Marco Rubio doesn’t want people to blame Trump for the crisis with Iran that was created by Trump’s own policies:

Trump is the president, and that makes him responsible for the consequences of the policies that he has supported and signed off on. When those policies result in a predictable and predicted surge in tensions between the U.S. and Iran, that means Trump is to blame for creating a completely unnecessary and avoidable crisis. It is the U.S. that has been ramping up pressure and inflicting collective punishment on all Iranians. It is the U.S. that reneged on the JCPOA, and it is the U.S. that has issued unrealistic ultimatums effectively demanding Iranian capitulation. After strangling and kicking Iran for more than a year, the administration tries to pretend that Iran is engaged in “aggression” when it pushes back against relentless economic warfare and escalating threats. “Maximum pressure” is what has brought us to the verge of war, and Trump is the proud owner of that policy. If we want to avoid further escalation, the U.S. needs to back off on its pressure campaign at a minimum.

Trump’s hawkish allies have cheered him on every step of the way as he has pursued his destructive “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, so they also share in the blame for bringing the U.S. and Iran so dangerously close to war. They have been egging Trump on and encouraging him to impose increasingly severe sanctions in an attempt to strangle Iran into submission, and they have been working even longer to sabotage and destroy the nuclear deal because it deprives them of an excuse for conflict. The president has done almost everything they wanted, and that has brought us to the edge of the abyss. It isn’t surprising that the same hawks that have supported the bankrupt Iran policy from the start are now desperately trying to avoid responsibility for the consequences of that policy. When Iran hawks complain that we shouldn’t blame the president for the foreseeable and foreseen effects of his policies, they are also pathetically pleading not to be held accountable for their role in this mess.

Rubio professes to be concerned that blaming Trump for the things that he did will encourage Iran to “overreach,” but by his own account Iran has already “overreached” in response to the Trump administration’s pressure campaign. Things have reached this point because Trump was insufficiently constrained by domestic opposition as he mindlessly pursued confrontation with Iran. Members of Congress failed to keep the president in check as he steered the U.S. on a collision course, and now they need to correct that mistake. If we want to avoid an unnecessary war with Iran, the best thing we can do is to constrain the president.

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