President Trump’s campaign of “maximum pressure” against Iran reminds me of President Franklin Roosevelt’s similar campaign against Japan prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
After England declared war on Germany, owing to the latter’s invasion of Poland, the American people were overwhelmingly opposed to entry into the war. That was because they recognized that U.S. interventionism into World War I, which cost the lives and limbs of tens of thousands of American soldiers and severely infringed on the liberty of the American people, had accomplished nothing.
Americans had no interest in doing it again. Their mindsets were similar to those of our American ancestors, whose founding foreign policy was to avoid involvement in Europe’s forever wars.
In his 1940 campaign for president, Roosevelt told the American people that he was with them in their opposition to foreign wars. He said to them, “I’ve said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.”
The problem is that FDR was lying. In fact, his secret aim was to circumvent the will of the American people and somehow maneuver the United States into the war.
During that time, U.S. presidents were still complying with the provision in the Constitution that prohibits the president from waging war without first securing a declaration of war from Congress. FDR knew, however, that securing such a declaration was impossible, given the overwhelming sentiment against getting involved in another European war.
So, FDR, who is widely recognized as one of the craftiest politicians in U.S. history, began figuring out a way by which he could embroil the nation in the war despite the fierce opposition of the American people.
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