Chas Danner reports in New York Magazine that things are heating up in the Middle East:
On Sunday, a rocket was fired into Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone for the first time since late last year, landing less than a mile from the U.S. Embassy. No one was injured by the rocket, which according to the Washington Post may have been a warning shot from Iran-backed Shiite militias, who have used rockets to protest U.S. policy in the past. The harmless rocket was also precisely the kind of thing that Bolton and Pompeo have threatened to retaliate for, as they have said Iran will be held responsible for any attacks on U.S. forces or interests by its allies and affiliates throughout the Middle East. The rocket has thus fueled dread among Iraqi officials that the U.S. and Iran will act out some kind of conflict inside Iraq and destabilize the country.
That event brought an immediate Twittter response from Donald Trump:
“If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran,” Trump responded. “Never threaten the United States again!”
Trump's reaction generated an immediate response from a national security think tank:
The RAND Corporation’s Ariane Tabatabai . . . wrote on Twitter that Trump’s aggressive message was a step backward when the two countries need to be moving toward some kind of dialogue.
More concerning yet, this undermines the Trump administration’s efforts to reach the Iranian people,” she continued. “Threatening not just war but ‘the official end of Iran’ taps into deeply and historically rooted anxieties in Iran. Far from leading Iranians to oppose their leaders, it’ll rally them around the flag and cement distrust of the U.S.”
And Daniel Larison, of The American Conservative, came to a similar conclusion:
Trump’s rhetoric is aimed at appealing to his domestic supporters, so he doesn’t think about or care how it sounds to the targeted regime, but my guess is that the Iranian government will take this as additional proof that there is no point in talking to the U.S. while Trump is in charge. Over-the-top threats of destroying the entire country give the Iranian government another incentive to reject all U.S. demands, and they obviously do nothing to deescalate tensions between our governments when they are already very high. As usual, Trump’s public displays of “toughness” only make him seem like an overcompensating bully and give hard-liners in both countries another boost.
That phrase, "an overcompensating bully," fits Trump to a tee.
Image: The Cut