彩神app8官网登录官方Spotlight: Conflicting interests characterizes Washington policy towards Iran

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by Matthew Rusling

WASHINGTON, July 29 (Xinhua) -- As tensions run high between the United States and Iran, conflicting interests within the U.S. administration have greatly impacted U.S. policy toward the Middle Eastern country, experts said.

"There are conflicting goals in the Trump administration towards Iran," Wayne White, former deputy director of the Middle East Intelligence Office of the State Department, told Xinhua.

U.S. President Donald Trump ran in 2016 on staying out of foreign military conflicts such as Iraq, since after the brutal war in the country, there is little public appetite within the United States for any new military conflicts.

However, tensions have escalated between Washington and Tehran since Trump pulled the United States out of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, arguing that it was a "bad deal" that would not prevent Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Recent weeks have seen a U.S. military buildup at Saudi Arabia's Prince Sultan Air Base. The move started last month, but Washington is expected to ramp it up in the weeks ahead as Tehran increases strikes on oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, and after Iran shot down a U.S. drone last month -- a claim that Tehran denies.

But Clay Ramsay, a researcher at the University of Maryland, believes that "the Department of Defense and the military will be extremely loath to get into an actual exchange of fire with Iran, because they understand that Iran's next step would not be predictable and so cannot really be prepared for."

"The U.S. itself will continue with three conflicting policies toward Iran, from the Defense Department, the NSC (National Security Council) plus the State Department, and the president," Ramsay told Xinhua.

Trump will send mixed signals on purpose, he said. "President Trump himself will produce rapid fluctuations -- sometimes sending conciliatory signals, sometimes insulting Iran -- because he believes this behavior is psychologically effective and weakens the adversary's resolve."

On Trump's team are hardliners such as U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton, who is far less wary of armed conflict and is castigated by critics as having a thirst for war.

According to Axios, a U.S. news publication, White House insiders contend that Trump finds Bolton valuable because Trump believes having a hawk like Bolton on his team gives him stronger leverage against adversaries.

"Having Bolton on his team improves his bargaining position and gives him a psychological advantage over foes like Iran," Axios said.

Republican Strategist and TV news personality Ford O'Connell told Xinhua that Trump is well aware of the cost of going to war, particularly before the election.

But Trump nevertheless needs Bolton on his team as part of the policy calculation.

"Bolton chooses the most hawkish policy and everyone else in the administration picks a relatively dovish policy and Trump picks something in between," O'Connell said.