At The American Conservative, Cato Institute senior fellow Doug Bandow explains that unless President Trump changes his tactics with Iran, the Middle East is set to become a much more dangerous place. He writes (abridged):
President Donald Trump says he wishes Iran would call him. All he wants, he insists, is “a deal, a fair deal.” Apparently, he’s realized he was wrong to believe that the regime he’s attempting to overthrow would grovel before him. So now the White House has announced that it’s given the Swiss government his phone number to pass along to Tehran.
Of course, Switzerland probably feels whiplash. In 2003, Tehran offered to negotiate with George W. Bush through a Swiss emissary. The neocon-heavy, war-happy Bush administration dismissed the proposal out of hand.
The Trump administration is also unsuccessfully pushing Europe to stop resisting U.S. sanctions. Washington’s tone has alternated between imperious and whiny, neither of which has attracted much support. The usual warrior wannabe pundits, meanwhile, have made a similar suggestion: the Europeans should be as faithless as America and offer to join in receiving Iran’s surrender.
The U.S. and Iran should talk. But contrary to the president’s hope, giving Tehran an economic ultimatum will not bring it to the negotiating table. Trump has destroyed the possibility of normal diplomacy between his administration and the Iranian government. Unless he dramatically changes direction, the Middle East will become a much more dangerous place.
Read more here.