Pompeo and Other Hawks Try to Steer Trump Into War With Iran

Trump dismissing Pompeo and Bolton in calls for action

It is no mystery that the Trump Administration has some major hawks, and that the likes of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and John Bolton are just itching for an opportunity to start a US war against Iran.

Weeks of mounting tensions with Iran saw Pompeo taking point on talking up the escalation. President Trump would occasionally chime in on its opposition to having a war, but Pompeo is still seen trying to coax Trump into some sort of military action.

He’s not alone after Thursday’s attack was called off, either. Media outlets are pushing Trump broadly about not following through, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) is predicting that Iran will attack a US ship if a war isn’t started.

Then there’s Bolton, the hawk of all hawks. He both typifies the administration’s effort to try to steer the US toward a conflict, and President Trump’s dismissive response, as he mockingly suggested that if it was up to Bolton he’s “take on the whole world at one time.” Trump is not wrong there, and that is a reason not to listen to Bolton on matters of war, but it also leaves open the question of why Bolton is being kept on in a key position.

At the very least, Trump’s skepticism about an Iran war is keeping him out of the war so far. And yet, Pompeo et al continue to try to sell the narrative of Iran being an aggressive enemy. It’s not clear how deeply committed Trump is to avoiding a war, but we are likely to find out, because the people pressing him to go to war aren’t going anywhere.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.