President Trump’s Iran policy doesn’t seem to be working out very well.
Since he pulled the United States out of the nuclear deal brokered by the Obama administration, Iran has both resumed its nuclear program and found new ways to stir up trouble in the region. The latest provocation came on Friday, when a rocket attack against a base housing American troops in Iraq killed an American contractor. The U.S. blamed an Iran-backed group of militants, launching airstrikes against the group on Sunday. Tension continued to escalate on New Year’s Eve, when Iran-backed protesters stormed the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Trump tweeted from Mar-a-Lago that Iran would be held responsible for any lives lost, threatening that the nation would pay a “BIG PRICE!”
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, responded a day later, tweeting, “You can’t do anything.”
That guy has tweeted that we see Iran responsible for the events in Baghdad & we will respond to Iran.
1st: You can’t do anything.
2nd: If you were logical —which you’re not— you’d see that your crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan… have made nations hate you. https://t.co/hMGOEDwHuY
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) January 1, 2020
What the U.S. has done in response to the siege is deploy around 750 troops to the Middle East. Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced the move, which was ordered by Trump, on Tuesday night. “This deployment is an appropriate and precautionary action taken in response to increased threat levels against U.S. personnel and facilities, such as we witnessed in Baghdad today,” Esper said in a statement. “The United States will protect our people and interests anywhere they are found around the world.”
“We had some great warriors come in,” Trump said from Mar-a-Lago. “This will not be a Benghazi. They got in there very quickly.”
Though the situation at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad may be stable, while speaking with the media on Thursday, Esper said there have been “indications” Iran could be planning future attacks, which is all but expected considering the steady string of provocations since Trump tore up the nuclear deal. Regardless of whether Trump believes it would be in Iran’s best interests to agree to some sort of new nuclear deal, tension between the two nations doesn’t seem to be cooling down any time soon.
Iran isn’t the only nation to have indicated it could be planning an attack. There’s also North Korea. Trump has repeatedly insisted that Kim Jong-un wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize the “really good” relationship they share, but Kim’s recent actions tell another story. Late last year, the nation resumed medium-range missile testing before promising a “Christmas gift” to America in response to stalled negotiations. Trump responded by calling Kim “Rocket Man” again, and threatening North Korea on Twitter, writing that Kim will “lose everything” if he “acts in a hostile way.”
Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore. He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere…. https://t.co/THfOjfB2uE
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2019
As it turns out, Kim doesn’t like this sort of thing, and the nation began issuing statements warning that Trump was, according to one, “stoking the atmosphere of confrontation.” Another statement called Trump a “dotard.” Yet another called him a “heedless and erratic old man.”
North Korea’s latest provocation, like Iran’s, came on New Year’s Eve, when Kim declared that North Korea has abandoned its moratoriums on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests. “The world will witness a new strategic weapon to be possessed by the DPRK in the near future,” KCNA, North Korea’s official news station, cited him as saying. This is concerning, to say the least.
But Trump, who after his first summit with Kim in 2018 declared there is “no longer” a nuclear threat from North Korea, doesn’t appear to be worried. The media just doesn’t seem to understand that a murderous dictator raised to hate America would never dare violate the “special bond” Trump imagines they share. “He likes me, I like him, we get along,” the president said, again, from Mar-a-Lago. “He’s representing his country, I’m representing my country. We have to do what we have to do.”