‘Averse to Using Military Force,’ Trump Calls Off Military Strike, Cites Potential Casualties
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.
In The News
WASHINGTON — According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, at the end of 2020 the most people on... Read More
WASHINGTON — According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, at the end of 2020 the most people on record — about 82.4 million people — were displaced around the world and 243.8 million people required humanitarian assistance. That is one in 33 people worldwide... Read More
WASHINGTON — A top State Department official continued the Biden administration’s theme of “We’re back” during a congressional hearing Thursday... Read More
WASHINGTON — A top State Department official continued the Biden administration’s theme of “We’re back” during a congressional hearing Thursday on the United States’ role in the United Nations. The State Department is trying to regain leadership positions that suffered setbacks during the go-it-alone international policies... Read More
WASHINGTON (AP) — North America's leaders are reviving three-way summitry after a Trump-era break. As President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime... Read More
WASHINGTON (AP) — North America's leaders are reviving three-way summitry after a Trump-era break. As President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador resume the tradition of the North America Leaders' Summit on Thursday, the three allies face deep... Read More
WASHINGTON — Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., announced the introduction of legislation to the Senate on Tuesday... Read More
WASHINGTON — Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., announced the introduction of legislation to the Senate on Tuesday that would criminalize bribery demands by foreign officials. Although bribery is considered criminal activity under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, current law only punishes... Read More
ROME (AP) — Working to patch things up with an old ally, President Joe Biden told French President Emmanuel Macron... Read More
ROME (AP) — Working to patch things up with an old ally, President Joe Biden told French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday that the U.S. had been "clumsy" in its handling of a secret U.S.-British submarine deal with Australia, an arrangement that left France in the... Read More
WASHINGTON - Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron in November in the administration’s latest attempt... Read More
WASHINGTON - Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron in November in the administration’s latest attempt to repair the diplomatic damage caused by a botched submarine agreement. The White House announced Friday that Harris and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff will be in... Read More