Why, indeed. Why for heaven’s sake, is President Donald Trump now aiming his verbal jabs at Iran?
His exchange with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani practically came out of nowhere this week.
Ever since the US-friendly Shah of Iran was forced out of his country all these decades ago, the American people have come to accept that the leadership of the Islamic state has no intention of having any kind of friendly relations with the US.
This is their choice and it should not disturb us.
The occasional harsh words and threats the Iranian leadership has occasionally thrown our way were mostly meaningless, and did little harm to the US’s reputation and standing in the global stage.
In other levels, there have been a handful of friendly overtures in the past, but it was always clear that the path to normalized relations would be long and fraught with difficulty. It could start with cultural, artistic or athletic exchanges, not unlike the “ping pong diplomacy” between China and the US that paved the way for full diplomatic relations.
There are those who would equate the latest exchange between Mr. Trump and Mr. Rouhani as akin to the US president’s earlier exchanges with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un; nasty at first, but eventually paving the way to their historic meeting recently.
By all accounts, North Korea is now taking some steps to denuclearization, as promised. The pace may not be fast enough, but it is certainly better than nothing. China may or may not have had a major role in convincing North Korea to extend the hand of friendship to the US.
Where Iran is concerned, however, there is no power player like China to nudge an ally to talk peace with the US. Iran sees itself as a major player in the Middle East, but does have frosty relations with a number of nations in their part of the world.
Engaging in any kind of war with the US, verbal or otherwise, does them no good.
A look at Mr. Rouhani’s statement that got Mr. Trump all riled up shows that it was neither here nor there. All the Iranian leader said was that they could go either way, be at peace or at war with the US.
Unfortunately, Mr. Trump over-reacted. He saw a blatant threat where there was none. And unlike his previous tweets aimed at North Korea’s Kim, Mr. Trump’s all caps tweet could only be interpreted as his shouting at his Iranian counterpart.
Not very diplomatic of him, was it?
And here is where our president continues to fail. He is overly onion-skinned, and reacts to the most insignificant stimuli. The Iranian head of state did not threaten to nuke the US. His saber rattling was minor and minimal, at best. Yet Mr. Trump reacted as if a nuclear attack by Iran on the US soil was imminent.
The POTUS has a myriad of issues that he needs to address. Iran is not one of them. He should end this useless exchange soonest.