But for the fact that Rand Paul is a moron, and our relationship with Iran has been stretched to a volatile breaking point. But it goes to show just how bad things have gotten that sending in Paul is vastly preferable to letting John Bolton continue to run the show. Paul’s foreign policy views aren’t always coherent, but he has been staunchly opposed to a war with Iran under the current Authorization for Use of Military Force, which definitely makes him better than Bolton.
Per Politico, the Iran hawks of the administration are not pleased with this development (bolding mine):
Paul proposed sitting down with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to extend a fresh olive branch on the president’s behalf, according to four U.S. officials. The aim: to reduce tensions between the two countries. Trump signed off on the idea.
With Zarif in New York City this week for U.N. meetings and private sitdowns with journalists and think-tank experts, the prospect of the dovish Kentucky senator serving as the administration’s chief diplomatic emissary has rankled many administration officials, who are expressing concern that Paul’s intervention threatens to scuttle the president’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran.
Damn. Always frustrating when my plans to exert “maximum pressure” on a foreign nation that currently poses no threat to us are derailed. Particularly so when said nation was already adequately contained by past diplomatic policies that went WHIFF out of the window with Trump driving. As Politico notes, it’s unclear whether Paul will actually meet with Zarif, but despite Bolton’s influence, Trump’s preference in Iran policy has always been to try to get officials to a negotiating table, which Paul is offering. We’ll see if it works!