‘Averse to Using Military Force,’ Trump Calls Off Military Strike, Cites Potential Casualties

June 21, 2019 by HJ Mai
U.S President Donald Trump, left, and John Bolton, right, the new national security adviser attend a briefing from Senior Military Leadership in the Cabinet Room of the White House on April 9, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

WASHINGTON – The escalation tensions between the United States and Iran nearly reached a tipping point Thursday after the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of Iran’s armed forces, confirmed that it shot down an unmanned U.S. Navy drone.

President Donald Trump revealed in a series of tweets on Friday morning that U.S. military forces were ready to strike targets in Iran. But the president explained that he called off the attacks as the potential for casualties would have constituted a disproportionate response.

“We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights [sic] when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone,” Trump said on Twitter.

Trump’s last-minute reversal was further proof of the president’s resistance to use military force, Garret Martin, professional lecturer at American University’s School of International Service, told The Well News.

“For all of the bluster, for all of the tough rhetoric that Trump has used as he took office two-and-a-half years ago, he’s been very reticent and reluctant to actually use military force. To my account, and I could be wrong, I believe he’s only really ordered two strikes against Syria, once in 2017 and once in 2018. It seems that he’s sort of averse to using military force,” he said. “And he did campaign or talked a lot about taking the U.S. out of foreign entanglements rather than starting new ones.”

Trump also tweeted that he is in “no hurry” to respond to Iran’s aggressions and that Washington’s crippling economic sanctions on Tehran are working. He further claimed that the U.S. added more sanctions against Iran, but the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which is responsible for economic and trade sanctions, has not yet confirmed any new actions.

While Trump and other U.S. administration officials have repeatedly stated that the U.S. is open to talks with Iran, the leaders of the Islamic republic have thus far rebuffed any attempt of dialogue. Whether calling off a military strike changes Tehran’s attitude remains to be seen.

“I don’t think either side wants war, but it’s like a train that gets set in motion. It’s hard to stop once the tension has escalated,” Martin said. “If there are further incidents, such as the ones we witnessed lately, you may [find yourself] in a position where Trump or the leaders in Iran might have no other option but to initiate low-scale hostilities.”

The U.S. foreign policy expert believes that should the relationship between both countries further deteriorate, it will still not end in a full-on war.

“I think it would be targeted strikes on the part of the U.S. against Iranian facilities. And on the Iranian case, if they did respond, I think it would be asymmetrical, a tool that they’ve used so far, either putting pressure on tankers in the Strait of Hormuz or using some of their proxies, whether Hezbollah or Houthis, to attack U.S. allies in the region.”

On Capitol Hill, the response to Iran’s attack ran the gamut. Several House Republicans, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., called for a measured response, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said it is “essential that we remain fully engaged with our allies” and do everything to “de-escalate” the situation.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham was more direct in his remarks when he said that Iran’s actions increased the potential for an armed conflict.

“They made a big mistake by shooting [down] our drone,” Graham said on Thursday. “If they are itching for a fight, they are going to get one. … Iran’s fate is in their hands, and it’s up to them to decide how this ends.”

Meanwhile, a Revolutionary Guard Corp commander said Friday that Iran refrained from blowing up an American P-9 plane with 35 people on board that was accompanying the unmanned drone, according to unconfirmed media reports.

U.S. Central Command declined to comment on the reports.

Foreign Affairs

Checking China’s Diplomatic Piracy in the South China Sea
Foreign Affairs
Checking China’s Diplomatic Piracy in the South China Sea
September 18, 2020
by Craig Singleton

China appears keen to bring piracy back as an instrument of foreign policy, but the days of eye patches and wooden legs are long gone. Instead, Beijing’s most effective raiding parties prefer business suits and briefcases, thus allowing them to ransack and plunder under the guise... Read More

US Will Fund Some WHO Programs Despite Trump’s Withdrawal
Health
US Will Fund Some WHO Programs Despite Trump’s Withdrawal

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has agreed to contribute $108 million to the World Health Organization to fight COVID-19, polio, flu and other diseases in vulnerable countries, even as the U.S. prepares to withdraw from the institution he blames for early missteps in the coronavirus pandemic.... Read More

Japan PM Shinzo Abe Says He's Resigning for Health Reasons
Foreign Affairs
Japan PM Shinzo Abe Says He's Resigning for Health Reasons

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's longest-serving prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said Friday he is stepping down because a chronic health problem has resurfaced. He told reporters that it was “gut wrenching” to leave many of his goals unfinished. Abe has had ulcerative colitis since he was a... Read More

‘America First’ vs. America in the World. On Most Foreign Policy Issues, Trump and Biden Vary Widely
Foreign Affairs
‘America First’ vs. America in the World. On Most Foreign Policy Issues, Trump and Biden Vary Widely

WASHINGTON — An arms-extortion scandal with Ukraine; a crash-and-burn peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians; insults to allies while cozying up to adversaries — the foreign policy agenda of President Donald Trump has been, pretty literally, all over the map. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden... Read More

Russia's Navalny in Coma in ICU After Alleged Poisoning
Foreign Affairs
Russia's Navalny in Coma in ICU After Alleged Poisoning

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny is in a coma and on a ventilator in a hospital intensive care unit after falling ill from suspected poisoning that his allies believe is linked to his political activity. The 44-year-old foe of Russia's President Vladimir Putin... Read More

Russia’s New Sputnik Launch Raises Risks in Dash for COVID-19 Shots
Health
Russia’s New Sputnik Launch Raises Risks in Dash for COVID-19 Shots

Russia’s decision to approve a coronavirus shot before crucial tests have shown it’s safe and effective raises worries that politics will trump public health in the quest for a vaccine. The country’s plan to start mass inoculations as soon as October could put pressure on other... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top