Following the downing of a U.S. spy drone over the Strait of Hormuz Thursday, Trump promised a response against Iran. Friday morning, Trump said in an interview with NBC that he had canceled a retaliatory strike against the Islamic Republic that claimed responsibility for destroying the $180 million Navy asset.
Trump explained on Twitter that he didn’t like the strike. Trump said the response would have been “not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”
Trump said he had called off the strike after being advised by a general, likely General Kenneth McKenzie, the Director of Central Command who oversees operations in the Persian Gulf, that a missile strike would kill an estimated 150 Iranians.
Some Republicans, including conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, have said that Trump’s lack of military action appears weak. Shapiro tweeted Friday morning that disproportionate responses are key to a policy of deterrence.
In the view of these commentators, Trump is emboldening the Iranian regime to continue using force against US and allied nations.
Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Fox News Thursday that the US will ultimately be responsible for preventing Iranian development of nuclear weapons and restricting the nations ability to use its resources to sponsor terror.
“Norway and Japan never said a word about their ships being blown up by the Iranians,” Graham said. “This aversion to a conflict is going to lead to a major war.”
While some Republicans see Trump’s lack of response as a weakness, other’s see an opportunity to attack Trump for what many liberals believe is his biggest mistake, withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal organized by former president Barack Obama.
Former Vice President Joe Biden called the shooting down of the spycraft a “self-inflicted disaster.”
“By walking away from diplomacy, Trump has made a military conflict more likely,” Biden said. He added that “presidential leadership” and “strategic action” are the solutions to dealing with Iranian aggression in the Persian Gulf.
Left-leaning news sources have taken up Biden’s call, and numerous articles this morning claim the increased aggression from Iran is the result of crippling sanctions imposed against the Islamic Republic.
Trump canceled US involvement in the deal shortly after his election, calling it “horrible and one-sided.” The deal would have removed most sanctions from Iran, allowing the Islamic nation access to international banks and markets.
Fears among Trump’s advisors were that the deal Iran got would massively increase the ability of the nation to fund terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda, and Hamas.
Democrats today fear that ending the nuclear deal will embolden Iran to develop nuclear weapons, getting the nation a step closer to revolutionary leader and founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ruhollah Khomeini’s decades-old promise to make “the regime occupying Jerusalem vanish from the page of time.”