A year ago, many were worried that Pres. Donald Trump was steering the world toward a nuclear war with his provocative tweets toward and about North Korea leader Kim Jong Un. Recall ‘fire and fury’?
Some see parallels between Trump’s threat to Iran late Sunday night as similar to the war of words he engaged in with Kin Jong Un and point to Trump’s most recent praise for the dictator as a sign that this current exchange could go down a similar path.
But more are worried that Trump is ramping up threats as a distraction from the Russia probe or worse, is bent on getting into it with Iran as Israel appears poised to do the same.
Current and former US officials have weighed in. As have pundits and everyday Americans.
The reaction from senior editor at The Atlantic and author of, “Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic,” David Frum is an interesting take. Frum was the George W. Bush speech writer that coined the term ‘axis of hatred’ which was re-written as the ‘axis of evil,’ articulated in Bush’s 2002 State of the Union address to include Iran, North Korea and Iraq (the then Bush Under Secretary of State John Bolton would later expand the axis to include Cuba, Libya and Syria) is comprised of just four words posed as a question, albeit likely a rhetorical one:
One year ago, Frum said Trump was steering us toward war with North Korea and Iran.
Statements made by Trump have been described as dangerous, provocative and hyperbolic, and are all official records of statements made by the President of the United States and preserved for prosperity.
This is a rogue White House press secretary bot account but does show that each and every tweet is documented to be an official statement from the POTUS.
But Trump retweeted himself on the POTUS twitter account as well.
Trump’s remarks about North Korea and Kim Jong Un and his not-so-thinly veiled threats against one of the original so-called axis of evil nation’s, would end up with a full reverse pivot on his position, which to some suggest the world is just looking at another distraction and this too shall pass.
But in a statement issued Monday, Trump’s National Security Advisor, the aforementioned John Bolton said to take Trump seriously.
Richard Clarke, former U.S. National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection and Counter-terrorism went on CNN Monday and said Israel and Iran are “inching closer to war and for us to pour gasoline on that fire is very dangerous.”
“If there’s a war six months from now or a year from now and historians go back and ask what contributed to that war, they’re going to say among other things, the President of the United States fanned those flames.”
But Clarke’s statement about a possible US attack was stunning. He said Iranian hardliners will see Trump’s threats as a justification to start a war, he said, while condemning Iran.
To Clarke’s point, Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted hours after Trump’s twitter threat to Iran that he was to “…meet today with a Russian expedition led by the foreign Minister of Russia Sergei Lavrov and the Russian military staff.”
And on July 15, it should be noted, the official account of the Israeli Prime Minister shared discussions with Trump and his “strong policy” in reference to Iran.
Clarke said just as with North Korea, the “risk” is Trump will get “frustrated and do something …” When asked if he’s nervous about the language used by Trump in threatening Iran Clarke said: “…we do have Secretary Mattis between him and our forces, so if the president wakes up in the middle of the night and is mad at Iran and orders some attack, hopefully the system will resist.”
The former national security and counter-terrorism official said, “It is a scenario that I think we have to worry about after watching this president’s diplomatic malpractice in the last two years.”
It was pointed out that Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday, ““America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.” And it was perhaps that statement that led to Trump’s all-caps threate.
By late Monday afternoon, statements were being issued by current and former US government national security and counter-terrorism officials among others.
The fear of war, all kinds of war from financial proxy wars and cyber attacks to nukes, with Trump’s tweeted threats and provocations now the new norm, has many on edge. Or, that perhaps his tweets will inspire terrorists to act or help to radicalize others.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Trump had spoken with his national security advisors before tweeting his threat to Iran.