NYT: 'Trump Tells Pentagon Chief He Does Not Want War With Iran'

Chris Menahan
May. 16, 2019

President Trump probably does not want a war with Iran -- but do his wants have any influence over policy at this point?

From New York Times, "Trump Tells Pentagon Chief He Does Not Want War With Iran":
President Trump has told his acting defense secretary, Patrick Shanahan, that he does not want to go to war with Iran, according to several administration officials, in a message to his hawkish aides that an intensifying American pressure campaign against the clerical-led government in Tehran must not escalate into open conflict.

Mr. Trump's statement, during a Wednesday morning meeting in the Situation Room, came during a briefing on the rising tensions with Iran. American intelligence has indicated that Iran has placed missiles on small boats in the Persian Gulf, prompting fears that Tehran may strike at United States troops and assets or those of its allies.
How dare Persians arm boats off their own coast in the Persian Gulf!

Iran putting boats in the Persian Gulf is an act of aggression -- the US sending aircraft carriers across the Atlantic is an act of self-defense!
No new information was presented to the president at the meeting that argued for further engagement with Iran, according to a person in the room. But Mr. Trump was firm in saying he did not want a military clash with the Iranians, several officials said.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump was asked during a visit by the Swiss president, Ueli Maurer, whether the United States was going to war with Iran.

"I hope not," he replied.

[...] The Pentagon last week presented Mr. Trump with options to send up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East, if Iran attacked American forces or accelerated its work on nuclear weapons. The options were ordered by Mr. Bolton, who has kept an unusually tight grip on the policymaking process for a national security adviser.

Mr. Bolton, officials said, has quietly voiced frustration with the president, viewing him as unwilling to push for changes in a region that he has long seen as a quagmire. That, in turn, has led people in the White House to view Mr. Bolton with deepening skepticism, with some questioning whether his job is in trouble.

Mr. Trump also is impatient with another of Mr. Bolton's major campaigns: the effort to oust President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela. After the opposition's failed attempt to peel away key Maduro allies and turn the Venezuelan military against him, Mr. Maduro appears harder to dislodge than ever.
Great job, Johnny boy!

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