Any person hoping that the Trump administration would depart from the long-standing foreign policy consensus of Washington D.C. should be sorely disappointed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s congressional testimony this week.
“I would tell you that we certainly recognize Iran’s continued destabilizing presence in the region, their payment of foreign fighters, their export of militia forces in Syria, in Iraq, in Yemen,” Tillerson said to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
Tillerson apparently finds it problematic that Iranian forces are working to fight ISIS throughout the Middle East. The Trump administration funnels weapons to states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two countries known to support ISIS, while leading the public to believe that Iran is the grave threat in the region. This is reminiscent of the illogical Bush-era foreign policy that then-candidate Trump bashed frequently on the campaign trail last year.
Although Tillerson says that the Trump administration’s policy proposal on Iran is incomplete and the President hasn’t been briefed about it at the present time, his rhetoric indicates that it will be involve a great deal of nation-building and foreign intervention.
“We are taking action to respond to Iran’s hegemony. Additional sanctions… have been put in place against individuals and others… Our policy towards Iran is to push back on this hegemony, contain their ability to develop… nuclear weapons, and to work toward support of those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government,” Tillerson said.
Tillerson’s promise of a “peaceful transition” is dubious considering the history of American foreign policy in Iran. The United States installed the Shah, a brutal dictator, in 1953 after orchestrating a successful clandestine coup d’etat to protect oil interests. The blowback from that intervention led to Islamic revolution that maintains its power to this very day.
American foreign policy could be charitably described as schizophrenic. Trump’s supporters hoped that he would follow an “America First” mandate, but he has fallen back into serving the military-industrial complex by meddling throughout the world. Trump’s official Iran policy, when it is officially unveiled, is likely to leave neoconservatives and other globalists very pleased.