Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave new insight on Tuesday morning on what’s been sorely missing in the US-Iran confrontation: the US strategy.
“We put Iran in a place it’s never been before,” Pompeo said.
The Obama administration chose to underwrite and appease. “We chose to confront and contain,” Pompeo said. What a contrast.
Confront and contain. Seen in this light, the strike on Soleimani marks a new tactical step. Both the strike and the recent military deployments fit a much bigger, active U.S. strategy. That strategy is now using military forces to put the lid on Iran’s terror “Axis of Resistance” across the Middle East and to counter Iran’s escalations.
The goal is to box in Iran. Striking Soleimani was a huge part of this move. Iran had trained between 75,000 and 145,000 Iraqi paramilitary forces for Soleimani to use at will. Removing Soleimani’s leadership sets back those plans.
Pompeo’s remarks Tuesday further indicated the U.S. is willing to constrain Iran in other ways.
“Iran will not get a nuclear weapon,” Pompeo pledged. …
Pompeo also revealed that economic pressure is working. Iran has a bad budget shortfall and is struggling to figure out how to make it through 2020, according to Pompeo.
Iran does not want war with the United States. And Trump wants no war with Iran.
But Iran made a mistake in its extrapolation from that truth.
Assuming that because Trump did not want war, he would recoil from a fight, Soleimani believed he could kill Americans with impunity, as long as his fingerprints were not on the murder weapon.
Killing Soleimani was just. But what is just is not always wise.
Yet, his killing restores Trump’s credibility as a Jacksonian who avoids wars but who, wounded, will stab the enemy who cut him.
Trump has a red line. It is not shooting at American drones but shooting at American soldiers, the drawing of American blood.
The message the rulers of Iran should have received?
If they retaliate for Soleimani by killing American soldiers, diplomats or civilians, using either Iranian troops or proxy militias, Trump will retaliate against Iran itself.
hat-tip Scott of the Pacific