Donald Trump’s reckless, dangerous rhetoric toward Iran escalated yet again on Sunday night, following a strike on Saudi Arabia’s largest oil processing facility early Saturday morning. Trump tweeted that the U.S. was “locked and loaded,” but was waiting on “verification” from the Saudis as to who we should bomb.
He followed up this morning, instilling no more confidence that the administration hasn’t already decided who they’ll blame:
The real “culprit,” behind the strike remains unclear—the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have claimed responsibility, but satellite imagery provided by the government seems to indicate that the strikes came from the north or northwest, in the direction of Iran and Iraq, rather than from Yemen in the south. In short: it’s all super unclear, but the president’s public vow to bomb whoever Saudi Arabia tells us to is not reassuring. The Saudis are perfectly capable of fighting their own battles—we’ve sold them more than enough weaponry—but Trump’s stance throughout the crisis has been that, essentially, the U.S. military stands by to defend our favorite brutal authoritarian theocracy at any cost.
The Trump administration’s stance on Iran is a complete clusterfuck as well. Trump on Saturday denied reports that he was willing to meet with the leaders of Iran with “no preconditions,” which would effectively cede some of his negotiating power from the start. But several of his own top officials have already contradicted him:
This could end up being a minor point in our larger diplomatic relationship with Iran, but if the administration’s inability to put out one coherent message derails talks with the Iranians again, it could send us further down the disastrous path to war for no reason other than the president’s ego. Per the Guardian, this has “dampened” chances that Trump could meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani before the UN General Assembly in New York next week. Iran, for its part, said on Monday that such a meeting “would not be held.” On this, it seems, we’re all on the same page!