At The American Conservative, Robert W. Merry tells readers President Trump has put America on the path to war in the Middle East. Merry explains to readers that they should focus on the motives of, and strategies employed by, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin. He writes:
Donald Trump has put America on a path to war in the Middle East. Future historians will look back on his decision to scuttle the Iran nuclear deal, and related actions, as a folly akin to George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. The consequences could be equally catastrophic.
If you wish to understand what’s really going on, don’t just keep your eye on Trump, whose zigzag pronouncements on Mideast strategy have demonstrated a characteristic lack of intellectual coherence. Instead watch Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who thinks in straight lines. His aim is to get America to curtail Iranian power and influence in the region—a level of power and influence, it should be noted, that was greatly heightened by America’s 2003 Iraq invasion, supported avidly at the time by none other than Benjamin Netanyahu.
Can Putin dissuade Netanyahu from escalating his anti-Iranian initiatives in Syria? Will he even try? Would Netanyahu listen to Putin in any event? Will Putin give advanced weaponry to Assad, and would Assad use it against Israelis if Israel expanded its attacks against Iran? Will Netanyahu risk everything on the prospect of manufacturing a direct confrontation between Iran and the United States? Would he succeed if he tried? Would Trump even understand the ramifications of it all? Would he have the inclination or the guts to rein in Netanyahu?
On such questions hangs the ominous pivot of war and peace in the Middle East. Right now it looks more like war than peace.
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