On this weekend’s broadcast of “Fox News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace called the Trump administration killing Qasem Soleimani “a dramatic escalation,” in tensions with Iran.
Wallace said, “Does the decision to escalate dramatically and I think we would agree it was a dramatic escalation to take out Qasem Soleimani, does it make the U.S. more safe or less safe? And if Iran decides to keep its promise to retaliate dramatically, does the Trump administration have a strategy?”
Former Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Michael Anton pushed back, saying, “I don’t know that I would necessarily agree that this was a dramatic escalation. You could interpret it as a justified retaliation for all kinds of things that Iran has been doing without much of a response. The main point I would want to make here is the Iranian regime since 1979 has a history of getting very aggressive, getting used to not facing pushback, not getting retaliation. And when they finally do get pushed back, the next ten to back down and go into turtle mode for a little while, and that may yet happen again. We’ve seen that happen in the past. They haven’t faced much retaliation for, as you said, spending the enormous windfall they got out of the Iran deal all around the Middle East, creating proxies, creating little colonies, building out their empire, and they I think got overconfident. To some extent that overconfidence is exemplified by the fact that Soleimani went right into Iraq and the airport completely confident that he owns the place and that nothing would happen to him. So I think this stuns the regime and is as likely as not to move you make regime treat a little bit and lick its wounds and reassess.”
Wallace then asked, “President Trump very publicly and has reaffirmed that as recently as this fall with the situation in Syria, ran on getting the U.S. out of endless wars in the Middle East but as I discussed with Secretary Pompeo, this week alone he sent more than 4,000 u.s. troops into the region, so are we getting out, or are we getting deeper?”
Former Chief of Staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Josh Holmes said, “I don’t think that’s inconsistent at all. I think it is an overarching policy and Secretary Pompeo articulate and very clearly is to remove America from these endless wars and his conflicts in Syria, conflicts in Iraq, and beyond. but that also cannot override immediate security threats.”
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN