The President is caught between Republicans demanding a hawkish response, Democrats warning he could bumble into war and Iranian policy hardliners on his own national security staff who welcome the confrontation.
Asked which way he would turn on Thursday, Trump told reporters, "You'll Find Out" – without a clear result, which gives him the clear political win that is a frequent motivating force behind his foreign policy ventures.
It has often been remarked in Washington that Trump has been lucky not to make a sudden, serious national emergency so far in his presidency. Well, his luck has now run out – though he will get little sympathy from critics who long predicted his hard line Iran policy would precipitate exactly this scenario
The worsening crisis will subject his chaos-riddled administration to an unprecedented test of cohesion. Trump may need to call on allies he has spent months insulting. His trashing of truth and an amateurish public relations effort to build a case against Iran may undermine his chances of selling potentially dangerous action to the American people.
Trump and Bolton debate how to deal with Iran as Pompeo & apos; triangulate & apos; officials say ”
Usually, a good guide to Trump's future action on foreign policy is to identify the course that will swiftly benefit him politically
But the current crisis seems to draw two aspects of President's personal interests into conflict.
Avoiding foreign entanglements is a core principle of Trumpism.
But even a "proportional" US military response, like shooting an Iranian drone or attacking the base that fired the missile that brought down the US aircraft, would probably force the Islamic Republic to the stakes considerably again.
The president has his own image and credibility to consider.
Failing to respond to Iran's escalation would add to the growing impression that Trump's "fire and fury "rhetoric and strongman persona rarely translates into action. He knows that foreign powers like China, North Korea and Russia are watching carefully.
This is a much sharper quandary than when Trump fired cruise missiles into Syria in 2018 after a chemical weapon attack
Then, the Trump savored a quick political payoff after one-upping Obama, he looked tough and knew there was little risk of retaliation that could endanger Americans or deepen the crisis. 19659002] "It has a very difficult decision to make," said Jeh Johnson, a former Obama secretary of Homeland Security who was also a top Pentagon lawyer, on "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. "
" His instincts are no foreign engagements, yet someone has taken action against our forces there and the President has an obligation to protect forces deployed in the Gulf, in the Strait. " is wrestling with and tough decision. It is much easier to start one of these fights than to end one, "said Johnson.
A classic presidential conundrum
For perhaps the first time, Trump is forced to agonize over a classic presidential problem – one that has no good outcomes and ends up on President's desk, has a profoundly idiosyncratic concept of the US national interest – when he takes it into account at all on a thorny foreign policy question
But this is different. and a major war with a power that is far more capable than Iraq – which managed to bust US troops for a decade, and a prolonged conflict with Iran could unleash geopolitical and domestic forces that could destroy its presidency if it goes wrong. 659002] Trump leads from the gut, disdains detail and often seems to handle crises by saying or doing whatever it takes to get to the end of the day.
National security emergencies often stretch an administration to its limits and require a unity of
So far, in the hours since an Iranian missile brought down the $ 110 million surveillance gang over the Gulf of Oman, Trump has been – perhaps surprisingly
He has controlled his impulsive instincts in an out-of-character show of constraint from a man whom Hillary Clinton said should be kept from nuclear codes as he could be baptized by a tweet.
Trump, as other Presidents would have done, seeking to buy himself time and political space ahead of Situation Room meetings with military and political advisers.
He suggested that the incident could have been the work of a "loose" rogue general, dismissing the Washington consensus that Iran was deliberating ratcheting up its leverage to test him. "It was unclear whether the President was speaking after seeing intelligence that suggested divides in the Iranian chain of command or was posing a scenario that would offer him a way out of escalating
One clear problem for Trump is that while it may wish to de-escalate tensions with Iran, there may be little incentive for Tehran to cooperate.
That's because US sanctions under the Trump's maximum pressure campaign have
Recent incidents, including the downsizing of the drone, attacks on shipping in the Gulf of Oman and the Islamic Republic ' with a warning that it will break international limits on uranium enrichment, seems to be an attempt to impose subsequent costs on US
So, without Washington, there is no mood to offer or a significant offer from Trump
Even then, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has said that Trump's decision to pull out of Obama's nuclear deal means Washington can never be trusted in a dialogue again. ” class=”media__image” src=”http://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180606093823-us-iran-flags-large-169.jpg”/>
Iran strikes down US drone aircraft, raising tensions further in Strait of Hormuz ” data-src-mini=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180606093823-us-iran-flags-small-169.jpg” data-src-xsmall=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180606093823-us-iran-flags-medium-plus-169.jpg” data-src-small=”http://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180606093823-us-iran-flags-large-169.jpg” data-src-medium=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180606093823-us-iran-flags-exlarge-169.jpg” data-src-large=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180606093823-us-iran-flags-super-169.jpg” data-src-full16x9=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180606093823-us-iran-flags-full-169.jpg” data-src-mini1x1=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180606093823-us-iran-flags-small-11.jpg” data-demand-load=”not-loaded” data-eq-pts=”mini: 0, xsmall: 221, small: 308, medium: 461, large: 781″ src=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhEAAJAJEAAAAAAP///////wAAACH5BAEAAAIALAAAAAAQAAkAAAIKlI+py+0Po5yUFQA7″/>
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida tweeted that while the administration did not want war with Iran, "it has also made clear that it will respond forcefully to an attack."
Washington buzzed with speculation on Thursday about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Trump's national security adviser John Bolton, who is seen as a driver of the tough US Iran policy.
Critics charge the pair, who replaced officials who opposed Trump's decision to pull out Iran's nuclear deal, creating the crisis through their advice to Trump.
But Brian Hook, the US special envoy for Iran, this week insisted that despite Iranian provocations, the administration's policy was working and had weakened Iran
He fueled an impression that parts of administration welcomed the showdown, after disputing the notion that the Iranian deal had at least frozen the question of a Iranian bomb for a decade
"Rather than wait for all of these things to come in 10 years when Iran is "I really believe that everything we are seeing today is inevitable," he said.
This is one problem that will not be (19659002) This story has been updated