How Will Bannon-free White House Affect International Relations? Professor Tsygankov Discusses

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

AL-MONITOR -- The Iran issue might be more complicated for Russia and the United States to deal with. The Russian expert community is split over whether Trump advisers will now more actively advocate for regime change in Tehran and for sinking the nuclear deal. Experts who believe this will be the case point to Trump’s inclination toward the Saudis’ anti-Iran narrative, as well as a consolidation of the hawks inside the US administration.

Those who disagree with that scenario, however, believe common sense will prevail and the United States will recognize that attempting to topple the regime isn’t in the United States' best interests at this stage. Andrei Tsygankov, an international relations expert with the Valdai International Discussion Club and a professor at San Francisco State University, told Al-Monitor that it eventually boils down to “ideology and priorities.”

“To Bannon, China and Iran were key threats to the United States. Iran was a threat for ideological reasons; he used the term ‘radical Islamism.’ The rest was less important [to him], and both the Middle East and Afghanistan looked like needless distractions of resources. [National Security Adviser H.R.] McMaster is clearly a hawk, including on Iran. However, to him ideology is secondary. He lobbied for greater U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and later for arms supply to Ukraine. North Korea is also on his radar screen, but not Iran, at least not at this point, so the [nuclear deal] will be preserved,” said Tsygankov.