From the New York Times: Trump Backs Away from Further Military Conflict With Iran


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47 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    Check out that headline. I seriously considered finding a picture of a chicken.Report

  2. Saul Degraw says:

    This is good (if true). Sometimes cooler heads prevail and hopefully the military learned not to present Trump with batshit ideas.Report

    • Ozzzy! in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Cmon Saul, are you really jumping to Iran’s leadership has a better, more thoughtful, kinder, and/or deeper understanding than the US? I’d like you to talk through that for me if so.Report

  3. Marchmaine says:

    If this is more or less the extent of Iran’s retaliation/capabilities… then a skilled Diplomatic Team would be able to exploit their position by offering negotiations to gain things beneficial to us.

    As long as we move off the old Regime-Change wagon… there’s real opportunity to pivot from strength here.

    I’ve seen the tiniest spark of some recognition of this in some public utterances, but I’m not optimistic that Trump or his team are fully capable to take advantage of it, though.

    [Bracketing, of course, that this is just a tiny operation to forestall/distract us while the “real” plan unfolds]Report

    • greginak in reply to Marchmaine says:

      I very much doubt this is the extent of their retaliation. Skilled diplomatic team…..sigh…..yeah that would be great. I remember what those were.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to greginak says:

        Do you? I don’t.

        Regarding the ongoing asymmetrical hazing, I’ve no doubt that will continue… and each operational win might be cataloged as “retaliation” ex post facto. But I’m not particularly concerned about Iranian branding of existing Iranian policy goals… I’m concerned about a drastic change in Iranian policy that might lead to one, the other, or both sides miscalculating.Report

        • greginak in reply to Marchmaine says:

          My guess is their retaliation will not look just like their regular goals some of which we have been fine with like fighting ISIS. They arent’ going to support their proxies to get at us. It will be something clearly different. Yeah that could lead to a miscalculation and we have the diplomatic keystone cops are on side.Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to greginak says:

        Hasn’t been long since Iran was credited with the cruise missile strikes in Saudi Arabia that appeared to be accurate enough that they could have picked which barracks/hangers/fuel dumps they wanted to hit.

        Next questions… Will the militias who were threatening attacks in response to their people who were killed with Soleimani also stand down? And will the Iraqis force the issue of US troops leaving?Report

        • Dark Matter in reply to Michael Cain says:

          Next questions… Will the militias who were threatening attacks in response to their people who were killed with Soleimani also stand down?

          Yep, that. Iran could easily find out that deliberately not having a monopoly on the use of violence doesn’t lead to good things.

          And will the Iraqis force the issue of US troops leaving?

          That would be interesting.

          Also interesting is that the Iranians apparently shot down one of their own civilian aircraft.Report

          • That would be interesting.

            It will. The (acting) Iraqi PM seems to be playing this with “We have a signed letter saying you’ll be leaving, and we don’t do diplomacy by press conference or tweet.” The unsaid part that goes with that is pretty obviously, “If the letter is wrong and you’re not leaving, put it in writing.” That’s got to be driving the Joint Chiefs crazy. What do they do when they get orders to ignore the Iraqi government (for whatever reason, I can think of a variety of semi-plausible ones) and take full control of the bases?Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

      I find myself hoping that it results in us pulling out of Iraq.

      A childish hope, perhaps, but it does seem to be a possibility.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

        Yeah, but if that were part of a coherent plan, now would be a pretty good time to execute that.

        We could extract our own face-saving concessions to cover the exit and potentially even negotiate the inevitable Shia/Sunni crack-up in such a way that its ideally a) peaceable, or b) telegraphed, or c) not our f’in’ fault… win/win/win.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

        I find myself hoping it results in the American people wanting us to pull out of Iraq.

        Like, you, it seems possible, but right now the talking head “experts” on my tee vee seem to be favor of anything else.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          The “establishment” (scare-quotes) is exceedingly reluctant to “lose Iraq” (real quotes). What it means to “lose Iraq” is never clearly defined. On one end it seems to be having our military presence scaled back (because the Iraqi military isn’t capable of fighting ISIS) and on the other it means Iraq going full Iranian.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

            Which is why I locate the source of the trouble not with the politicians but the people.

