There has been much talk of an Iran War in recent weeks, but the likelihood of a war, whether intentional or accidental, is relatively small for the simple reason that the leaders of Iran and the U.S. don’t want one. President Donald Trump, who has been remarkably faithful to his campaign promises, to the chagrin of many, doesn’t want another Iraq-like war – with a quick victory followed by a long defeat. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, doesn’t want his revolution and country crushed by the massive military might of America.
This is not to say there aren’t powerful individuals in the Trump administration – such as National Security Advisor John Bolton and possibly Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – and regional allies – Israel, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) – who want a war to bring about regime change in Iran, and who are willing to stir the pot in an attempt to make it happen.
Trump’s personal preference for Iran may also be regime change, with a negotiated neutering of the Islamic Republic his next best outcome. But he probably would settle for long-term containment of Iran through his “maximum pressure” campaign, accepting that the Iranian regime would likely be able to sustain itself though skirting sanctions.
Iran has made huge geopolitical gains in the Middle East since the U.S. inadvertently pushed Shiite-majority Iraq into the Iranian sphere of influence…