The planes were in the air. The ships were in position. Their targets were selected in Iran. President Donald Trump had authorized military strikes against Iran yesterday, finally conceding to some of his more hard-lined advisers. Then, at the last second, President Trump called off the strikes.
The strikes were authorized after Iran shot down a U.S. military drone in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran claims that the drone had entered its airspace. The United States claims that the drone was in international waters. President Trump believes that the strikes may have been a mistake, hence why he called off the strikes.
Some might question Trump’s resolve or his tendency to flip-flop. However, Trump swept into office promising to disentangle the United States from global conflicts. Many of Trump’s supporters are likely relieved that the U.S. avoided perhaps another conflict, for now.
Still, tensions remain high and the near strikes demonstrate just how close the two nations are to exchanging blows. Whether or not a full-scale war is on the horizon remains to be seen. However, the extent to which tensions escalated last night suggests that military strikes may indeed be carried out in the future.
Insider reports suggest that National Security Adviser John Bolton is pushing for a confrontation with Iran, while President Trump is looking to avoid one. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is mediating between the two, but seems to mostly be siding with the president.
U.S. officials have confirmed that the drone was shot down. The Federal Aviation Authority has now announced that U.S. flights over the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman are prohibited.