            The people have so consistently punished anyone who is accused of losing a war or territory that the default for any American President is always war, more war, endless war.

            Until we citizens reward a candidate who ends the war and punish one who doesn’t, this will continueReport

            • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              What if we decided that we were sick of pointless wars and decided to vote for a candidate who hated the Iraq War, hated the War in Afghanistan, decried the disastrous regime change in Libya, and vowed to bring the “multi-generational conflict” in Syria to a positive conclusion and get us out? What if his opponent’s charity seemed to rake in massive donations from Gulf States each time she kicked off another US intervention in the region?Report

    • Slade the Leveller in reply to Marchmaine says:

      We all knew the further diplomacy thing was out the window as soon as Trump slipped his numbskull digs in at the now repudiated by both sides Iran nuclear deal.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Slade the Leveller says:

        Eh, I take your point that Trump is not leading some sort of foreign policy revival, but is purely an opportunist. If you extend my initial critique of Trump on the Front Side, it was that he wouldn’t know how to handle the result, good, bad or ugly, on the Back Side. That’s what I’m trying to get at here… events A and B having happened, the unexpected Oppty for Y is now open. The time for Y will probably pass.

        Where I perhaps differ is that in matters of Diplomacy/Foreign Affairs dogs return to their vomit. all. the. time. The trick is parsley.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

      If this is more or less the extent of Iran’s retaliation/capabilities… then [options] ….

      Another *if* needs to be considered, of course: IF this is the extent of Trump’s aggression towards Iran… then [options].

      Personally, I think Iran is playing a long game here, so the retaliatory strike won’t close this chapter. I also think it’s reasonably likely that Trump engages in another unprovoked hostile act. The long game favors Iran right now, and “losing Iraq” (a phrase I’ve heard a lot the last couple days) is a long term inevitability, hastened, it seems to me, by Trump’s rash act re: Suleimani.Report

  4. Jaybird says:

    Trump mentioned additional sanctions and Ilhan Omar has a response:


    • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

      She has a point. They haven’t worked to date, so why should we expect them to work going forward? It certainly won’t lead to regime change . . . . .Report

      • greginak in reply to Philip H says:

        It’s certainly not deescalation.Report

      • George Turner in reply to Philip H says:

        Sanctions have been working tremendously. After the JCPOA was signed Iran had a year of 12% economic growth. They were exporting 3.7 million barrels a day, and their government gets about 80% of its revenues from oil. Now they’re exporting 250,000 barrels a day, and they’ve been having mass protests that they could only quell by having Suleimani kills hundreds of Iranians in the streets.

        That massive decline in revenue means less money for terrorists throughout the region, less money for missile production, and less money for nuclear weapon programs.Report

  5. CJColucci says:

    Where is George Aiken when we need him?Report

  6. George Turner says:

    We perhaps need a post on the Ukrainian airliner shot down over Iran. Iran blamed mechanical problems, but everybody in aviation found it incredibly unlikely that on the first ever 737’s to suffer a catastrophic engine failure (to the extent that communications were instantly lost) occurred right when Tehran might be trying to actively defend against an inbound air attack.

    Sure enough, early crash scene photos showed extensive shrapnel damage. Mechanical problems and shrapnel seemed wildly improbable, requiring something as falling out of the sky and impacting onto a piece of unexploded ordnance left over from the Iran/Iraq War. Despite that, for the first day some Western intelligence agencies were still willing to attribute it to “mechanical trouble.” Iran, meanwhile, said they wouldn’t release the plane’s black box, which struck almost everyone as highly suspicious.

