Escalation, yes. A country with its back against the wall from the US imposed sanctions, could do a lot worse than shooting down a drone whose position in flight may or may not have been in Iranian airspace. And Trump could easily have retaliated with a strike against their military installations but did not.
Surely the hawks in his inner circle, Pompeo and Bolton, would very much have liked that choice. But the president, looking ahead to his political survival, made the decision that best suited his agenda: winning his reelection.
Trump weighed the pros and cons. An attack on Iranian installations, even if no lives were lost, an unlikely event, would have led to another Iranian response, and a chain reaction easily set in motion.
Does Trump want a protracted war on his hands as he tries to rally support for his reelection?
Additionally, on June 18-19 when the G-20 meeting takes place in Osaka, Japan, all eyes will be on Trump and Xi Jinping regarding a possible resolution to the ongoing trade war between the two countries.
A war in the background likely weakens Trump’s position, so he chose to be sensible and hold his hand.
Apparently cyber attacks were ordered and further economic sanctions imposed as a result of the drone attack, but no lives will be lost.
Iran has been funding terrorist actions in the region and that has been going on for years. Empowering the people who are targeted by those actions will be the best way to counter them.
And so, too, inside Iran itself, for eventually it will be up to Iranians to confront their leaders and demand a regime change.
Current events show us that this is possible and likely more fundamental in its effects than the intervention of a foreign power in a nation’s affairs.
Today, in Turkey, the city of Istanbul got a new mayor who is a member of the opposition to Erdogan’s ruling party and was bitterly resisted by him. It is a great moment for Turkish democracy.
Last weekend, the people of Hong Kong came out in great numbers to oppose a rule that would have allowed the extradition of a resident of the city to the mainland. The rule was clearly a move to undermine Hong Kong’s democratic institutions. And the people responded with an enormous display of courage. What an inspiration for the rest of China and for the world.