Last December and a few weeks after the US Presidential elections, Henry Kissinger paid a visit to Donald Trump to better understand his world views and gauge his foreign policy priorities. Kissinger has been advising US Presidents since JFK and this was a routine visit for him. After the visit, Kissinger said in so many words that Trump is a businessman and not a politician and sees the world in terms of transactions not guided by an overarching strategy or principle. His modus operandi is to seek maximum benefits from an individual transaction without considering its longer term impact.
Looking at Trump’s performance at the White House in the past 11 months, it is fair to say that Kissinger is absolutely correct; everything from walking away from international deals, climate agreements, tax cut for the rich, cutting off funding for health insurance for the kids, all support Kissinger’s assessment.
Also, his love affair with Putin and now the Saudis all point to the financial transactions of the past 10 years, first with the Russian oligarchs that bailed him out after the mortgage collapse of 2007-2008 where no bank was loaning him any money with the exception of Deutsche Bank which has close ties to the Bank of Cyprus where the oligarchs launder money through the Russian Vnesheco nombank, and the Saudis recent commitment to buy over $100 billion military equipment and missile defense systems, all support the fact that Trump is a businessman, looking to do deals, whenever he can.
However, Iranians in the diaspora do not seem to understand Trump’s way of doing things. Here are 3 examples. When Trump was elected, there was a lot of talk in the Iranian TV/Radio community that Trump will soon change the management of the Voice of America Persian and replace them with anti-Regime, Monarchist personalities. There were people who actually went around the TV shows and promised the viewers that they will be running the VoA Persian soon. It never happened.
Throughout the campaign, Trump kept promising that he will tear up the Nuclear Deal the moment he walks into the White House. But 11 months later, and after punting the issue to the Congress, and the Congress punting it back to him it is unclear what he will do next.
The 3rd example is his support for the Saudis in their confrontation with the IR Regime especially in Yemen. Iranian-Americans see this as a step towards the Regime change in Iran, although it’s unclear what the Saudis ultimate objectives are, and as they have shown during Rafsanjani and Khatami presidencies, they could just kiss and make up.
So now, what’s lacking in the Iranians-Trump deal making that has not resulted in any tangible results?
Well, it is very simple. We have not offered Trump anything in return, assuming that he will take care of us as a matter of principle. Are you kidding?
Put yourself in Trump’s shoes. Every time he meets with a group of Iranian-Americans, he hears that we are the most educated immigrants in the US, highly successful and collectively in control of $700 billion to $1 trillion worth of assets. When Trump hears this pitch, he wants a piece of that action. He wants us to open our wallets and start writing checks. But how can we do that?
Here is the plan.
Trump wants you to spend money buying apartments in his Trump Tower, become members at his golf courses at $250,000/year, stay at his hotel in DC, buy Ivanka’s clothing collection, shoes and accessories, and for those on limited budget, buy Trump ties or Trump steaks.
So here is the path forward to get Trump to do a Regime change for us. Since we are good at signing petitions and making pledges, let’s circulate a document where we commit to spend money on Trump stuff. Anousheh Ansari and the Uber guys can pledge to buy a bunch of apartments, the high tech startup guys can buy country club memberships, the business travelers can stay at his hotel, etc.
I am going to do my share too. Put me down for a dozen of Trump steaks. I’ll put them under my Christmas tree and give them to my friends and relatives. Ho…Ho…Ho!