Contrary to some reports last week, President Trump did not “cave” to Iran.
Far from it.
No, he handled the situation about as perfectly as we could hope for in a president.
First of all, he exercised incredible restraint in not firing a missle strike his generals recommended. He’s scoring points from even his fiercest critics over that one.
And now comes news that he didn’t completely back down.
No, not at all.
In fact, he hit back in two big ways.
First came news that he had launched a cyber attack (no loss of life) that has already been “devestating” to Iran.
Most people know nothing about it because the news has barely covered it.
Take a look:
More on that, from Forbes:
The decision by U.S. President Trump to pull back from a retaliatory strike against Iran for the downing of a surveillance drone because there would be "too many deaths for a proportionate response" has been painted as a backtrack. Instead, "President Trump approved an offensive cyber strike that disabled computer systems used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to control rocket and missile launches."
"Though crippling to Iran’s military command and control systems," reported the Washington Post, "the operation did not involve a loss of life or civilian casualties—a contrast to conventional strikes, which the president said he called back Thursday because they would not be 'proportionate.'"
That is not a backtrack, it's a game changer.
A physical missile strike against military targets in Iran would generate headlines and newsworthy images. It would kill scores of people. But in the end, it would make little difference to the standoff between Washington and Teheran. If, however, the reports are true and the U.S. has compromised Iran's networks to the extent that Teheran's core command and control systems are now vulnerable, that changes the dynamics completely.
Offensive cyber capabilities have long been the most sensitive and nationalistic of government activities. Despite all the media speculation, most government cyber spend remains focused on the defense of data and networks. And where offensive cyber attacks have taken place, they are not disclosed let alone publicized. For that reason, the reports on June 21 and 22 on the U.S. cyber attack are significant and not by accident.
The physical and digital are entwined. This decision by the U.S. to treat the disclosure of a cyber attack as it might a physical attack when in truth there is no footage and so no need, clearly shows this to be the case. The mix of physical and cyber, retaliating in one dimension for an attack in the other does the same.
Now today comes news of crippling new sanctions on Iran, and don't forget there are many already existing.
Iran's economy will be non-existant soon if they don't wise up:
More on that, from Fox News:
President Trump struck back Monday at Iran by issuing “hard-hitting” financial sanctions against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his associates.
“Today's action follows a series of aggressive behaviors by the Iranian regime in recent weeks including shooting down a U.S. drone,” the president said in the Oval Office, calling Khamenei “responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime.”
Trump said the sanctions “will deny the supreme leader and the supreme leader's office and those closely affiliated with him and the office access to key financial resources and support.” Speaking to reporters in the White House briefing room Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the sanctions “lock up literally billions of dollars more of assets.”
“Along with that action today, we are also announcing specific actions targeting those responsible for recent activities,” Mnuchin said, adding that the president has instructed him to sanction Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif “later this week.”
The Treasury Department, in a news release, said “any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant financial transaction for entities designated under this Executive Order could be cut off from the U.S. financial system.”
Amid the newly announced sanctions, Fox News has confirmed that the U.S. military also carried out a cyberattack against Iran last Thursday even as the president nixed plans for airstrikes in response to the downing of an American drone.
Sources said U.S. Cyber Command launched the cyberattack targeting the Iranian intelligence and radar installations used to down the U.S. Navy drone last week.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin appears before the White House press corps to lay out the newest sanctions on Iran and take questions.
Fox News has learned Iran shut off some of its military radar sites around the time the U.S. was poised to launch retaliatory strikes. It's not clear if those radar sites were turned off by the cyberattack or if Iran shut them off deliberately in anticipation of this.
Yahoo! News first reported on the retaliatory cyber strike. It came as the White House and Pentagon were also considering military strikes, but Trump revealed last Friday that he called them off after learning up to 150 Iranians could be killed.
“I stopped it, not ... proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone,” he tweeted at the time.
The drone shoot-down was only the latest flare-up in the region tied to Iran.