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A Senseless ‘New Strategy’ on Iran

Trump’s dangerous decertification decision on the nuclear deal will come in his speech later this afternoon. In the same speech, he will outline what the administration is calling a “new strategy” on Iran, but based on the “fact sheet” the White House has sent out there is no strategy to be found. The “fact sheet” contains a fair number of false and misleading claims (and a lot of typos), but it doesn’t describe anything resembling a strategy.

The Trump administration is announcing that it intends to be more hostile to Iran and its proxies, but it sets no well-defined goals for what this increased hostility is supposed to achieve. The document says that the administration “will seek to bring about a change in the Iranians regimes behavior [sic]” while “neutralizing the Government of Irans destabilizing influence [sic].” To what end? At what cost? How? Why? For how long? None of these basic questions is addressed, much less answered in a satisfactory way. There is no hint of trying to match means and ends. Instead, the document lists a lot of complaints about Iranian behavior, makes assertions that other governments share Washington’s concerns, and whines about Obama’s record. Everything in the so-called “strategy” outline suggests that the policy that the “fact sheet” describes is as poorly-crafted as the document itself. We’ll find out more in the speech later today, but the preview suggests that future Iran policy will be even more senseless and ill-considered than it already is.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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