Iran, United States
The battle in Washington over Iran shows little sign of abating. But what’s all the fuss?
Iran Hawks: A House Divided
“Never mind that President Trump, Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Patrick Shanahan, and Bolton have not said a single word about a preemptive strike, much less a full-scale war, against Iran,” writes Matthew Continetti. “Never mind that the president's reluctance for overseas intervention is well known.”
Would that it were so simple. The president was less sparing Sunday evening: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran.”
The recent weeks have thrust Iran center stage like it has not been since the Carter presidency. Two years of hawkish maneuvers by Washington—from putting Iran “on notice” in the first month after Donald Trump’s inauguration, to nullifying the Iran nuclear deal, to pressuring European firms to stop doing business with the regime, to designating its military a terrorist organization—have culminated now in something short of a hot war.
Just Sunday, a rocket hit the U.S. embassy in Baghdad’s ostensibly safe Green Zone. Many critics see Shia-majority Iraq as effectively a satellite of Tehran.
Are the American political and military establishments preparing for war? The government is no monolith. Neither are Iran hawks. The quietly influential National Council for the Resistance of Iran (NCRI), affiliated with the MEK and aligned with administration allies Rudolph Giuliani and Newt Gingrich, continue to insist the regime can be collapsed organically.