The Atlantic

The Iran Crisis Is Forcing Trump Into Uncomfortable Territory

The president is fighting two impulses: not backing down against an adversary, and his aversion to a new conflict.
Source: Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty

Americans know Donald Trump as a showman, business mogul, and politician. What they haven’t really seen is Trump in the role of commander in chief. That may be about to change.

A face-off with Iran led to a fateful choice Thursday night: hit back after weeks of escalating tensions between both countries that culminated in Iran shooting down an American drone, or back down.

At the last minute, Trump called off a retaliatory strike.

Trump explained his thinking in a series of tweets this morning. He said the United States was “cocked & loaded” and prepared to fire on “3 different sights” []. Told that 150 people would die in the attack, Trump said he stopped it because the death toll wasn’t “proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”

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