Seth Abramson @SethAbramson Attorney. @Newsweek columnist. NYT bestselling author of a book on Trump's Iran policy, Proof of Conspiracy (Macmillan, Professor. Jan. 08, 2020 3 min read

I continue to say—here and via my book-published research—that war with Iran is something that will happen on MBS's, MBZ's, and Netanyahu's timeframe, and is intended to be part of the "grand bargain" Kurt Volker spoke of to Congress. Those actors and that bargain is *not ready*.

PS/ What this means is America's *best chance for peace now* is that Putin hasn't signed onto any "grand bargain"—partly because Trump can't deliver on sanctions relief—and Trump's Muslim and Jewish allies in the Middle East aren't ready for the war Netanyahu confessed they want.

PS2/ OTOH, there's some bad news. Back in 2015 and 2016, Trump and his allies/political operation were on board with a grand bargain because it netted them illicit election aid, and it wasn't clear war would come to pass. Trump's recent actions suggest he's *warming to the idea*.

PS3/ One can only speculate as to why Trump thought it politically advantageous to avoid a war with Iran for as long as possible in 2015-16, but now is ready to launch into one without the clear support of the very allies for whom he'd be doing the deed. But we all have a guess.

PS4/ Trump has a *long* history of accusing others of the conduct, values and thinking he himself is secretly harboring and must distance himself from by projecting them on others—and the fact is, he couldn't stop accusing Obama of wanting to go to war with Iran to get reelected.

PS5/ So on some level, the person you should be watching tonight is... Sean Hannity. If Sean Hannity believes that it's politically advantageous for Trump to go to war in Iran in order to distract from impeachment and build support among his base, Trump's *far* more likely to go.

PS6/ So, America's dilemma: we can't know when the moment comes that Hannity, Netanyahu, MBS and MBZ are in accord about war with Iran. And we'll never know. And that's exactly why the White House lies *repeatedly* about Trump's contact with these four people (and a fifth—Putin).

PS7/ I think what happened tonight was due to Donald Trump being angry about impeachment, and wanting to look like a "strong man" (post-embassy protest) as opposed to (in his view) Clinton and Obama. But that doesn't mean Trump's "real" advisory corps won't get the war they want.

PS8/ So for instance, let's say Iranian *proxies* launch attacks against U.S. persons or interests—or god forbid there's a lone wolf attack in the U.S.—and it happens when Netanyahu is more politically in the clear than he is now. And Trump is angry. What happens then? Who knows.

PS9/ So what you should take from tonight's developments is that for as long as Trump is POTUS, war with Iran is technically imminent. That doesn't mean it's a certainty, because Trump will eschew it if he thinks it'll cost him re-election. But that doesn't make it less imminent.

PS10/ By contrast, if Trump is reelected, there's no particular reason I can think of—after thousands of hours of research for two books on Trump's presidency and more particularly his foreign policy—to believe we *won't* go to war with Iran. But I certainly *pray* we won't. /end

NOTE/ In Tweet "PS2" in this thread, what I'm saying Trump is "warming to the idea of" is a war with Iran in the *absence* of a "grand bargain." Part of that's bloodlust, part impeachment, part vanity, part Iran withdrawing from the nuclear deal (which Trump basically compelled).

You can follow @SethAbramson.


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