Donald Trump Faces Himself

The American president seems to have exhausted his own contradictions.

He does not want war, but he has surrounded himself with advisers whose ultimate goal is chiefly to make the Iranian regime disappear. He advocates the return of American soldiers, but he transforms everything he touches into a mess, to the point of involving new reinforcements on the Strait of Hormuz, already one of the most militarized regions of the world. He disgusts his allies, cuts off his supporters, goes it alone, magnifies the greatness and power of America, but displays a lack of follow-through. Both his experience and the talents of his cabinet members are sorely lacking.

Has President Donald Trump exhausted his own contradictions? Perhaps the most frightening aspect of the latest face-off between the United States and Iran is how, via Twitter, the U.S. president seems to reveal, in real time, his inconsistencies and limitations.

To attack or not to attack? It was a close call, but he called off the attack. The instrument that Trump seems to wield as an ultimate weapon, that of “maximum pressure” — renunciations of past agreements, economic sanctions, military escalation — will be nothing more than a waste of time if they are not followed by a diplomatic vision or even military action, however dangerous. Since his term began, the U.S. president has already experienced a similar failure in North Korea, Syria, Venezuela and soon in Palestine for the so-called plan of the century, handled with his son-in-law Jared Kushner. But nothing works. Except that here, against Iran, in this powder keg that is the Persian Gulf, the consequences of a misstep can be quick and costly.

An Iran accused of jeopardizing the stability of this key maritime corridor, an Iran that could revive its nuclear arms race and, moreover, use its various staging posts to carry out terrorist attacks everywhere? In other times, such a nightmare would have been enough to mobilize a broad coalition of goodwill around the United States, in the name of national security. But today, the disdain, arrogance and amateurism of the American administration are too glaring. Trump must face himself and his own contradictions. While awaiting possible reelection, he has isolated himself. And his “America First” policy has already contributed decisively to further destabilizing the geopolitical landscape.

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