The anti-Iranian rhetoric from Donald Trump’s administration has reached new heights. This comes amidst an atmosphere that one can only describe as foreign policy confusion.
Donald Trump’s major executive orders have been entirely concerned with domestic policy. This has come at the expensive of any cohesive statements let alone actions in foreign policy.
As a result Obama’s foreign policy apparatus continues to churn out lethal attacks whilst some of Trump’s closest advisors churn out dangerously irresponsible rhetoric.
RT have reported that US airstrikes near Idlib have struck the headquarters of the Syrian Red Crescent; this according to Kerem Kinik of the Turkish Red Crescent. This kind of patent disregard for human life is ultimately a war crime. It suggests that US forces bombing Syria are still acting without legitimate legal authority.
In Yemen deadly US airstrikes continue. Simultaneously a video has emerged of Houthis successfully firing on a Saudi war ship.
The US has reacted to this by blaming Iran, who are supporters of Yemeni Houthis, although it is unclear if Iran had anything to do with the attack in question.
In the midst of all of this, Iran has tested a ballistic missile on Iranian territory, causing Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn to put Iran ‘on notice’.
All of this sounds like words coming from an administration without a foreign policy, but one which at the same time has yet to retreat from the conflicts in both Syrian and Yemen that Obama dragged the US into.
After Flynn’s statement, Donald Trump wrote the following Facebook post:
Iran is rapidly taking over more and more of Iraq even after the U.S. has squandered three trillion dollars there. Obvious long ago!
Trump is of course correct that Iran has, since 2003, made incursions into Iraq, fulfilling its long-time dream of attaining influence in the Arab world. I have written extensively about this very problem. But there is little Trump nor anyone else can do to put Iraq back together again. Certainly, there is no military solution to accomplish what took decades of Ba’athist rule to do, namely unite a country that theoretically is almost impossible to unite.
Now people are whispering about a US invasion of Iran. I still find this to be highly unlikely. Any act of war by the US against Iran would be a suicide mission. The US has the technology, but neither the stamina, nor the will, nor the morale or political fortitude to do anything on that scale to Iran.
Although I am no supporter of Iran’s part in destroying secular, Ba’athist Iraq, this was only allowed to happen when the US and UK decapitated the legitimate Iraqi government. If someone doesn’t like Iran in Iraq, blame America for ousting the Iraqi government, not Iran for doing what everyone with any foresight predicted they would do.
The Obama administration has boxed the current administration into a corner over both Iran and the Arab world. Trump can either continue down Obama’s foolish path or can simply pull out of the region. If Trump wants, as I suspect he does, to save face, the best thing the US could do is coordinate attacks on terrorists in Syria with Russia and of course with Syria herself. That way the US would not be in violation of international law, resulting in devastating incidents like the Red Crescent bombing, but it would also allow Trump to tell his domestic supporters that he ‘bombed the hell out of ISIS’ and won.
America ought to cease its bombing of Yemen and as for Iran, the US can either ignore Iran or learn to live with Iran, but Iran is not going to go away, and war with Iran would be suicide.
Trump’s best foreign policy will ultimately be his domestic policy. If he truly wants to put America first, he shouldn’t waste the US’s time and energy on parts of the world the US has no business in attempting to shape.