A month ago, I posted about the calculated campaign underway in the media to create a narrative that Secretary of Defense James Mattis and President Trump are at loggerheads.
“Right now, if I say ‘six’ and the president says ‘half a dozen,’ they’re going to say I disagree with him, so let’s just get over that,” Mattis said. “If that’s the story that some people want to write, then they’ll find the way, they’ll sort out something.”
Now that it seems as though President Trump will refuse to certify Iran as being in compliance with the nuclear weapons giveaway negotiated by Obama, the media are at it again. From Axios, Mattis says staying in Iran deal is in U.S. national security interest.
Defense Secretary Mattis was asked Tuesday at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing whether he believes it is in America’s “national security interest at this time to remain” in the Iran nuclear deal. After a lengthy pause, Mattis replied to Sen. Angus King: “Yes Senator, I do.”
What they are trying to do is conflate certification with staying in the deal. They are not remotely the same thing and, as far as I have been able to tell, there is no large constituency in the White House, the NSC, State or Defense to simply withdraw from the deal. The idea is to try to put pressure on Iran to make it comply with the deal and the most likely option is to refuse to certify and then start talking about sanctions. As the IAEA has said they can’t certify that Iran is in compliance of one section of the agreement, this seems like the direction the administration will take.
Mattis said nothing that is in any way at variance with the action the administration will probably take next week.