Trump Creates Doubt in U.S. Leadership

Nov 30, 2018

Commentary: Iran’s oil production in 2017 was about one billion barrels—with the majority going to Southeast Asia—mainly China. Since sanctions were lifted in 2016, it started to sell crude oil to Europe. Trump has now put sanctions back on Iran oil sales. Will it be successful?  I and others doubt it will. Trump has frustrated our European allies and instigated a trade war with China. On the world market, oil is a commodity, meaning there are trivial differences about where it comes from.

Just to spite trump and his boorish behavior, most countries will find a way around these sanctions. In a recent survey, seven in ten people around the world have no confidence in Trump’s leadership. In France, only 9% have confidence in him. Black markets will thrive.

Trump will claim sanctions are working--but I will bet that one year from now, Iran will have similar oil sales it has today. Trump denying CIA conclusions that the Saudi crown prince was responsible for the killing of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi--will only add to this mistrust.

What if the U.S. has a serious international incident—will the rest of the world care?