I liked this piece on the CNN website, and I suspect that its analysis might be correct :
Iran had to respond in some way or other to the killing of one of its most prominent generals, and I hope that the overnight missile strike was enough and that it was deliberately symbolic rather than effective.
I’ve mentioned here the time that I once spent talking with Iran’s current foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif:
I liked him, and I like the article’s suggestion that his moderation may — may — have won out in this matter. I hope, if the analysis proves to be correct, that President Trump will respond accordingly.
But I worry that he may not. We’re all aware of his enthusiasm for counterpunches, after all. And I think that Jonah Goldberg, one of my favorite conservative commentators, is exactly and unfortunately right in this article:
I’ve shed no tears over the dispatch of Qassem Soleimani to the nether realms. He was a terrible man. I won’t miss him. But I’m hoping that we don’t get into a serious hot war with Iran. We would, of course, win it. But at considerable cost, and to the considerable satisfaction of powers such as Russia and China, who do not wish us well and who would only stand to gain from a war between the Islamic Republic and the United States.
And I certainly hope that President Trump won’t carry through with his threat to destroy Persian cultural treasures:
Not only would it arguably be a war crime, it would serve the very undesirable purpose of uniting virtually all Iranians behind the current regime and against the United States. Iranians are justifiably very proud of their rich history and culture, and they can (in my experience) be fiercely patriotic even if they despise their government. To go after non-military and non-political targets would be the very apex of stupidity and would poison the image of the United States even more than it’s already been poisoned in the region.