Global Pairings, Rethinking America, Richter Scale

The Iran Deal: Just Another Sales Opportunity

The Gulf countries are lusting for more U.S. military hardware. Washington’s influence peddlers love that.

Credit: a katz -


  • Gulf nations complain about the deal publicly because they want to buy even more arms from the US.
  • "Foreign policy" in the US is not so much about points of principle and national strategy.
  • The Iran deal translates into very nice sales commissions for some profit making companies.

Despite all the protests in the Republican camp about the Iran nuclear deal, many Republicans – especially the vast chorus of consultants working for the U.S. defense industry – are actually very happy about this deal.

That may sound improbable, but there is a very logical reason for it. It was made very clear to me when I recently bumped into one of those consultants at the airport. As it turned out, we were both on our way to Europe when we had a chance encounter in one of the lounges at Dulles airport.

We had debated each other on several occasions on U.S. television before, so it was only natural that I would ask him his view on the policy implications of the deal negotiated by John Kerry and his team.

The answer was surprising. The former official, now in private business, said that he ultimately could not care less about the “policy.”

The Gulf connection

What mattered to him, he emphasized, was that the deal has actually turned into a major business opportunity for him and his firm. “Take the Gulf states, for example,” he said.

“They are obviously very nervous about the U.S. government doing a deal with Iran, which they consider their arch enemy – not least because of the Shiite connection. Same for the Saudis. And that’s a good thing.”

“Why then worry about what’s in it for Iran or not? While these Gulf nations complain about the deal very publicly and very loudly, all this translates into in the real world is an ardent desire on the part of these countries to buy even more arms from the United States. What’s not to like about that?”

Obviously, the man’s “consulting” firm was operating as an eager facilitator for such transactions. Those deals all translated into very nice sales commissions, which would boost his and other senior managers’ annual salaries big time.

The bitter reality

And there you have it, in all its gory detail. “Foreign policy” in the United States is really not so much about points of principle and national strategy, as one would think.

What it ultimately boils down to is simply this perennial Washington question: “Regardless of what you think of this — or any other — president’s policies, how do you make money off of it?”

“So there you have it. It’s a nice business opportunity. What’s not to like? Have a nice flight.” And off he went.

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About Stephan Richter

Director of the Global Ideas Center, a global network of authors and analysts, and Editor-in-Chief of The Globalist.

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