Usually, Last Week Tonight sees host John Oliver summing up a truly terrible situation and then revealing the cheekily imaginative stunt he and his team have come up with to at least theoretically nudge said situation in the direction of sanity. And while Sunday’s show saw Oliver, indeed, doing his signature comic dissection—this time of the Iran nuclear deal—there was an uncharacteristic edge of defeatism to Oliver’s manically insightful overview.
Summing up the deal—which saw the U.S. and several other nations curtail Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for easing crippling international sanctions—Oliver called it imperfect, but a hell of a lot better than the unfettered march toward having nuclear weapons in the hands of an unstable theocracy with an ideological mad on for the West. Indeed, as Oliver laid out, the thawed relations engendered by the deal have seen a softening of hard-line support for that whole “burn American flags and root for Israel to become a smoking crater” stance some 60 years of often-disastrous foreign policy have helped bring about.
So naturally, Donald Trump wants to blow the whole deal—and possibly all of Iran—up, alongside his newest, bestest buddies, national security adviser John Bolton, and proposed secretary of state Mike Pompeo. With Trump incessantly Twitter-ranting falsehoods about a deal he all-too-clearly has no understanding of, and two far-right opponents of the deal (along with Trump’s number one Fox News pinup Sean Hannity) stoking Trump’s zeal to scuttle the agreement as early as May 12, Oliver could only conclude with the admission that there’s no real “call your senators” solution to this impending nuclear shitstorm. And while Oliver brought out trusty, crusty spokesperson the Catheter Cowboy for a pro-Iran deal commercial which will actually run in D.C. during Hannity’s blowhard hate-cast, Oliver conceded, uncharacteristically, “I cannot offer you much hope.”