President Trump's widely anticipated address to the nation on the growing crisis with Iran contained few surprises and even fewer worthwhile observations or proposals. Instead, it was largely a regurgitation of long-standing hawkish allegations and demands. Indeed, Trump began his speech with the stale refrain that Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. From there, he proceeded to recite a lengthy litany of familiar allegations about Tehran's behavior: Iran as the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism; Iran fomenting civil wars and undermining peaceful governments throughout the Middle East; Iran being responsible for the deaths of Americans in Iraq and elsewhere.
The president followed those accusations with an offer to commence negotiations on a new nuclear deal to replace the multilateral Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the existing agreement that Trump sabotaged). The broader proffered carrot was an end to U.S. and international economic sanctions if Tehran would only capitulate on Washington's demands.