Trump's last-minute pullback on Iran strikes may have made crisis more perilous

Ereli broke that down into five pieces: Trump spoke loudly but carried no stick; he hasn’t built an international alliance to support a face-off with Iran; the absence of key permanent figures at the Pentagon and the National Security Council “severely limits” the ability of the government to “weigh options, plan for contingencies and execute effectively”; his domestic political calculations may play too big a role in his decision making; and the zig-zagging of his policy emboldens Iran while leaving allies uncertain.

“Trump is causing long-term damage to the credibility of America’s commitment to its allies and regional security in this strategically vital part of the world,” he said.

But the most stinging rebukes didn’t come from former Obama officials or the field of Democratic presidential hopefuls who hope to oust Trump from office.

“Trump has given the impression he lost his nerve, when he should’ve responded swiftly but measuredly already a couple weeks ago,” said Michael Makovsky, president of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America who was a senior aide to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in President George W. Bush’s administration.