The escalating crisis with Iran is Trump’s self-inflicted woundhttps://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/the-escalating-crisis-with-iran-is-trumps-self-inflicted-wound/2019/09/19/b7edb4c8-db16-11e9-a688-303693fb4b0b_story.html
It’s a good rule never to start a fight you’re not eager to finish. But the Trump administration and its Arab allies now seem caught in a version of that dilemma with Iran, which is proving to be a tougher adversary than Washington expected.
Iran’s alleged attack last Saturday on Saudi oil facilities caught U.S. analysts by surprise. It was a major strike, using a combined force of 25 Iranian ballistic missiles and drones, according to Saudi officials, against assets that were supposedly protected by U.S. and Saudi defensive weapons.
For U.S. officials, one message is that the Iranians are much more militant and risk-tolerant than American analysts had believed. Another is that the Iranians have correctly assessed that President Trump doesn’t want war and are taking advantage of that perceived weakness. The more Trump talks about his desire for a diplomatic solution, the more Iran seems ready to attack. That’s a dangerous dynamic.