Thursday, June 20, 2019


I'd just finished a post arguing that President Trump doesn't want to go to war (because war is hard) when this appeared, in response to today's drone shootdown:

But now...
President Donald Trump said Thursday that the Iranian shootdown of an American drone may have not have been intentional, but a "mistake" by someone "stupid."

... When asked early afternoon whether the U.S. would strike back during an Oval Office meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump said: "You'll soon find out."

But at the same time, he said, "I find it hard to believe it was intentional if you want to know the truth."

"It could have been somebody who was loose and stupid that did it," he said.

"I would imagine it was a general or somebody who made a mistake in shooting the drone down," Trump said. "Fortunately, that drone was unarmed. It was not -- there was no man in it, it was in international waters but we didn't have a man or woman in the drone, we had nobody in the drone. Would have made a big, big difference."
This must be incredibly frustrating for John Bolton and Mike Pompeo. If they're as bloodthirsty as they seem, they'll slip smoking-gun evidence of impeachable offenses to the Democrats just so they can get rid of Trump and have all the wars they want. (Mike Pence is an old-school Republican -- he wouldn't balk at an Iran war, a Venezuela war, or both.)

DougJ is right:

Trump has been toggling between old-fashioned neoconservative bloodthirstiness and the nouveau edition of paleoconservatism represented by Steve Bannon and, more recently, Tucker Carlson. (Carlson, according to the Daily Beast, has been advising Trump to avoid an Iran conflict.) Trump, alas, seems to have no idea that the two worldviews are in conflict -- he just hires advisers (and has telephone consultations with Fox pundits) who seem to be owning the libs, apparently not realizing that some of them are bloody-minded imperialists and others are white-nationalist isolationists. (Poli sci is also hard!)

Trump wants to act like a tough guy. He'd like some big military victories (but only if they're instant and easy) -- yet he'd also like to be able to say that he's smarter than the presidents who got us into our current and recent wars.

Reportedly, he believed that dumping the deal, tightening the screws, and raising the level of provocation would actually get Iran to back down, or so says a Wall Street Journal article titled "Trump Wanted a More Docile Iran but Got the Opposite." (Alternate title: "Trump Wanted Morale to Improve, but the Continued Beatings Surprisingly Led to the Opposite.")

Trump, and/or Trump's administration without his knowledge, will continue prodding and poking Iran. Iran will continue to be defiant -- and Trump will still want to be both a tough guy and a war avoider. If he doesn't go to war, he'll make some new enemies on the right. I really don't know how this will end.

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