ALTHOUGH Republicans have a doctrine of non-intervention in world affairs, modern day GOP President’s seem to have had a penchant for fighting wars in far distant lands, from Bush senior in Kuwait to Bush jnr. in Iraq. Arguably the most isolationist leader in modern day history, Donald Trump still gives the impression that he thinks his CV would look better with a war under his belt, something he appears to be getting perilously close to with Iran.
His latest ominous comment this week was that war would be “the end” of Iran, something the Iranian Foreign Minister called “genocidal taunts”. The US has now started deploying warships and other military to the Gulf in moves all too reminiscent of those made by both George Bush and a decade later his son. Trump really started down this path when the US withdrew its support for Iran’s pledge to stop developing nuclear weapons in return for the lifting of sanctions, a move met with a mixture of condemnation and bafflement by most of the western world.
Quite why Trump seems so keen to engage in war with Iran is unclear, like so much of his foreign policy. Oil, as ever, could be one answer, increasing friendliness with Israel or even just portraying himself as a Churchillian type colossus on the world stage as he threatens to destroy a third world country with 20 million children. Iran in turn has made it clear they don’t want war but also refuse to be bullied, while behind the scenes their diplomats are said to be deeply frustrated at Trump’s “crazy mixed messages”, many of them delivered through that least diplomatic of tools, Twitter.