The Jury Talks Back

1/10/2020

Credibility Matters, Including in Foreign Policy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 9:03 am

Let’s review.

1. Donald Trump recently said:

The language used was “any U.S. person or target.” Shortly thereafter, Iran hit two U.S. bases with missiles. Presumably those were targets. Trump did nothing in response, despite having promised to do so.

Personally, I’m glad Trump did not respond as he threatened.

But I’m not glad he made a threat that turned out to have no credibility.

2. Mike Pompeo has been going around telling everyone that Iran was threatening an “imminent” attack. Yesterday we learned what he meant by that:

The definition of “imminent” is “ready to take place” or “happening soon.” It is a word that implies a time element. But Pompeo admits he doesn’t know the time element, even as he asserts that the time element was soon.

Personally, I think the killing of Soleimani was probably legal. I doubt it had to be “imminent” as long as there was a valid pre-emptive rationale — especially given that we had a right to be in Iraq (whether you agree with our mission or not, we had a right to be there), and Soleimani had planned and carried out attacks against us there before.

But I’m not glad that Pompeo is making claims about “imminence” that he reveals in the next breath he can’t back up.

Look: the idea that the Trump administration lacks credibility is hardly a new concept. Everyone knows it. But the fact that it doesn’t surprise you that they have no credibility doesn’t mean that it doesn’t matter that they have no credibility.

And no matter what you think of the attack on Soleimani, the way the administration has handled the explanations shows that they had no coherent strategy and that their attitude is that you had better not debate what Trump does or else. I’ll leave you with Mike Lee channeling my response to that:

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