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The promotion of hawkish figures from Mike Pompeo to John Bolton has given impetus to the idea that some sort of military clash is inevitable.
But as tensions between the US and Iran have been ratcheted up, there is reason to believe that the president is one of the voices in the White House urging restraint.
The pantomime is in full swing, but no one knows the end of the script.
The West has still not reckoned with its first mistake in Syria: demanding the removal of Assad.
From the Middle East to North Korea, Donald Trump is reasserting US military strength and intensifying the rivalry among the great powers.
Barack Obama made a virtue of his decision not to follow the “Washington playbook” on Syria. His successor had an opportunity to distinguish himself.
If the line between peace and war is being blurred, so is that between fact and fiction.
If Britain has a declared interest in curtailing Islamic State and stabilising Syria, it is neither honourable nor viable to let others intervene on our behalf.
There is usually a price when bloodlust goes unchecked in distant lands.
There are severe limits to what the UK can do as a middle-ranking power. But it can do better than firefighting every crisis with an emergency meeting of Cobra.