Facing War-Weary Base, Trump Shifting to a More Diplomatic Approach

Thursday, May 30, 2019
By Paul Martin

Jason Ditz
May 29, 2019

Despite trying to give the appearance of boundless confidence in his foreign policy, President Trump appears very aware that a lot of Americans, including parts of his political base, are profoundly uncomfortable with the war-mongering tone of recent months.

Between Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela, the US has seemed on the brink of a huge war for months now. With the polls turning against him, President Trump is now talking up diplomacy, and how he’s not seeking regime change in Iran.

This is fueling criticism from hawkish pundits, who like their president the way he was: shaking his fists with rage and promising great suffering the world over. They are accusing Trump of showing weakness and undercutting his previous “maximum pressure” strategy.

Trump may struggle to complete this shift in tone, with top members of his cabinet heavily committed to the more hawkish language. It is hard to envision John Bolton, for instance, advocating something that doesn’t involve a region-wide war.

Indeed, John Bolton is in the United Arab Emirates at the same time, and continues to talk up the need for a “strong response” to Iran, accusing Iran of doing things that there is no evidence they did, on the grounds that “who else would you think is doing it?” Trump’s attempts to convey a sense of calm in the Middle East are clearly and dramatically being undercut by Bolton.

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