The CIA specialist on Iran may be half right. Trump probably has flummoxed the Iranian leadership. Totally is too strong a word. But I think that the fact that they allowed General Suleimani to be so physically vulnerable to assassination suggests they didn’t think Trump would take this step.
“Trump actually has a very strong hand vis-à-vis the clerical regime,” said Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former C.I.A. specialist on Iran at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, an organization that has rallied opposition to Iran’s government. “Whether he chooses to play it, I don’t know. He’s not a strategist. But his tactical game hasn’t been bad. The hit on Suleimani was genius — totally flummoxed his opponent.” fromThe Washington Post
This premise would have been based on their belief that Trump was a rational actor. Iranian leaders should have read “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” and consulted with their own top psychiatrists, but if they haven’t before they should be doing this prior to taking further action.
What Trump did was totally predictable not just by the numerous mental health professionals who diagnosed Trump; but by thinking people who have become conversant in their understanding of psychopathology vis a vie Trump’s behavior. From those non-MH professionals who talked about it early on like George Conway, Lawrence O’Donnell, Joe and Mika, and Rick Wilson to, in the past months, almost everyone on MSNBC (finally it has dawned on Rachel Maddow) it is a matter of general agreement that Trump acts on impulses driven by a psychiatric disorder.
If what Trump did does turn out to be “genius” in that it stops Iran from pushing the second stone down the mountain thus starting an unstoppable avalanche ending in a war that ignites the Middle East it will accidental genius. Not the genius of a strategic mastermind, but the genius of fate.
The only geniuses around Trump might be those who have figured out that they have to play the hand they were dealt: a mentally unstable president who projects his madness by making statements as he did twice about destroying cultural sites while his own Secretary of State denied he has any intention of committing this war crime.
The only way an all-out war can be avoided seems to be to convince the Iranian leadership that Trump is crazy enough to escalate up to and possibly including using nuclear weapons.
I can see Trump meeting with his generals asking for a monetary cost analysis (not in human lives but a dollar-cost) of a major attack using conventional weapons versus using nuclear weapons.
In 2015, the United States had an estimated 7,300 nuclear weapons, with the average annual per-unit cost is about $1.8 million to maintain them. Trump could very well think that with 7,300 nukes he might as well get the war over quickly and possibly with less actual cost.
Donald Trump asked a foreign policy expert advising him why the U.S. can’t use nuclear weapons, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said on the air Wednesday, citing an unnamed source who claimed he had spoken with the GOP presidential nominee.
“Several months ago, a foreign policy expert on the international level went to advise Donald Trump. And three times [Trump] asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times he asked at one point if we had them why can’t we use them,” Scarborough said on his “Morning Joe” program.
Scarborough made the Trump comments 52 seconds into an interview with former Director of Central Intelligence and ex-National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden.
CNBC reached out to the Trump campaign via email and was awaiting a response and obviously never received one.
Does anybody doubt that if a reporter asked Trump whether he’d consider using nuclear weapons against Iran his answer would be along the lines of “nothing is off the table?”
The Iranians aren’t going to consult with me. If they did this is what I’d suggest. I would tell them that doing nothing would be their best alternative even though their population is clamoring for revenge. President Hassan Rouhani would show great wisdom if he took the high road and said that President Trump has proven that he is unfit to be a world leader and that he had nothing but sympathy for the people of the United States. He should not escalate in any dramatic way. Rather he should continue business as usual when it came to fighting against the United States. He should in no way give Trump a victory by justifying his unlawful assassination.