Trump's only consistent foreign policy goal is to one-up Obama

So Trump tried to one-up Obama with Pompeo’s 12-step program. But it has not worked. And now Iran’s countermove — in response to the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal and reimposition of sanctions designed to drive Iran’s oil sales to zero — has reportedly been to deploy proxies and covert operatives to attack oil and gas tankers passing through the Persian Gulf, forcing the U.S. to protect all of those shipping lanes.

That is hugely expensive for the U.S. and overstretches the Navy. We need allies to confront this Iranian strategy successfully. But Trump has alienated our allies by his incessant lying, his tariffs on their products and his rejection of their willingness to try to renegotiate the Iran nuclear deal in a limited way.

Trump could have gone to Germany, France, the U.K., Russia and China and said: “Let’s improve the Iran deal. Let’s demand the Iranians extend their nuclear weapons freeze for 10 more years — from 15 years to 25 — and restrict all their missile testing to the radius of the Middle East.” If he had, there was a good chance Trump could have achieved a decent improvement on the deal. Instead, he wanted to show that he could transform Iran and one-up Obama.