Secret Agent Rand Paul Reporting For Duty!
SHHHHH! Donald Trump just appointed Rand Paul as his double-super-secret backchannel to Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Kentucky's second worst senator is going to go convince those Iranians to give up their nukes and start playing nice. Hosanna, our long, national nightmare is over! But keep it under your hats because it's totally hush-hush, okay?
Politico reports that Sens. Paul and David Perdue went golfing with Trump this weekend at his New Jersey course -- paid for by you, the American taxpayer -- and the president gave his blessing to Paul's request to meet with Zarif to try to bring down the temperature a bit and keep us out of another pointless Middle Eastern war. Paul refused to confirm or deny that his plan involves praising Zarif's big, beautiful hands and promising half price taco bowls for life at the future Trump Tower Isfahan.
(Let him play all the golf he wants, they said. When he's out there on the links, he's not breaking shit, they said.)
Bypassing the entire State Department and National Security apparatus has "rankled many administration officials, who are expressing concern that Paul's intervention threatens to scuttle the president's 'maximum pressure' campaign against Tehran." Which is Washington-speak for, "Holy shit, we've been cranking these sanctions up and threatening to rape and pillage our allies if they trade with Iran, and That Orange Idiot is going to throw a press conference saying that he traded it all away for six magic beans the way tried to with North Korea."
In a related article from yesterday, Politico noted that Trump's replacement plan for Obama's Iran deal, AKA the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), bears a striking resemblance to ... Obama's Iran deal. All he wants is for Iran not to build any nukes, which is exactly what they were doing before Trump showed that black president who's boss by setting fire to the JCPOA in May of 2018. His advisors, however, have different plans.
Politico describes two teams in the White House. Call them "squads," if you will. The Bomb Squad, led by National Security Advisor John Bolton, believes foreign policy is war by another name, and the best way to negotiate with Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and any other country that doesn't roll over is with a drone strike. Their plan for Iran involves either a US-led attack to overthrow the Iranian leadership, or support for the Iranian opposition so they can lead their own coup.
The Strangler Squad, led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, wants to make the world an offer it can't refuse -- do exactly what we say, or America will destroy your economy with sanctions. As an unnamed (of course!) State Department official told Politico, the JCPOA was "a flawed deal because it did not permanently address our concerns with respect to Iran's nuclear program and destabilizing conduct. The U.S. is seeking a deal with Iran that comprehensively addresses the regime's destabilizing behavior — not just their nuclear program, but also their missile program, support to terrorism, and malign regional behavior." And throw in a pony that can sing the Star Spangled Banner while you're at it.
Hence Pompeo's 12-step program by which Iran can denuclearize and stand down in the various proxy conflicts with Saudi Arabia (Happy Birthday, MBS!), and then we'll let them sell oil again. It's working out GREAT.
The problem is, Donald Trump campaigned on getting us out of expensive foreign wars, while simultaneously promising that he would easily negotiate a much better deal with Iran. They'd see his manly white face and that orange ferret crawling on his head, and know the jig was up.
Instead, after the US cancelled the JCPOA and threatened to sanction European banks who continue to trade with Iran in a desperate attempt to keep the deal alive, the Iranian government announced that it was going to return to enriching and stockpiling uranium as before. At which point, the White House threw a shit fit and ordered Iran to come back into compliance with the deal we ourselves blew up.
Luckily, Rand Paul is here to save the day. He's already voted against granting the president power to invade Iran, and repeatedly said that the 2001 Congressional Authorization for Military Force won't cover it 18 years later. And Senator Paul is nothing if not a man of principle, when it's not too inconvenient. So, if there's anyone who can handle a sticky diplomatic situation, it's the guy so obnoxious his own neighbor beat the shit out of him for being such a raging dick.
Time to book the hall for the signing ceremony, and then alert the Nobels, because this one's totally in the bag.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.