NOTE: Middle East Eye just published my latest piece on the ICC announcement that it was entering the pre-trial phase of the Israel war crimes case. Please read and disseminate it via e-mail, social media, etc.
Iran’s Pres. Hassan Rouhani threatened the U.S. that it could face the “mother of all wars” should it attack Iran. He also warned that if the U.S. closed down his country’s oil exports, he would consider closing the Persian Gulf to all oil shipments. This would disrupt commerce for all nations bordering the Gulf, including its mortal enemy, Saudi Atabia.
Donald Trump, not one to bullied in a public setting, fired back in his own inimitable all-caps Twitter-rant style:
To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2018
We’ve seen this movie before: when the U.S. president reacted to a similar threat from North Korea. Here’s how he answered:
This reminds me of the time Trump threatened North Korea with “fire and fury” and went all the way to Singapore to meet with Kim Jong Un and came back with nothing but a piece of paper and a broken promise. pic.twitter.com/NgROiDFUOb
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) July 23, 2018
What was the result? A summit for the North Korean at which he got to shine on the world stage in return for…nothimg.
So we’re supposed to believe that after Trump was played by Kim, that he will let loose the Tomahawk missiles on Iran?
Hey, that movie flopped the first time. The remake won’t be much better; likely much worse.
The main difference between North Korea and Iran is that the former has a powerful ally, China. When faced with such military and economic power Trump invariably folds. Iran on the other hand has no similar ally. Russia perhaps, though the bonds are far less strong between them. So should Trump want to go full-nucjear on Iran, as his largest donor, Sheldon Adelson, has long urged, Trump would face much less opposition.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.