to undo President Obama’s legacy, the JCPOA being a landmark achievement, because of his not so subtle racial prejudice. These two factors combine with a third, namely, that a group of Republican advisers around him, who dislike the Iranian government intensely, believe they can secure a better deal than Obama. This appears to be a fantasy and sanctions will remain on the table all the while other face-saving solutions disappear.
Q: Joe Biden is leading Donald Trump in the national polls as the US approaches its next presidential elections. Who will win the 2020 U.S. presidential election?
A: Vice President Joe Biden has a good chance of winning in November 2020, given the very poor handling of the COVID-19 crisis by President Trump and his deference to white nationalists and far-right groups during the protests. All polls indicate a Biden victory at the moment. However, there remain 5 months of campaigning and the predictions can change very fast. President Trump, despite his leadership failings, the sexual assault allegations against him, alleged tax fraud, and his support for far-right extremist ideologies remains very popular and has a solid, unwavering group of supporters. He will win again if he preserves this voter base that will give him enough seats in the Electoral College.
Q: How will the US protests affect Donald Trump's re-election bid?
A: The riots all across the USA following the death of George Floyd, is a very positive sign. Every race and ethnicity is protesting. This was not the case in the past when many other black people were killed by police. The American ideal, of a melting pot of different people from around the world living together as one nation, has been a work in progress and is still being perfected. Despite the achievements of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, many problems remained, including systemic racism against people of colour. The police, who are increasingly operating like national military forces, will finally face serious reform to prevent future such deaths and riots. The riots may diminish Trump’s chances of re-election.