Trump’s White House made a huge error regarding one of the most sensitive geopolitical situations, a one letter mistake that almost certainly would have caused World War 3.
On Monday, the White House released an official statement on Iranian nuclear weapons that includes a typo which changes their message so much that it winds up making a false statement about one of the most delicate international issues.
The Trump administration was forced to amend an emailed statement which claimed Iran “has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program that it has tried and failed to hide from the world.” To point out basic grammar, “has” is considered present tense, currently existing in the here and now.
FLAGGING: The White House adjusts its statement on Iran to say Iran “had,” not “has,” a “robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program that it has tried & failed to hide from the world…” pic.twitter.com/np623Cl02x
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) May 1, 2018
This drastic statement came just after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented a hoard of Iranian documents that he said proved the regime lied about its pursuit of nuclear weapons. None of this, of course, is a surprise to anyone–while Iran has always denied it was pursuing nuclear weapons, the entire point of the sanctions that led to the Iran nuclear deal was to deter a nuclear weapons program everyone assumed Iran was pursuing despite Iran’s persistent denials.
Of course, the aim of this is not to present new information — it is to cater to an audience of one, to ensure that Trump is not persuaded to stay in the deal, despite the efforts of foreign leaders like French President Macron, who is trying to save the deal by offering to rework it. But Trump misses the point.
Undoubtedly, Trump knows nothing about this deal except for one thing: It was negotiated by Obama. Therefore, it is fatally flawed in Trump’s eyes. Netanyahu understands this and knows all he has to do to get Trump to exit the deal is offer some weak pretext. The ironic thing is we are going to leave a deal that has been pretty successful with Iran, and will probably enter a worse deal with North Korea (that is, if North Korea doesn’t look at what Trump is doing with Iran and decide negotiations aren’t worth it).
Nonetheless, the White House reveals itself to be incredibly and dangerously incompetent. It is errors like this that can move nations from peace into armed conflict.
Featured image via Mike Hueller/Getty Images