Why Trump was right to not hit Iran

President Trump was right Thursday night in declining to strike Iranian assets: A military escalation serves Tehran’s interests, not America’s.

The long-term game is already in Washington’s favor, as sanctions have pushed Iran’s economy into a nosedive. And a strike like the one reportedly planned, targeting multiple Iranian missile batteries and radar, possibly killing an estimated 150 Iranians, would have been a wildly disproportionate response to the shooting down of a drone.

Far better to point to Iran’s actions as fresh reason for US allies to get behind Trump’s sanctions regime, rather than seeking to undermine it.

Note, too, that Tehran’s ultimate threat, to close the Strait of Hormuz, actually poses the biggest problem to China — which now gets the lion’s share of the oil that ships through the Gulf.

The president by all accounts spent much of Thursday deliberating, and consulting with congressional leaders of both parties before he made his final call against the strike.

The decision is being painted in some quarters as a sign of irresolution or lack of resolve, which is utterly ridiculous: Deciding not to overreact was simply rational — and is certainly no sign that Trump won’t hit back hard when it’s actually called for.

[Read More]