The Qatar Crisis Is a Wake-Up Call
The Trump administration is posturing. This is a president who came to power, in large part, on the emotional appeal of “strength.” He revels in taking hard lines against America’s perceived enemies, and digesting and expressing foreign-policy positions with little nuance. Similar positions are taking place with regard to Cuba, as Trump is pushing back Obama’s opening reforms, and the Paris climate accord. If Iranian protesters and its supreme leader have shouted, “Death to America!” at anytime within the past few years, then it must remain an enemy of America. Moreover, because the Republican Party has broadly maintained an anti-Iran view for years, and because Trump lacks deep insight into policy, Trump has basically adopted a strong anti-Iran view along with other default Republican views from the media and from those friends and advisers he has long known and trusted.
But as the trends are changing, it doesn’t make sense to maintain the same policy any longer. If there were sane people heading Washington’s defense- and foreign-policy establishments, they would leave the Middle East to regional actors, stop supporting Saudi Arabia’s genocidal war in Yemen and proxy war in Syria, and focus more on making lives better for the thousands of people who voted for real change, those disillusioned by meaningless foreign interventionism. Instead, despite the misgivings of the public faces of the Trump administration, President Trump somehow got coerced by Saudi Arabia, and dove face first into this dispute, which might further destabilize the Gulf, and incite further proxy wars.
Mitchell Blatt is a journalist based in Seoul, South Korea. He has been published at the Washington Examiner, the Daily Caller, the Hill and the Federalist, among other outlets. He tweets at @MitchBlatt. Sumantra Maitra is a doctoral researcher at the University of Nottingham, UK. His research is in great power-politics and neorealism. You can find him on Twitter @MrMaitra.
Image: Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (2nd L) welcomes President Donald Trump to dance with a sword during a welcome ceremony at Al Murabba Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst