Is Trump moving to war against Iran?

Alwaght – The US threats against Iran along with the charges that Iran was behind the attacks on the oil tankers in the Persian Gulf keep being the top news headlines of the regional and international media covering West Asia’s developments, especially that on Wednesday the US said it is sending 1000 more troops to the region as the tensions with Tehran escalate. The announcement provoked warning from various heads of states who told of unpredicted consonances the US warlike moves could bring to the region.

Sergey Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, on Wednesday said that “what we see is the unending US struggle to intensify the political, psychological, economic, and yes military pressures against Iran in a very provocative style.” These actions are nothing but intentional steps to provoke towards war, he continued. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also blasted the US for putting maximum pressure on Tehran, suggesting that this approach will not help solve the problem but will cause a major crisis to take place.

The warnings come while over the past months, the White House several times noted that the aim was to force Iran towards the negotiating table for a new nuclear deal not to go to war. Trump on Tuesday implied that the Iraq war was costly for the US economy, signaling that he is not interested in war. With this in mind, what is the real drive behind the US military threats against Iran?

Sham pro-talks tendency amid difficulty building anti-Tehran consensus

Driven by the neo-isolationism approach in the foreign policy that seeks to cut the American commitments on the global stage, the Trump US does not respect the world’s norms and laws and apparently adopts double standards in dealing with various foreign policy cases. Turning a blind eye to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports confirming the Iranian compliance with the term of the deal and the United Nations Security Council resolution that asks for lifting all of the sanctions on Iran and a deaf ear to the calls by the other signatories of the 2015 nuclear deal not to pull out, the US President Donald Trump quitted the landmark agreement in May 2018 and reinstated all of the economic sanctions lifted under it.

Trump’s stubbornness has given the Iranian rejection of the new negotiations considerable legitimacy on the world arena. That is what has made the American efforts to build an alliance with international players to maximize the pressures on Iran meet their failure. Amid atmosphere unhelpful to the US policy, it seems that Washington has started a new game in association with its regional allies. This game serves two goals: First, Trump administration seeks to put up a pro-dialogue face to whitewash its face as the main factor destabilizing the region. Second, it wants to label the Iranian resistance to the pressures as an antipathy to diplomacy and the driving force behind the regional tensions.

Regardless of the success or failure of the US in building an international front against Iran using the media propaganda and provocations, the question is that what is the ultimate US objective? Is Washington preparing the ground for military action? Or is it all about pressing to intimidate Iran for US-favored negotiations on the nuclear and missile programs and Tehran’s role in the region?

War preventions and White House disunity

In answering these questions, we should know the fact that these days not only in Iran case but also in many other cases of the American foreign policy it is hard to spot cohesive strategy in the US policy. Personal decisions and the conflict of views in the US administration also adds complication to the issue. This confusion, many agree, is a sign of division between the US president and his administration’s diplomats. When it comes to the recent tensions with Iran, it seems that there are differences on Iran between Trump and such foreign policy influencers as John Bolton, the national security advisor, and Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State.

Trump is extremely worried about the impacts of the tensions on the 2020 presidential election’s results. Many of the promises he made during his 2016 campaign remain unrealized. The trade war waged against China now faces firm responses from Beijing. Negotiations with North Korea have run into an impasse. The border wall with Mexico is not built, the “deal of the century” on Palestine has run into frustration, the war in Afghanistan has not concluded, and Iran rejected talks. Furthermore, Washington’s European allies in NATO begin to step towards military mechanism independent of the US and improve relations with Russia.

All these issues stir Trump’s concerns about losing the upcoming presidential race. He has recently severely questioned the credibility of all of the polls whose results suggest his popularity shrinkage and give his Democratic rivals an upper hand over him.

On the other side stands Iran’s military power and also its regional influence that make unpredictable the costs of any military adventure against the Islamic Republic for the US and its allies’ interests in the region. This gives rise to the notion that Washington leaders seek to develop an intense anti-Iranian atmosphere to make Tehran first retreat from its offensive policy in dealing with the US and its allies’ interests under the continued oil sanctions and second make the Iranians to come to negotiations table. The announcement of deploying only 1000 troops to the region, a very small number given the huge propaganda of war launched by Trump administration and the recent incidents in the region, practically means that he is not interested in a military confrontation with Iran.