ISIS is completely vanquished … except where it's more powerful than ever

In March, Donald Trump declared that the Islamic States had been completely defeated. Since then, he’s kept on making that claim … except when he’s been claiming that anyone who didn’t agree with him on any point was “siding with ISIS.” In fact, Trump made this claim so often that earlier this month the Pentagon felt it necessary to issue a report making it clear that Trump’s seat-of-his-whatever military decisions were giving the Islamic State a chance to rebuild, restructure, and emerge as a new form of threat. 

As The New York Times reports, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was forced to admit that ISIS was in fact gaining ground both metaphorically and literally. “It’s complicated,” said Pompeo. “There are certainly places where ISIS is more powerful today than they were three or four years ago.” Which is quite an accomplishment for a group that’s been “completely vanquished.”

But for most of Pompeo’s CBS interview, he concentrated on what a great thing Trump had done by violating a signed treaty without cause so that Trump could give Mohammed bin Salman a hand with Iran. Pompeo acknowledged that every other major power supported the 2015 Iran agreement, which not only limited Iran’s ability to conduct any nuclear activity in the short term, but banned them from developing nuclear weapons forever while subjecting them to the most intense inspection regime in history. But Pompeo declared that he and Trump considered this agreement “weak” and said it was a very good thing that the United States demonstrated that there was no point in making diplomatic treaties since the U.S. could just break them as it pleased.

Pompeo went on to reinforce how good all Trump’s actions had been … by spending the rest of the interview talking about all the things now going on in the Middle East that have the region on the brink of war. This included a lot of finger-shaking at allies warning them to not provide any assistance to an Iranian tanker now more or less adrift in the Mediterranean, with assurances that anyone who allows the ship to dock will get a beat-down from the sanction stick. And, of course, Pompeo’s interview included a section in which he defended allowing Kim Jong Un to scatter missiles in the Pacific because he and Trump are close. That’s Pompeo’s job after all—explaining how Donald Trump’s “strategy” of abandoning allies, supporting dictators, and taking random military actions is good for America.

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