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Trump’s Iran Obsession and the Tehran Attacks

The White House’s insulting response [1] to the Tehran attacks [2] has not been well received by most Iranians or by the Iranian government. Coupled with the 92-7 Senate vote [3] to advance Iran sanctions legislation yesterday, it went over very badly:

This report [5] on how the response was crafted makes it seem even worse:

So when the White House woke on Wednesday to images of a possible Islamic State attack on Tehran, it prompted a sharp quandary: How does President Trump condemn the violence without seeming to embrace the victims? [bold mine-DL]

Several administration officials said it took most of the day [bold mine-DL] for the White House to work out the terse, curt wording of a statement that sought to show sympathy for the Iranian public even as it pointedly suggested that the behavior of Tehran’s clerical leaders made its people a target.

Common decency would have told most people that there is no “quandary” here at all. Just express sympathy and support for victims of terrorism, no matter who they happen to be, and save other political messages for another occasion. A condolence message is not the time to make a point or deliver an insult to a foreign government, and it certainly isn’t the time to suggest that the victims or their government brought it upon themselves. This would not be a hard thing for most people to understand, but I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that Trump and his advisers can’t summon up much empathy for innocent people from a country they are determined to loathe. How else could it take most of the day to write such a short and insulting message?

The message by itself would have been unfortunate enough in the wake of the attacks. Coming as it does on the heels of Trump’s visit to Riyadh and his administration’s increasing hostility towards Iran, it was bound to be perceived as a slap in the face. The episode shows just how deep and distorting the administration’s Iran obsession is, and that bodes ill for the future of U.S. foreign policy in the region.

7 Comments (Open | Close)

7 Comments To "Trump’s Iran Obsession and the Tehran Attacks"

#1 Comment By Concerned Citizen (the 1st of that name here) On June 8, 2017 @ 8:53 am

God help us. The reckless path this administration is on may have us in a world-wide war before the year is out.

#2 Comment By honest injun On June 8, 2017 @ 9:38 am

“Common decency would have told most people that there is no “quandary” here at all. Just express sympathy and support for victims of terrorism, no matter who they happen to be, and save other political messages for another occasion.”

Yes, it’s curious. It’s hard to imagine even Bush II or Obama doing something so pusillanimous, however strongly tempted.

We embrace Russian victims of terrorism even though Russia is a major strategic competitor and espionage threat. We embrace Israeli victims of terrorism even though Israel is also an espionage threat and puts Americans at risk of terror attacks by settling the West Bank. We embrace Pakistani victims of terrorism, Afghan victims of terrorism, Saudi victims of terrorism. All without smug little lectures about how they brought it on themselves.

#3 Comment By Chris Chuba On June 8, 2017 @ 10:04 am

Iran even condemned the mass shooting in the Orlando nightclub without making any allusion whatsoever to the gay lifestyle of the victims.
[6]

The Ayatollah has more courage than our so called tell it like it is President who is obsessed with looking strong.

Zero percent chance of getting my vote.

#4 Comment By Peter Jones On June 8, 2017 @ 10:44 pm

Trump is a servant of odious Likud. Most of what he says was scripted by the pro-Israel operatives who constitute the innermost core of his advisors. What did you expect from him? Pathetic.

#5 Comment By Hank On June 9, 2017 @ 1:46 pm

Deals like the Iran deal should be protected from change, even with new administrations. Iran is not the nation that the nuke deal should have been made with. Neither are they the nation stirring up trouble in the Middle East. Any overturning of this deal should be made with the majority vote from Congress, not a Presidential(Dictator) decree! Trump is nothing more than Israel’s glorified water boy and he will NEVER get my vote again, PERIOD!

#6 Comment By Winston On June 9, 2017 @ 2:59 pm

Pres Trump is unhinged. It it is a sad commentary on GOP that they cannot see it. Will affect GOP’s credibility.

#7 Comment By Simin On June 9, 2017 @ 3:21 pm

We could say almost the same thing about 9/11. This was the reaction of our president and people: [7]
Our president condemned it and people lit candles for the victims.