May 17, 2019
By Robert Kuttner | May 17, 2019
Trump’s Itchy Trigger Finger. Earlier in the week, we were hearing from unnamed administration sources about small patrol boats of the Iranian Navy armed with missiles preparing to attack American warships.
Are you kidding? Why in the world would Iran pull such a stunt and bring the U.S. into a war? This Trumped-up provocation has all the credibility of the phony Gulf of Tonkin incident, which Trump is probably too illiterate to know anything about. For that matter, it has all the credibility of George W. Bush’s faked pretext for war with Iraq.
But wait, that was in the last news cycle, 48 hours ago—an eternity ago. In today’s news cycle, Trump is walking it all back. He doesn’t want war with Iran after all.
This is also reminiscent of Trump’s two-year folie a deux with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, who went from being Little Rocket Man to being a great statesman and back again without so much as a by-your-leave, and without any change in North Korea’s actual policies.
It’s bad enough that Trump is promoting lunatic and contradictory policies on everything else from immigration to infrastructure to tariffs. But on the foreign policy front, his ignorant trifling, short attention span, pirouettes, and double reverses could end with all of us getting blown to bits.
And if Trump imagines that he might lose the 2020 election, the risk of an entirely fake national security crisis only grows. But hey, let’s exhale and take it one day at a time. We’ve averted a war for this news cycle. Grateful for small favors.