Analysts: Iran Retaliation a ‘Win’ for Trump

Donald Trump
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Analysts are reluctantly concluding that Iran’s retaliation Tuesday night for the strike on General Qasem Soleimani, in which there were no U.S. casualties from over a dozen missiles, is a policy “win” for President Donald Trump.

Early reports of the missile strikes on bases in Iraq hosting U.S. troops — some repeating what was apparently Iranian propaganda about American casualties — suggested an imminent escalation. But as the hours passed, it appeared Iran was either too incompetent to score — four of the 15 missiles reportedly failed in flight — or that Iran missed on purpose. (The reasons for a civilian air crash near Tehran, possibly hit by Iranian fire, remained unclear.)

In the hours after the Iranian response, Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, tweeted that the regime had “concluded” its “proportionate” response to the Soleimani attack, and that it did “not seek escalation or war” going forward.

The conclusion seemed unavoidable: Trump had removed Soleimani — a major terrorist and the architect of Iranian regional military dominance — at no cost. Iran saved face but possibly without triggering a massive U.S. response.

Foreign policy analyst Ian Bremmer tweeted that it was “impossible” not to call the outcome a “win” for Trump:

Raf Sanchez, the Middle East correspondent for the UK Telegraph, arrived at a similar conclusion:

Journalist David Shuster reported that White House officials were telling the media that they saw a win, too:

Others were likewise “cautiously optimistic” that the retaliation had, in fact, created a diplomatic opening:

Ben Rhodes, a former national security aide to President Barack Obama, was frustrated with the emerging consensus:

CNN decided the credit belonged to Iran, though, calling the missile strikes a “smart diplomatic move.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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