I’m old enough to remember when liberals and conservatives alike were saying that we needed energy independence, that we shouldn’t be beholden to OPEC and the oil sheikhdoms of the Middle East.

President Trump tweeted:

Well, #NeverTrumper Bill Kristol is simply aghast:

So, what, the esteemed Mr Kristol would have us police the world?

I love his logic: we borrow billions from China, money we have to pay back, in order to protect Chinese oil supplies! Does he think US should go to war with Iran to protect other countries’ ships?

Max Boot, yet another neoconservative, wrote, in The Washington Post:

In short, Trump refused to pull the trigger not because he got new information but because he got cold feet. This looks a lot like President Barack Obama’s failure to carry out threatened airstrikes in 2013 after Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons. “Red line statement was a disaster for President Obama,” Trump tweeted at the time. His hesitations and zigzags with Iran are no less a disaster for him.

I’m not one who believes that we’d have gone to war with Iran if the President had allowed the retaliatory strike to proceed. Given the strategic situation, it would have been much more likely to have been a tit-for-tat thing. One thing is pretty clear: if Iran had the capability to strike the United States, the mad mullahs would already have done so.

President Trump is war-averse. He has greatly reduced our commitment in Afghanistan, and announced the (as yet incomplete) withdrawal from Syria. War is a dirty, stinking business, and something that usually gets out of control. For a control freak like Mr Trump, war is a very bad business. But while war is sometimes necessary, having a President who is war averse is a good thing, not a bad one.

So, instead of striking whatever military targets were in the crosshairs, the President decided on further economic sanctions:

Trump imposes new sanctions on Iran, warns U.S. ‘restraint’ is limited

By William Branigin and Erin Cunningham | June 24, 2019 | 2:53 PM

President Trump, warning that U.S. “restraint” has limits, signed an executive order Monday imposing additional economic sanctions on Iran in apparent retaliation for the downing of a U.S. drone last week.

Trump said the new “hard-hitting” sanctions will deny Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and other top officials access to financial resources.

“We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran,” Trump said in an Oval Office signing ceremony attended by Vice President Pence and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “Never can Iran have a nuclear weapon.”

“We do not seek conflict with Iran or any other country,” Trump added. “I think a lot of restraint has been shown by us, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to show it in the future.”

Asked by a reporter whether the new sanctions were a response to Iran’s downing of a U.S. drone over the Strait of Hormuz last week, Trump said that “you could probably add that into this.” But then he said, “This is something that was going to happen anyway.”

I suppose that the esteemed Mr Boot will disapprove. One thing is certain: neither he nor Mr Kristol will ever say anything that could be considered as supporting the President’s decision to use sanctions rather than military force.  This is the President of whom Mr Boot wrote:

This is part of a pattern with Trump, who roars like a tiger but usually acts like a scaredy-cat. This is the same president, after all, who has repeatedly threatened to close the border with Mexico or slap it with prohibitive tariffs unless it ended illegal immigration — and never once made good on his threats.

It is to laugh: Mr Trump’s tariff threats has pushed Mexico to take further action, having deployed troops to its southern border to stop entry from Guatemala, and some 15,000 to the US border to stop immigrants from crossing into the United States.

Mr Boot’s article was published yesterday, well after Mexico took these actions; perhaps he wasn’t paying attention. Or perhaps he’s just thoroughly eaten up with #TrumpDerangementSyndrome.

For the “Never Trumpers,” nothing matters but their all-consuming hatred. President Trump could walk across the water, and they’d hate him, he could cure cancer — as Joe Biden promised to do — and they’d be outraged. Messrs Kristol and Boot are simply unserious people pretending to be intellectuals.
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