[Ed. – But Trump didn’t share his plan with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, so it was still a bad idea.]
Whatever the mullahs are, they aren’t foolish. They pushed, and then they pushed some more, and then they pushed Washington and Trump too far — and their response demonstrates that they know it. The Tehran regime had no way to know what America might do in response to a serious counterassault, and so it didn’t make a serious effort.
As a high-ranking US official said to me this week, “the Iranians learned what Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio learned in 2016. Nobody out-escalates Donald Trump.”
It was — so far — a spectacularly effective effort to establish deterrence on Trump’s part. There are two ways this happened. One had to do with the elimination of the specific threat posed by Soleimani.
A senior diplomat told me intelligence reports suggested that Soleimani was the most radical of the Iranian leaders, the one who pushed the hardest for the most extreme actions.