Could Donald Trump Launch Another War to Save His Skin?

Colin Powell, George W. Bush, Iraq War
Reading Time: 2 minutes

A few days ago, the Trump administration moved to reimpose sanctions on Iran. This decision was hardly unexpected after Trump pulled the US out of the multinational nuclear deal with Iran in May. But could the escalation of tension be more about a troubled presidency at home than a strike at an ideological adversary abroad?

Since May, President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened Iran on Twitter. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton two ultra-hawks on Iran have also been ramping up the rhetoric. And Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York and now Trump’s personal lawyer, recently called for regime change at a rally sponsored by a controversial group opposed to the current Iranian government.

It seems as though the administration is itching for a fight but would it really be willing to engage in yet another boots-on-the-ground Mideast war?

WhoWhatWhy’s Editor-in-Chief Russ Baker recently sat down with journalist/author/radio host Tom Hartmann to discuss how more than a few US presidents have viewed war: as just another means to improve their public standing. That cynical ploy could kick in with extra vigor for a president who feels cornered —  someone like Trump, facing unpopularity and the potential endgame of the Robert Mueller probe.

Baker draws parallels to George W. Bush’s own penchant for war. Before he was even elected, Bush actually confided to his ghostwriter how much a nice little war could do for his poll numbers — as reported in Baker’s book Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years.

There’s no question that going to war rallies the country, massively distracts attention from other matters, and totally consumes a media which feels pressure to prove its patriotic bona fides. For a president in trouble, it’s a win-win. For the American people, not to mention those on the receiving end of US military might, it’s something else entirely.

Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Iraqi POWs (US Marine Corps / Wikimedia).

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4 responses to “Could Donald Trump Launch Another War to Save His Skin?”

  1. MacKenzie says:

    Isn’t there a big piece of this story that’s being left out here? According to the US Constitution, isn’t Congress supposed to issue a declaration of war? I realize that (amazingly!) the US hasn’t officially declared war since WW II but isn’t the Constitution the “supreme law of the land”?

    Does anyone remember Mitt Romney saying “I don’t believe at this stage, therefore, if I’m President that we need to have a war powers approval or special authorization for military force. The President has that capacity now.”

    How about Obama’s SecDef Leon Panetta when asked “Do you think you could act without Congress to initiate a no fly zone in Syria without Congressional approval” saying:

    “Again our goal would be to seek international permission and we would come to the congress and inform you and determine how best to approach this. Whether or not we would want to get permission from the congress, I think those are issues we would have to discuss as we decide what to do here.”

  2. Olle Reimers says:

    Russ, I have one problem with this interview; the pretext that Trump is guilty of conspiracy with Putin; of which there so far is not a shred of evidence. All evidence points instead to a conspiracy between Hillary and the different law enforcement agencies to take him down.

    Even with this aspect out of the way; we can all see that Trump is using the same tactics against bullies all over the world regardless if they are dictators or self-imposed rulers in Brussels. A working tactic as far as I can see!

    • Jeff Clyburn says:

      …another dyed-in-the-wool Trump enthusiast who can’t decipher the difference between “evidence” and “proof.” … There’s an abundance of evidence already, and your hero has already admitted what the Trump Tower meeting was all about.

      Maybe stop trying to create false equivalency, and provide a citation for what “evidence” points to a Hillary conspiracy. Try not to rely on Stormfront or Brietbart.

    • MacKenzie says:

      Both Trump and Hillary are crooked. 2 quick examples for Hillary are the uranium deal with Russia and her emails.

      Calling out Stormfront and Breitbart is an obvious ad hominem (as is associating Breitbart with Stormfront!) Mind you, I think Trump is every bit as bad as the POTUSes that have come before him.