President Donald Trump has authorized a new round of stricter, tougher sanctions against Iran Monday, specifically targeting the rogue nation’s Supreme Leader, along with a handful of other individuals within the regime.
This latest round of sanctions come amid new threats from within the Iranian military leadership to shoot down more U.S. drones, as they did just days ago over international waters in the Strait of Hormuz.
President Donald Trump’s last-minute decision to call off retaliatory strikes against Iran last week has drawn criticism from not only Democrats, but some congressional Republicans, and even those serving within his administration. That trifecta of opposition is rare, even for a President used to drawing the ire of political friends and foe alike.
On NBC’s “Meet The Press” Sunday, the President explained his rationale for calling off the strikes, citing the 150 possible Iranian civilian casualties estimated by U.S. top generals ahead of the attack. Trump called that number “disproportionate,” saying while the U.S. drone may have been expensive (upwards of $130-million), it was unmanned.
Whether the president’s reluctance to use military power is rooted in morality or practicality, his political opponents have accused Mr. Trump of being weak, and even flip-flopping. But a closer examination of the president’s views on the use of military force bears out a different conclusion. One with consistency.
Early in his tenure, the President ordered sixty Tomahawk missile strikes against specific military targets in Syria after Bashar al-Assad unleashed chemical weapons against his own people – crossing the “red line” drawn by Mr. Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.
That action, taken with the blessing of major allies and other actors in the region, was largely praised as a humanitarian effort – and history has shown Assad never tried it again. As far as other global hotspots, at every turn the Trump administration has seemingly gone out of its way to avoid escalating military tensions, to the point where the president himself appears to be dovish – even bucking the advice of his top advisors like National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
For example, while claiming China represents the greatest global threat to the United States, Trump has largely kept it within economic terms. His administration’s response to this “looming threat” backs up this assertion.
Tariffs have been the President’s weapon of choice when dealing with the U.S. trade imbalance with China; confronting their long-known practice of currency manipulation as well as getting the communist nation to reign in North Korea’s rogue leader, Kim Jung-Un.
Tariffs were again threatened when it came to Mexico’s reluctance to help the U.S. stem the tide of illegal crossings over the southern border – a threat which, at least for now, appears to have prompted the Mexican government to beef up security on their southern border.
Just this week, in response to sometimes-critic, sometimes-ally Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), who is advocating for military action of some kind, the commander in chief said he likes to respond economically which, in his opinion, leaves the door open for negotiating a better outcome.
That said, even the president admits Iran could still face military consequences if it continues on its present course. But for a leader many have called a bully, erratic, and reckless, Mr. Trump’s strategic use of the U.S.’s bolstered position as a global economic power shows a direction in leadership that tacks more toward that of another maverick Republican, Teddy Roosevelt. “Walk softly, and carry a big stick.”
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