    Then we announced that satellite thermal evidence showed Iran launched a pair of SAMs, followed by an explosion, and that we picked up their missile guidance radars during the shoot down. An Iranian posted a picture of an SA-15 nose/guidance section (which also holds a proximity fuse) that was found next to the crash site. It showed blast damage from it’s bottom end, where the missile’s warhead is located. This is apparently a pretty common piece of SAM debris. The missile is the same type used by the Iranians to defend Tehran. And then another Iranian posted pictures of a missile strike the plane and blowing up.

    Now Iran is reportedly bulldozing the entire crash site to bury the evidence, and I doubt even anyone in Iran believe’s Iran’s story about mechanical trouble. It’s going to be hard for them to claim victim status when the whole world is certain they blew an airliner full of Canadians out of the sky because they’re paranoid and incompetent, not the kind of people who should be allowed within a hundred miles of a nuclear missile.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

      New rule:
      Any nation that is so paranoid and incompetent so as to shoot an airliner out of the sky by mistake, should not be allowed to possess nuclear weapons.

    • Jaybird in reply to George Turner says:

      From what I understand, if the plane was shot down, it is directly Trump’s fault for putting the plane in the crossfire.

      If the plane, instead, had a mechanical failure, it’s just something that happens sometimes.

      Here’s an article about employees complaining about the 737. (And it’s from the BBC, so you know it’s unbiased.)


      • George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

        What’s happened to Boeing is a tragedy. They become dominant because their civilian aviation arm focused on engineering instead of business, building really good airliners that essentially sold themselves as being the safest and most efficient on the market.

        Then McDonald Douglas’s bean counters bought Boeing with Boeing’s own money, and the bean counters took over and over time radically changed Boeing’s culture. Some of the detractors say Boeing now values multiculturalism and diversity over safety, while others says Boeing valued profit over safety and reputation. Both charges have a lot of truth to them, and the result so far is two crashes due to absolute incompetence, greed, corruption, moral rot, and firing scads of good engineers, perhaps because they were too old school, since doing things right is often more expensive than taking short cuts.

        But that has nothing to do with Iran shooting down an airliner. With another flip of the coin the plane they shot down would’ve been an Airbus, and then what would Trump detractors be saying?

        Democratic candidates of course rushed to blame Trump anyway they could, since their instinctive reflex is to blame America for anything our enemies do. That’s not going to win them many votes in the vast swaths of the public that aren’t eaten up with white guilt and Trump hatred. Basically, it just plays well with the fringe and the anti-Trump elites. Indeed, the world has rarely seen such “patriotism” since the Duke of WIndsor was plotting with Hitler to get himself back on the English throne, encouraging him to keep up the bombing of London to force the British to sue for peace. You can guess how the British public regards the duke these days.

        Buttigieg took a lot of heat for trying to blame Trump for for the airliner, and other candidates attributed it to “the crossfire”. They’re taking heat too, because there was no crossfire. We killed a terrorist who had been attacking our embassy (anybody remember the Iran hostage crisis, the attacks on our African embassies, or Benghazi?). And that was it. Since then, the only folks firing big missiles at airbases and embassies, trampling people to death, and shooting down airliners full of Canadians have been Iranian.

        Trump was so careful with his one missile strike that he didn’t even injure a single innocent bystander. Iran, so far, has managed to kill over 200 innocent bystanders, and not a single American among them. The plane they hit wasn’t even flying into Iran on some course a US bomber might be using, it was taking off from the Ayatollah Khomenei International Airport on a scheduled flight. The US had even stopped all US carriers from flying near Iran hours earlier, on the off chance they’d do something this stupid, or intentionally down a Western airliner because killing innocent people is the kind of thing they do.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

        You base your “understanding” on what exactly?Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

          Elected officials and wannabe elected officials:

          The former:

          Former candidates for congressional districts:

          Journalists, of course, do not explicitly blame Trump for shooting the plane down. They do, however, blame “the crossfire”.


          Why do you ask?Report

  7. George Turner says:

    British Ambassador arrested in Iran, accused of inciting protests.

    It seems they still have no idea what “diplomatic immunity” means. The Iranian protesters, as it happens, are shouting “Death to liars!” and demanding regime change.Report