Trump has no coherent strategy to solve the 'escalating crisis' with Iran: conservative columnist
On Tuesday — following U.S. military airstrikes in Iraq and Syria — hundreds of supporters of the Iran-backed Shiite militia Kataib Hezbollah (not to be confused with the Hezbollah in Lebanon) angrily stormed the U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad, setting fires and chanting, “Death to America.” The incident was an assertion of growing anti-American sentiment in Iraq, and conservative opinion writer Max Boot asserts in his Washington Post column that President Donald Trump has no real strategy for dealing with Iran.
Boot, one of Trump’s most outspoken critics on the right, recalls that although he was critical of President Barack Obama’s Iran policy in 2015, it was better than Trump’s.
Obama’s deal with Iran, Boot writes, “did nothing to curb Iran’s regional power play and may have even fueled it by lifting economic sanctions — which is why I and others opposed it at the time. But it did at least stop Iran’s development of nuclear weapons. President Trump blundered by exiting the nuclear deal in 2018 and imposing economic sanctions on Iran in 2019, even though it was complying with the agreement.”
The airstrikes in Iran and Syria over the weekend were in response to a missile attack on a military compound near Kirkuk, Iraq on Friday that left a contractor dead. And the airstrikes, Boot notes, “killed 25 members of Kataib Hezbollah.”
“The United States has only two ways out of this escalating crisis: fight or negotiate,” Boot emphasizes. “A war with Iran, as I have previously argued, could be the mother of all quagmires; it could easily spin out of control with tit-for-tat responses of the kind we have seen in recent days. Better to negotiate. That would mean trying to rebuild a tougher nuclear deal in return for the lifting of U.S. sanctions.”
Boot concludes his column by lamenting that things will only get worse for the U.S. in the Middle East if Trump fails to come up with a coherent Iran policy.
“Trump shows little interest in either seriously negotiating or fighting,” Boot laments. “He has waged economic warfare on Iran while doing nothing to curb its regional aggression; indeed, by withdrawing U.S. troops from part of northern Syria, he has allowed an extension of Iranian influence. So, we are left with the worst of all possible worlds: Iran is once again waging a low-intensity conflict, and America once again has no effective response.”