Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Mattis, Trump, and Iran

Daniel Larison writes:
[P]icking Mattis [as a possible nominee for Secretary of Defense] would continue the pattern of filling top national security posts with people fixated on and hostile to Iran. Mattis identified Iran as “the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East” in a speech in April. He also asserted that “Iran is not an enemy of ISIS,” which would come as news to both. He went on say this:
I would just point out one question for you to look into. What is the one country in the Middle East that has not been attacked by ISIS? One. And it’s Iran. That is just more than happenstance, I’m sure.
That happens to be false, but even if the claim were true it is a bizarre, conspiratorial sort of reasoning to use. If a country isn’t being attacked by a terrorist group, that doesn’t mean that its government is somehow in league with them or on the same side, and it doesn’t say much for Mattis that he thinks there is something significant about this “fact” that happens to be wrong. Iran hawks often seem determined not to accept that Iran is opposed to and actively fighting against ISIS and other jihadist groups like them, and so they will try to explain away the obvious antagonism between them. It doesn’t bode well for U.S. policy towards Iran and the region as a whole if Trump picks Mattis.
It seems few understand how bellicose Trump foreign policy will be. It will go well beyond Iran. Indeed, it would not surprise me if Trump tried to overthrow the aged Castro brothers in Cuba.

There will be U.S. troops on the ground in harm's way in the Middle East for sure---fighting ISIS and reinforcements in Afghanistan for aggressive fighting there.


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