The Trump administration still has no Plan B on Iran
Hoping for an inside straight is not a strategy.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, like all his Trump administration colleagues, isn’t quite sure what to do about Iran. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)
The reduction of U.S. leadership in global politics to what I term kinetic diplomacy: diplomacy by armed force. Two statistics make this clear. As of May 2018, the Trump administration has appointed 75 of 188 ambassadors [afsa.org], while it has deployed Special Operations forces to 149 countries [warisboring.com] (an increase from 138 during the Obama administration in 2016). Put differently, while U.S. ambassadors are operating in one-third of the world’s countries, U.S. special operators are active in three-fourths. And while it is true that the United States maintains embassies in countries without an ambassador, and that not all deployed special operators are on combat missions, the symbolism matters: “killing yes, diplomacy no.”
- Complain about the flaws of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (the Iran nuclear deal);
- Create a vision board of an Iran that does everything the United States wants (even Pompeo acknowledged that his 12-point plan of what Iran had to do was “pretty long”);
- Handwave the part about how that will happen.
First, we will apply unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime. The leaders in Tehran will have no doubt about our seriousness ….Second, I will work closely with the Department of Defense and our regional allies to deter Iranian aggression ….Third, we will also advocate tirelessly for the Iranian people. The regime must improve how it treats its citizens. It must protect the human rights of every Iranian. It must cease wasting Iran’s wealth abroad.