War with Iran is coming. Or is it?

Decisions on foreign policy in this administration sometimes start out with fiery rhetoric, and end with sanctions. Or tariffs.

Remember the announcement that we were pulling our troops out of Syria? That was walked back.

Then, remember the declaration that North Korea was ending its nuclear weapons program? That didn’t happen. They even tested another missile to drive home the point. We went from hearing nicknames like “little rocket man” and threats about “fire and fury” to hearing how “we’re in love.”

Yup, it’s hard to know where we stand with regard to a war with Iran.

Let’s take a look.

We’re heading toward war with Iran.

the withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal

We unilaterally pulled out of the nuclear deal that forced Iran to halt its nuclear weapons program in return for a lifting of crippling economic sanctions. The other nations that were co-signers of the deal remained in the agreement. Since then, Iran’s been more aggressive in the Gulf, with multiple attacks on oil tankers.

This weekend’s attack on the Saudi oil facilities is the most destructive act so far.

more sanctions, more misery for Iran

The US increased sanctions on Iran, with the hopes that the economic pressure would bring Iran back to the table to talk about their nuclear program. This “maximum pressure” campaign so far has resulted in increased violence and terrorism in the region.

Iranian President Rouhani refuses to meet with President Trump

President Trump has offered to meet with Rouhani for nearly a year, even without “preconcessions” or stipulations prior to the meeting. Rouhani has declined all offers.

Iran resumes nuclear program

Iran announced it resumed its nuclear program in violation of its agreement with the countries that remain in the Deal.

Trump’s tweet

President Trump described the US as being “locked and loaded” and awaiting Saudi Arabia’s decision on how to proceed.

We won’t go to war with Iran.

Trump’s not feeling it

President Trump’s policy toward Iran (and other countries) has been provocative but he seems to favor negotiation over military intervention. Whether or not Iran will talk remains to be seen.

John Bolton was fired

Bolton was the chief architect of the “maximum pressure” strategy against Iran, and his firing might be a signal to the Iranians that President Trump is open to moving on from the campaign.

Iran would be difficult to invade

They have a fully formed and committed military with long-range missiles and defense systems. They have allies, including Syria, Lebanon and Russia. Also, Iran has 83 million people and 617,000 square miles. By comparison, in 2003, when we invaded Iraq, it had 30 million people and 170,000 square miles.

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