And who want to start a war with Iran. President Donald Trump made his disdain for the Iraq War, those who planned it and America’s permanent military engagement in the Middle East one of his favorite examples of the swamp running amok in Washington. He was right. Through a campaign full of bluster, it was one of his most sensible points. Now, he could not be more wrong.
Trump has spent the last few weeks draining his cabinet of individuals who while not perfect, were also not virulent warmongers. In addition to the already doltish Nikki Haley, he has replaced with them people who did not learn the lessons of the Iraq War and are dead set on repeating them with Iran, like Mike Pompeo and John Bolton. Bolton is of particular concern as there has rarely been a foreign policy professional in American history so wrong and so proud of it.
It maybe cliché to say that “people are policy”, but it is generally true. That does not bode well for Trump’s campaign promises to put America first and refocus resources at home. Iran has four times as much population, has a geography that is conducive to insurgent warfare and is more advanced than Saddam’s Iraq ever was. Such a conflict will consign tens of thousands of young American men and women to injury and death and put the kind of dent into the country’s financial coffers that it may not recover from for a generation. Realistically it would also require a draft, something that is rightfully politically unfeasible in this situation. Additionally, it is likely to more seriously alienate true allies like nothing in American history before it and potentially lead us into conflict with great powers like Russia and China, who will certainly not succumb to America’s bullying on this issue. This, all to satisfy special interests in Saudi Arabia and Israel. Not very America First.
On foreign policy, Trump has gone full neoconservative. He is the swamp he railed against.Citizens spoke out in droves when President Obama thought about initiating a war against Syria’s Assad in 2013, so much so that politicians were forced to ignore the wishes of their neoconservative masters. Let us hope that Americans of all stripes continue to recognize what a disaster another major Middle Eastern conflict would be for America.