The world of the terrifying hypothetical is programmatically standard in the Trump White House. Periods of tense calm are followed by careless flights of fury, digs and remonstrations. Mortal enemies become amenable comrades; reliable allies turn into irresponsible skinflints who ought to fork out more for their defence.
For all that swirling chaos, the one constant since the 2016 election campaign for President Donald Trump is the Iranian bogey, that defender of the Shiites, the theocratic Republic. The fear of Iran’s aspirations is an endless quarry for domestic consumption, tied, as it were with propitiating the ever hungry Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
On July 23, Trump gave a Twitter offering to Iranian President Rouhani, written in all-caps promising singular, untold of consequences of suffering should Iran ever threaten the United States again. “We are no longer a country that will stand for your demented words of violence and death. Be cautious!”
This shout of indignation was the less than measured response to remarks made by Rouhani to Iranian diplomats: “America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.”
After the outburst came the milder reflection. Before a convention in Kansas City, a cooling breeze was blowing. “I withdrew the United States from the horrible one-sided Iran nuclear deal, and Iran is not the same country anymore,” came Trump’s…