No administration should tell the people’s representatives to refrain from questioning or criticizing a decision because it might signal dissension in the American ranks. It is true the world is always watching. It’s also true they expect the Americans to disagree among themselves. It’s part of our fabulousness. Our friends in the world become anxious only when the disagreement doesn’t fully occur, or is repressed, as in the run-up to the Iraq war.

We all know that top positions in the government are still not fully staffed, and some key positions are staffed by those without deep experience. The past week would have gone better if the administration were sufficiently alarmed by and attentive to its personnel problems. Lines of communication would have been clearer and the sense of alarm lessened by more reliable information. It is fair to say they made a good decision to take out Soleimani, and fair to say that for much beyond that they were lucky duckies.

Administrations that get lucky in one drama tend to get cocky and begin new dramas. How would this administration look if it were feeling cocky? The way it looks every day. What would be good to see now is modesty—the modesty of serious people who know they got lucky.