MSNBC's Joe Scarborough is not a foreign policy genius, but he attempts to play one on TV. Less than one week after saying that Trump was turning over Syria to the Russians and the Iranians, the Morning Joe co-host flipped 180 degrees and said that Donald Trump and National Security Advisor John Bolton want to invade Iran.
Morning Joe speculated last Wednesday that the reason behind Trump's rhetoric and policy towards Russia is softer and more conciliatory than the intelligence chiefs, is because Vladimir Putin must have something on him. Now, the reasoning behind Trump's bucking of the intel chiefs is not because he is a foreign asset, but because he and Bolton are setting the stage for war with Iran. Scarborough postulated that, "It really does seem like in the larger context here is that Donald Trump and John Bolton want to invade Iran. They want to start a war with Iran and they’re very angry that his intel chiefs aren’t giving him the excuse."
Former George W. Bush White House Aide and MSNBC political analyst Elise Jordan at least attempted to provide some more sophisticated analysis and substantive criticism by citing how relations with Iraq would be affected if certain Iraqi factions believe that bases currently used by American forces against ISIS were to be used against Iran. She did say that beating the war drums with Iran and echoing "Bolton's MO" is something Trump feels he can go back to when he is under "any other kind of pressure."
Foreign affairs can be a complicated business, but Morning Joe has a simple formula: anything that Trump does that is more dovish than what Morning Joe believes is proof he's a foreign asset, while anything more hawkish is proof he's a jingoistic warmonger.
Here is a transcript for the February 4 show:
6:03 AM ET
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Well you know, it’s also so disturbing Alice that the President of the United States would suggest on national television that the intel chiefs, the CIA Director was suggesting the people running Iran were like kindergartners. Her response to a question of were they abiding by the treaty was simple and strait forward, or the agreement? The answer was a straightforward “Yes, they were.” That was it. It really does seem like in the larger context here is that Donald Trump and John Bolton want to invade Iran. They want to start a war with Iran and they’re very angry that his intel chiefs aren’t giving him the excuse, which makes it very ironic that he brings up WMDs and Iraq, because there you had the intel chiefs saying “Yes, go ahead. They have weapons of mass destruction.” Now you have the intel chiefs saying “Hold back” and yet this President and John Bolton seem hell bent of provoking a war with Iran.
ELISE JORDAN: Well, Donald Trump seems to want to have the Iran war drum when he feels any other kind of pressure, he can go back to that and harken whatever Bolton’s MO is with you know, a more aggressive posture with Iran. It’s quite scary actually and I think that it’s to the detriment of our strategy against ISIS and there’s been a lot of hysteria in my opinion over the Syria withdrawal just because we can reconstitute and attack ISIS from Iraq. However, you look at what Donald Trump just said yesterday in the interview with Margaret Brennan and that’s going to make Iraqi political factions really anxious, especially Muqtada al-Sadr’s alliance and so they are not going to like this one bit and so if we want to stay in Iraq and we want to be able to use those bases, those air bases to go after ISIS than maybe Donald Trump needs to think about that in his diplomacy in the region.