Throughout his tenure, President Trump has directed rhetorical barbs at Iran’s regime, including in Tuesday’s State of the Union address, during which he said: “My administration has acted decisively to confront the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, the radical regime in Iran. . . . To ensure this corrupt dictatorship never acquires nuclear weapons, I withdrew the United States from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal.”
Taken on their own, his words aren’t a total departure from those of other politicians: In his 2002 State of the Union speech, President George W. Bush marked Iran as part of an “axis of evil.” In 2007, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) quipped, “Bomb Iran? Bomb, bomb, bomb. . .” to the tune of the Beach Boys’ “Barbara Ann.”
But as president, Trump has been more consistent with his aggressive posture toward Iran than he has on many other issues. In his first two years in office, the changes he has made to his Cabinet, the disregard he has shown for diplomacy and his choices in the Middle East all conspire to make war with Iran a growing danger.