Tag Archives: Washington hawks

The Failure of Huff and Puff Foreign Policy, by Doug Bandow

Most of the world sees US politicians’ bluster for what it is: bluster. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:

The Tougher Hawks Talk, the Worse They Perform

For all their talk of peace through strength, American hawks favor windbag diplomacy. In their view there is no international problem that cannot be solved with theatrical hyperventilating leavened by threats and insults. The more serious the challenge, the more they bloviate. Failure only inflates their inner windbag.

President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were experts in this tactic. They imagined U.S. foreign policy as an alternative ending for the tale of the Big Bad Wolf. All they had to do was huff and puff harder and longer, and the bad guy’s house would always fall down.

The Trump administration most famously took this approach with Iran. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action significantly lengthened Tehran’s “breakout time” for developing a nuclear weapon and created internal pressure on the regime to open up economically to the West. Even hardliners like Defense Secretary Jim Mattis backed continuation of the agreement despite having misgivings when it was first negotiated.

However, Trump abandoned the pact, insisting that reimposing economic sanctions would force the Islamic Republic to make a gaggle of additional concessions. Pompeo gave an imperious speech at the Heritage Foundation, setting Iran’s surrender terms – Tehran’s abandonment of its sovereignty, independent foreign policy, and defensive deterrent in 12 easy steps. All that was missing was the stipulation that Iranian leaders would be expected to genuflect, heads touching the floor, to the president before signing the capitulation before the entire world.

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