Why Trump Is Escalating Tensions with Iran

In 2011, he projected that Obama would do exactly what he’s doing now.

One of the themes that has emerged in the Trump era is that “there is a tweet for everything.” It refers to the fact that whenever Trump says or does something, there is a tweet from his past demonstrating his hypocrisy. For example, even as the current occupant of the Oval Office has spent twice as much time on a golf course as Obama, Trump regularly complained that his predecessor played too much golf, tweeting about it 27 times from 2011 to 2016.

There is no great mystery about why there is a tweet for everything. Anyone as sociopathic as Donald Trump engages in projection when attacking their opponents. That is because they are incapable of empathy or being able to see another person’s point of view. Absent any other point of reference, they simply project their own reactions onto others. Trump is obviously obsessed with playing golf, so regardless of the facts, he projected that obsession onto Obama.

The assassination of Qassem Soleimani and escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran led to another moment of “there is a tweet for everything” on Thursday night.

Those tweets were coupled with this video Trump released in November of 2011.

Trump projected that Obama was under pressure with the upcoming 2012 election and that he would respond by going to war with Iran—because that is precisely what Trump would do under those circumstances. Fast forward almost nine years and it becomes clear that, as Trump faces the pressure of both impeachment and the 2020 election, he is responding by igniting a conflict with Iran.

Trump also projected his inability to negotiate onto his predecessor, as has now become obvious.

It is worth remembering that Barack Obama took up residence in Trump’s head at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2011 just a few months before that first tweet about Iran. Not only did Obama roast Trump for his birtherism lie, he did so while approving the mission that ultimately killed Osama bin Laden. This is all connected in Trump’s twisted mind. We’re already hearing from some quarters that taking out Soleimani is a bigger accomplishment than killing bin Laden.

It is only a matter of time before we hear the same thing from Trump.

The consequences of this latest move are grave and will unfold over the coming days and weeks. At this point, the administration is sending mixed messages about the goal of this assassination. On the one hand, they claim that it was designed to protect U.S. personnel abroad.

At the same time, consular operations in Baghdad have been suspended and the State Department issued a security alert urging Americans to depart Iraq immediately. Obviously, Americans in the Middle East are less safe as a result of this action.

Iraq has responded by condemning the assassination, calling it “a flagrant violation of Iraqi sovereignty and a dangerous escalation.” They have initiated an emergency session of parliament to make “decisive decisions that put an end to US presence inside Iraq.” In Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said “severe revenge awaits the criminals” behind the attack.

We can only watch and wait to see how all of this plays out. But it is important to keep in mind that almost nine years ago, Trump signaled exactly what he would do under pressure by projecting it onto Obama.

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Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60.