That would be several stories in both the New York Times and the Washington Post over the last two days: Trump’s policy against Iran is a great success and it is completely reasonable and justified. This reporting and columnizing has followed three tracks.
One was in a column yesterday in WaPo from Mark Thiessen of AEI, generally pro-Trump. His column was about how Trump in general doing well on foreign policy, although with no mention of the trade war. He did not spend much time on Iran, but it is a success, so obviously so it does not need much discussion. He fulfilled a campaign promise and showed he is strong, and of course it is so justified he did not waste time defending it. However, he made no comment on how Iran has responded to this supposedly gloriously successful policy, and in fact Iran has basically done nothing.
Anouher thrust in both papers have been reports of the release of the State Department’s annual report on terrorism. As in past years the report again without question names Iran as the world’s “leading state sponsor of terrorism,” something that Trump and politicians of both parties have regularly repeated without a shred of embarrassment. Juan Cole points out several problems here. For starters, there is not a single terrorist act that happened last year (this report covers 2017) that can be blamed on Iran or any of the groups it supposedly supports. The single piece of evidence on Iran’s supposed terrorist threat to the US is that in February two supposed Hezbullah “operatives” were arrested in Michigan. There is not even a claim that these “operatives” were even planning a terrorist act, much less actually carried out one. As Cole notes, Hezbullah is the dominant force in the Lebanese government, and it is well over a decade since anybody has tied that organization to an actual terrorist act. As it is, Cole notes that the report notes a 23% decline in terrorist acts from 2016 to 2017, with most of that due to a reduction of acts by ISIS in Iraq especially. Who helped shut down ISIS in Iraq? Iran-supported gropus, but the report fails to note that, just as it fails to note ongong Saudi support for terrorist actions.