Over the past twenty-four hours, multiple major news outlets have reported on tension between Donald Trump and his handpicked National Security Adviser John Bolton when it comes to Iran. These reports all paint the same picture: Bolton wants to invade Iran, while Trump doesn’t want a war.
Here’s the thing: duh! This has been fairly obvious from the start. Donald Trump is a lazy, tepid part-time president who doesn’t want the hassle or risk of starting a war. He’s looking to do the same thing with Iran that he did with North Korea. He wants to take provocative action and engage in a war of words in order to create the appearance that war is inevitable, only to personally fly over there at the last minute and negotiate a deal, so he can take credit for it. This has been obvious since Trump ripped up President Obama’s deal with Iran. But for Trump, it’s not that simple.
Of course John Bolton wants war with Iran. He’s always been a violent bloodthirsty racist who wants nothing more than to kill as many nonwhite people as possible, and invading Iran would be his dream come true. Trump’s plan appears to be to let Bolton take provocative measures toward Iran in order to make things worse, so Trump can then swoop in and “fix” it. We can only presume that at that point Trump would fire Bolton, or Bolton would resign in disgust, but Trump has never cared about that kind of personnel attrition.
The trouble here seems to be that Trump and Bolton are so diametrically opposed when it comes to Iran, they can’t even put up a coordinated front. Bolton is trying to push Trump into war, Trump is trying to hold Bolton back, and at least one of them is fed up enough to leak the internal conflict to the media. Something is going to give here between Trump and Bolton, and quickly. In any case, they have no hope of selling this (real or fake) Iran war threat to the American people if they can’t even get their stories straight.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report