“We are concerned about the instincts of President Trump to force a major confrontation as he leaves office that might tie Biden’s hands,” said one official. “But while we have no confidence in the current American president not to act rashly, we do have some confidence that the political unpopularity of any move along with the deep concerns I am sure the military leadership expressed will make it difficult [to act].”


The second fear is that the Saudis and Israel see the departure of Trump as a ticking clock that they need to beat.

“I’m afraid the Saudis or Israelis might see a sympathetic ear leaving the White House and a hostile one arriving and think that perhaps this will make a confrontation inevitable,” said a second NATO official. “Both countries are run by immature leaders who have been screaming about the need for war with Iran for so long it’s possible they really believe that a Biden administration will be followed by an Iranian nuclear attack.”