In a scathing column from the editors of the Wall Street Journal, Donald Trump received a dressing down for his aborted attack on Iran with the piece saying the Middle Eastern country “called his bluff” and he will come to regret it.
The editors took Trump to task for not only ordering an attack and changing his mind at the last minute — but for also for his attempt to lay the blame on the Pentagon.
“It’s important to understand how extraordinary this is. The Commander in Chief ordered ships and planes into battle but recalled them because he hadn’t asked in advance what the damage and casualties might be? While the planes were in the air, he asked, oh, by the way? This is hard to take at face value,” they wrote.
“More likely, he changed his mind because he had second thoughts about the military and political consequences of engaging in a conflict he promised as a candidate to avoid,” the editors insisted. “Mr. Trump may have saved Iranian lives now, but his indecision and professed fear of casualties may be risking more American lives later.”
In an indictment sure to rankle the president, the Journal compared Trump’s decision to former President Barack Obama.
“After Barack Obama failed to enforce his ‘red line’ in Syria in 2013, adversaries soon took advantage. Vladimir Putin snatched Crimea from Ukraine and moved into Syria, China pushed further into the South China Sea, and Iran expanded its proxy wars in the Middle East. Will they draw similar license now from Mr. Trump’s stand-down?” the piece asked before taking a larger shot at the president.
“The great weakness of Donald Trump’s foreign policy is its volatility. He is unpredictable to a fault. He has doubted his own Venezuela policy from the first week he signed off on it. He called Kim Jong Un crazy but now says he’s a swell guy. He signed a trade deal with Mexico then threatened it with new tariffs,” they accused. “On Iran he has adopted a policy goal favored by hawkish Sen. Lindsey Graham but wants to use only the means of isolationist Sen. Rand Paul to achieve it. He warned that ‘if Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran,’ but he lets Iran shoot down a drone and interfere with international shipping.”
“If Mr. Trump’s real policy is Mr. Paul’s, then he should be honest with Americans and return to the Obama nuclear deal. In the meantime, Iran appears to be calling Mr. Trump’s bluff,” the editorial concluded.
You can read the whole thing here (subscription required).