Killing Soleimani also highlights yet another Trump tendency — taking actions that are untethered from any broader strategic goal. One example is recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, with no apparent correlation to promoting serious negotiations or selling the administration’s own Middle East peace plan.
And this sort of haphazard approach driven by Trump’s moods, ego or domestic politics doubly pertains to the way his Iran policy has played out. His “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions against Iran has been effective in squeezing Iran’s economy. But it has never been clear what the goal is: To fracture the regime, weaken it and lay the basis for regime change? Or to pressure Iran into returning to the negotiating table to reach a new deal more favorable to Washington?
When you don’t know where you’re going, the old saw opines, then any road will get you there. And right now it looks as if the administration really has no idea where it’s going or what it wants to achieve with Iran.