Following the death of Soleimani, it seems like nearly the entire DC / academia / journo natsec/forpol commentariat has penned variations on exactly the same essay: the President has acted hastily, has no plan, and isn’t capable of envisioning or handling what happens next. The template was established by Ben Rhodes on Twitter a few hours after an MQ-9 Reaper shot a Hellfire missile directly into his professional legacy, and it hasn’t varied much since.
Yet the more we learn — about the deliberations preceding the strike, about the chain of events leading to it, about the prior and subsequent moves by CENTCOM to harden the American position in the region — the more it seems that the President acted with deliberate aforethought, that he does in fact have a plan, and therefore likely is capable of envisioning and handling what happens next. That much is only fair, whether or not one agrees with the decision as such.
What nearly the entire DC / academia / journo natsec/forpol commentariat actually means by its critique, though, is that they weren’t included in any of this. Ben Rhodes took the time to rally them together, get their talking points aligned, illuminate a pathway to social and professional advancement: that’s their preferred template for Iran-related policymaking.
Donald Trump’s template for Iran-related policymaking is the smoking wreckage of a terror mastermind’s vehicle. The courtiers see it, and want to know what’s in it for them.
Americans see it, and they know.
Indeed they do.