After non-specific allegations of a threat posed by Iran were used to justify weeks of US military buildup and threats of war, there are signs that the situation might work itself out, with Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan suggesting that the non-specific Pentagon actions deterred the non-specific Iran threats.
Shanahan was extremely vague about the matter, as usual, saying only that “there haven’t been any attacks on Americans,” and that he therefore believes the Iranian plot is “on hold.” He insisted a threat of some sort from Iran might remain, however.
This all comes amid Pentagon efforts to convince Congress that the claims of threats were ever real. That’s a tough challenge, because President Trump confirmed on Monday that there is “no indication that anything’s happened or will happen.”
Trump’s comment gives the impression that the whole narrative pushed by administration hawks was made up to justify a military buildup. Now, facing push-back against the war, it seems officials are just declaring victory in a war that never happened.
The administration’s extreme vagueness about the nature of the “threat” is making it a lot easier to sell the idea that they’ve solved it. That the threat in all likelihood never existed at all will make it easier to convince people it is “on hold.”
A bit part of this, according to Republican officials, is that many of them have been pushing back against the idea of a US war, and President Trump doesn’t want the war either.