Of enormous concern is that the Trump administration has for months been raising the ante with Iran, engaging in increasingly provocative actions that make war with Iran more likely.
Three things to keep in mind here:
First, President Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner are very close to the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. And the Saudis are rivals to Iran for influence and control in the region. The Saudis have also been promising very large investments in things important to both Trump and Kushner.
Second, as the domestic legal woes of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu have deepened, he has sought distractions and allies wherever he can find them. Trump has proved to be a strong supporter, as U.S. evangelicals are one of Trump’s most important voting blocs for the 2020 election, and most evangelicals support Israel unconditionally (Trump’s VP Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are also both evangelical). Despite loud disagreement from Israel’s intelligence community, Netanyahu pushed Trump to exit the JCPOA nuclear accord with Iran, and then himself cried loudly about the risk he says Iran poses to Israel. Trump, Pence and Pompeo have, in lock step with Netanyahu, grown more antagonistic toward Iran — with their own provocative actions pushing the two countries closer to conflict.
And third, Trump’s national security advisor, John Bolton, is also pushing Trump toward confrontation with Iran — just the way he pushed George W. Bush toward the war in Iraq. Bolton is the most hawkish U.S. national security advisor in recent memory, having advocated for regime change in not only Iran, but also in Syria, Venezuela, North Korea, Cuba, and Libya. His current objectives were made clear in an August 2017 piece he penned for the National Review: “How to Get Out of the Iran Nuclear Deal.” In Trump’s June 23rd interview with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press, he said about Bolton: “If it was up to him, he’d take on the whole world at one time.”