Can Donald Trump Avoid a War with Iran? History Tells Us To Worry.

Lawrence J. Korb

Even though the current situation with Iran is the most dangerous threat facing the United States at this time, in his State of the Union Address on February 5, 2020, President Trump made only two conflicting references to it. In one part he seemed to offer an olive branch when he said, “The Iranian regime must abandon its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and needs to work for the good of its own people.  Because of our powerful sanctions the Iranian economy is doing very poorly.  We can help them make it a very good and short recovery. It can all go quickly – let’s see which way they choose. It is totally up to them.”

But the president also threatened them when he said that, “Last month, at my direction, the United States Military executed a flawless precision strike that killed (Iranian Major General) Soleimani and terminated his evil reign of terror forever. Our message to the terrorists is clear. You will never escape justice. If you attack our citizens, you will forfeit your life.” In essence, Trump conflated an official of a country, with whom we are not at war with, with non-state actors like al-Baghdadi and Qassim al-Rimi, whom the Trump administration has recently killed. 

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