President Trump claims he doesn’t want conflict, but his actions could accidentally trigger another Middle East war
In Washington, at times of stress, international crises play out in black and white. As in a flickering newsreel from a former age, complex events are reduced to symbolic emblems of right and wrong. Grainy video images of “evil-doers”, George W Bush’s favoured term, purport to show faceless Iranians acting suspiciously around a burning oil tanker in the Gulf last week. As new Middle East troop deployments are announced, US battleships are pictured bravely patrolling freedom’s frontline.
Related: The Trump administration’s dangerous fever dream about Iran | Michael H Fuchs