To sum up, a real estate trader and hotel owner who may not have read a book on foreign affairs in his lifetime, and who would certainly have trouble explaining the difference between Sunnis and Shiites, ruled the US, the most powerful country in the world: Donald Trump.
Faced with him are fanatics and militarists who have heard in the past 40 years morning, noon and evening only one slogan, namely that America is the mortal enemy: the Iranian mullahs.
In between: A 34-year-old hereditary and oil prince, who has the ambition to lead his country to new size and presumably knows no scruples to crush any kind of resistance with the Bonesaw: Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia ,
That's the situation. Who can sleep peacefully?
It is a dangerous mix of incompetence, hubris and fanaticism that is currently being touched in the Middle East. In fact, the world could only be a tweet away from the next major war disaster. A chain reaction is conceivable: After the attack on Saudi Arabian oil fields, Saudi Arabia attacks the arch rival Iran, Iran strikes back, the US rush to help the allies in Riyadh, Iraq is taken to the war, Israel as well, and already stands a whole region in flames.
Trump, the lord of war and peace
Can anything happen. And yet not again. Ultimately, it has the real estate agent in hand. Donald Trump is the lord of war and peace. And with him you have to know: He thinks of everything he does, first of all to a person - to Donald Trump.
What brings Trump a war with Iran personally? Nothing. That makes a big conflict (currently) not impossible, but rather unlikely. The egoism of the president could in this case exceptionally prove to be a good thing.
America's voters, including Trump's voters, are more than war-weary. Many are tired of the US engaging overseas, while in the country the roads are full of potholes. With the promise to end the operations of US soldiers in Afghanistan and Syria, Trump has denied his campaign - and won. A renewed war would cause great incomprehension, even among their own people.
Trump knows that well, and that explains why he seems hesitant again after the attacks on the Saudi Arabian oil plants: On Sunday, he threatened Teheran more or less directly, the US was always ready to strike back. Then he played down the incident on Monday again. "Everything's fine," he answered reporters' questions about rising oil prices. And: He would like to avoid a war with Iran.
He keeps hoping for the big deal
Trump suspects: A quick military success against Tehran, which he could sell his voters, is not guaranteed. Instead, the US might have to adjust to a bloody, lengthy and expensive slaughter that would be waged on many fronts. An attack by the Saudis or Americans would weld the Iranians together and strengthen the will to resist. And even with a limited military strike, a rapid collapse of Tehran on the negotiating front would not be safe.
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Trump's ultimate goal is reelection. Iran is ultimately secondary there. The 2020 election alone counts. Since he can not use a war that brings dead and economic problems. The diplomatic solution remains the best path for Trump in this crisis. He hopes for the big "deal" to stay in Trump's choice of words.
The Iranians, on the other hand, are well aware of this and are trying to force the president into negotiations with specific provocations, which he must also make concessions on. For example, by relaxing the sanctions against the regime.
So far, so rational. There is only one big unknown. Tehran should keep an eye on them during the dangerous game. When Americans die from attacks, things can very quickly change very much. That can not be talked away by a US president, if he wants to keep his office, not even the peace friend Trump. Dead US citizens or soldiers would automatically trigger the old, learned reflex, perhaps even among Democrats: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.