by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Were the establishment media to be believed, President Trump is spoiling for a shooting war with Iran. In articles mostly targeting fiercely mustachioed National Security Adviser John Bolton, The New York Times, CNN, NBC, The New Yorker, The Guardian, and even USA Today are running hot takes contending we are marching to the brink.
A closer look suggests the story so far is much less about Trump war-mongering and more about media fear-mongering. With Special Counsel Robert Mueller putting to rest years of media speculation that Trump was a Russian asset, it is as if Trump’s opponents need a new reason why he should frighten voters.
At the generally neoconservative Commentary magazine, Noah Rothman set forth the case that the war drums are not beating at the White House. In response, Jonathan Chait wrote a column headlined “Conservative Columnist Urges War With Iran Over 2 Percent Oil Price Hike,” even though Rothman wrote military action “would be counterproductive to the [Trump] strategy they are currently pursuing, which consists of imposing broad economic sanctions on Iran to harden grassroots resistance to the regime in the hopes of catalyzing a revolution.” It seems as though the antiwar left will not take “no war” for an answer. …
… The administration is war-planning for a worst-case scenario, as prudent governments do. But President Trump was quick to dismiss claims that he was gearing up for war as “fake news,” a position consistent with his generally non-interventionist leanings.