American author and journalist Barbara Slavin says it is even hard to imagine that Trump would be re-elected as he has aroused so much opposition from so many Americans.
Slavin, the director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council and the author of Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the US and the Twisted Path to Confrontation (2007), says “Trump was elected because many Americans didn’t like Hillary Clinton for a variety of reasons and because he presented himself as a champion of ‘forgotten Americans’ – rather like Ahmadinejad.”
However, she added, “many Americans are now embarrassed by his rhetoric and his Tweets and by the chaotic, melodramatic way in which he acts.”
Here is the full text of her interview with ILNA’s Khadijeh Ghobeishavi:
What do you think about the situation of world in whole after one year of Trump’s presidency? Is it safer and more stable?
Fortunately, we have not seen an outbreak of another war and it appears that ISIS has been defeated. However, we have seen an increase of tensions with North Korea, continuing conflict in Yemen and rising tensions among Arab countries and between Arab countries and Iran.
What do you think about the Trump policies in the US and Europe and Middle East in the three remaining years of his presidency?
It is very hard to predict what Trump will do but we are beginning to see patterns. He has pushed Europe to spend more on its own defence but alienated many leaders there by leaving the Paris climate agreement and threatening the Iran nuclear deal. He will continue to insist he is promoting US interests but in my view, will hurt US national security by undermining US global leadership.
What do you think about Trump’s policy regarding the Iran deal? Do you think Washington would withdraw from the Iran deal?
Trump has already accomplished his objective by casting so much uncertainty over the deal and dissuading many foreign companies from investing in Iran. It is still my hope that the US will not withdraw and that it can reach separate side understandings with Europe about how to react to possible Iranian non-compliance and the so-called “sunset” provisions of the agreement.
Do you think that Trump will be elected again as US president? Some analysts say that the first term of his presidency will remain unfinished, what do you think?
It is hard for me to imagine that he would be re-elected as he has aroused so much opposition from so many Americans. But of course it depends on who the Democrats nominate, the state of the US economy and whether the US becomes embroiled in another conflict – with North Korea, for example.
What do you think about the effect of book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” on America’s public opinion?
The book has gotten a lot of attention but probably hasn’t changed many minds. Those who dislike Trump – a majority of the country – found more ammunition for their views and those who like him either don’t believe or don’t care about the allegations in the book.
While Trump has had good record on economy and fulfilling his campaign promises, why does he still lack popularity in the America’s public opinion?
Trump was elected because many Americans didn’t like Hillary Clinton for a variety of reasons and because he presented himself as a champion of “forgotten Americans” – rather like Ahmadinejad. Some of his supporters hoped he would change in office and become more “presidential.” That hasn’t happened and many Americans are now embarrassed by his rhetoric and his Tweets and by the chaotic, melodramatic way in which he acts. Also, his one major achievement – a big tax cut – is likely to help the rich far more than the poor and middle class.
What do you think about Iran-US relation under the presidency of Trump?
I have written that we are back to the ‘Axis of Evil’ stage in many ways with Trump advocating regime change and expressing hostility toward the Iranian government.
This will be a tough period in US-Iran relations, but then, that has unfortunately been more the rule than the exception over the last 40 years. And Trump won’t be president forever. I still hope to see the day when the US Embassy reopens in Tehran and we have normal diplomatic ties.