Get More Smarter on Tuesday (September 17)

Today is Constitution Day, which is apparently a thing; please celebrate responsibly. Now, let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us Facebook and Twitter.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Former President Teddy Roosevelt was known for his “big stick diplomacy” when it came to foreign policy. Surely you remember the quotation: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

President Trump’s philosophy is a little different; it’s more like, “Yell loudly and make occasional references to the size of your stick.” As the Washington Post reports:

President Trump has said Iran is the greatest threat in the Middle East, a would-be nuclear power that he has brought low through the stiffest sanctions ever applied to a single nation. He has warned that the United States is “locked and loaded” to punish Iran if it is found to be responsible for the attack on Saudi oil facilities over the weekend.

But Trump has also eagerly courted a sit-down negotiation with the leader of Iran, called off a military strike earlier this year because it could have killed too many Iranians and flirted with a plan to offer Tehran a $15 billion lifeline to help it deal with the crushing U.S. sanctions.

On Monday in the Oval Office, Trump told reporters “we don’t want war with anybody” and then less than an hour later said he thinks a U.S. military strike on an Iranian oil facility would be a proportional response.

On Tuesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader appeared to rule out direct negotiations with the United States. From a separate Washington Post story:

U.S. officials rejected claims by Houthi rebels in Yemen, who receive Iranian support, that they had launched the strikes Saturday. The officials described the attacks as more sophisticated and powerful than anything the rebels could accomplish on their own.

But neither Trump nor Saudi leaders would say unequivocally that Iran was responsible…

…Trump’s reluctance to assign blame appeared to reflect his long-standing desire to keep the United States out of wars, despite his tweet Sunday that the United States was “locked and loaded depending on verification.”

“I’m not looking to get into new conflict, but sometimes you have to,” Trump said Monday.

Trump did not rule out a military response but made clear that the Saudis would take the lead — and pay the bill.