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Drone strikes, missile attacks and economic sanctions — 8 opinions on the wild week in the Middle East

Media outlets and political figures weigh in on Trump’s foreign policy and what it means

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On Jan. 3, President Donald Trump ordered a drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Force. Iran launched a counterattack and Trump increased sanctions on Iran. Media outlets and political figures shared their opinions on the events that have taken place, and what it means for U.S. foreign policy moving forward.

The Washington Post published an op-ed stating the crisis with Iran is the greatest test of Trump’s presidency.

  • “As the nation begins a new year, the drums of war are beating more loudly than ever. Yet we too easily forget, with memories of past wars fading, how they begin. History makes clear that, too often, the cause is failed leadership — struggling to exercise good judgment, miscalculating what others will do, sending mixed messages to adversaries, ignoring intelligence and relying on the false belief that power alone is enough to quickly prevail in any war.” — Leon E. Panetta, former defense secretary and CIA director

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tx., tweeted his support for Trump’s decision making.

A USA Today op-ed said the Iran escalation has laid a foundation and established boundaries that could be the base for diplomatic negotiations in the future.

“Perhaps now the United States and Iran can begin diplomatic engagement over their outstanding differences. The White House has been calling for this from the beginning of the ‘maximum pressure’ campaign. And Iran now knows both the limits of the president’s strategic patience, as well as his willingness to limit the scope of a conflict that is in no country’s interest.
“This was a textbook case of diplomatic signaling and crisis resolution. The outcome: War averted.” — James S. Robbins, USA Today Opinion columnist

Speaker U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, D-Ca., released a statement on Twitter about Trump’s War Powers Act.

  • The statement condemns the way Trump ordered the drone strike: “The Trump Administration’s provocative, escalatory and disproportionate military engagement continues to put service members, diplomats and citizens of America and our allies in danger. This initiation of hostilities was taken without an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iran, without the consultation of the Congress and without the articulation of a clear and legitimate strategy to either the Congress or the public.”

An op-ed in The New York Times said the U.S. needs to take more responsibility for the diplomatic struggles with Iran.

  • “Is Iran a brutal, murderous, repressive regime that tramples the rights of women and minorities? No doubt. But so is Saudi Arabia, and we have managed to work with that regime. Iran is just as critical to the long-term stability of the region.” — Geraldine Brooks, former Wall Street Journal Middle East correspondent

Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., tweeted that Americans “do not want war with Iran.”

Dodge Billingsley said the U.S. may have set a new precedent in using drones to target high profile targets.

  • “The attack on Soleimani is exactly the type of strike drones were made for, a precision attack with limited risk of civilian casualties. What makes it unique is the rank and stature of the target. While the U.S. has targeted significant terrorists around the world, this is the first time such a high-ranking state actor has been the target.” — Dodge Billingsley, Deseret News contributor

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fl.,tweeted that the Iranian counterattack played a significant role in de-escalation.