President Donald Trump set out to pick a fight with Iran from the early days of his administration. But a set of astonishing developments has pulled the rug out from under his feet, and the next three months will determine whether Trump will opt to escalate his provocations or find a face-saving exit from his bravado.
Only a few months ago, Trump was oozing with confidence, having pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, worked with the Saudis to squeeze oil exports and announced the reimposition of sanctions to the pleasure of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Trump certainly thought there was: “I know they’re having a lot of problems and their economy is collapsing,” he told reporters on July 12. “[A]t a certain point, they’re going to call me and they’re going to say, ‘Let’s make a deal’.”
Fast forward five months, though, and all three pillars of Trump’s policy of strangulating Iran are at risk.
First, Saudi-US relations now arguably face the greatest crisis in history following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The US has long turned a blind eye to the Saudis involvement in the spread of terrorism, but Trump’s shameless protection of the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman — who the CIA believes, with high confidence, ordered the murder — may be considered egregious.
Read more: NBC News
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