This is the Iran Crisis Trump and Bolton Sought & Our Allies Warned us About
Iran shot down an American surveillance drone Wed. night near the Strait of Hormuz. Iran accepted responsibility, claiming it was in their airspace. US officials disputed that and President Trump ordered, then cancelled, a retaliatory strike on Iranian radar installations and missile batteries.
The drone shoot-down followed U.S. claims that Iran had attacked oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Iran has also warned that it would soon ramp up its uranium enrichment past the limits in the 2015 nuclear agreement from which Trump withdrew the United States last year.
Welcome to the Iranian crisis that the President and his national security adviser, John Bolton, have long sought and that critics and allies warned was coming. After Trump withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [Iran nuclear deal] and he set out to destroy Iran's economy with sanctions and an oil embargo in May, the President must have realized that Iran would punch back at some point. The question, of course, is whether the President and his national security team have a plan to use the crisis to achieve America's goals regarding Iran. They have had a year to devise one.
The drone attack signals that Iran is willing to see how far they can push Trump. Bolton is on record as seeking regime change in Iran, but the President has little interest in starting another war in the Middle East with an election approaching. It's quite possible that the US military response and its cancellation overnight is meant to warn Iran without ratcheting up the crisis. That's wise as a short term fix, but there is no reason to believe Iran won't continue to push back against US sanctions and expand their nuclear program. Does the President have a strategy, a carrot, that will convince Tehran to begin negotiations on a new nuclear deal more to Trump's liking?
Unfortunately, it's unlikely that anyone in the administration has a plan beyond simply responding to events as they unfold. That's not how you do foreign policy successfully.
CNN: "But this [crisis] is different. American lives may well rest on his response. The nation could be sliding towards a major war with a power that is far more capable than Iraq -- which managed to bog down US troops for a decade. A prolonged conflict with Iran could unleash geopolitical and domestic forces that could destroy his presidency if it goes wrong."
"Trump leads from the gut, disdains detail and often appears to handle crises by saying or doing whatever it takes to get to the end of the day. This building crisis requires study, strategic thinking three, four or five steps ahead and an evaluation of the cascade of consequences that could unfold from any course of action."
We will soon learn whether President Trump has a proposal that would convince Iran to negotiate and end their provocations in the region. That's unlikely, so expect more of the same in coming weeks.
By: Don Lam and Curated