President Trump has some aides, led by National Security Advisor John Bolton, who are hawkish. He has others, including many in the Pentagon, who favor diplomacy.
This gets described negatively in the press as a “divide within the administration.” What it actually amounts to is having a range of opinions in your administration and then making a decision.
If this were Obama, the press would be appreciatively calling it, “Team of Rivals.”
Anyway, Trump is wary of the hawks. Which is a good idea. The policy of putting the economic screws on Iran but trying to avoid war is a good one, because we have to find a way to get rid of their nuclear program. It may take war, eventually. But we should not overreact when they, naturally, respond to the economic pain and the threat to their regime.
According to the Washington Post:
The Trump administration has been on high alert in response to what military and intelligence officials have deemed specific and credible threats from Iran against U.S. personnel in the Middle East.
But President Trump is frustrated with some of his top advisers, who he thinks could rush the United States into a military confrontation with Iran and shatter his long-standing pledge to withdraw from costly foreign wars, according to several U.S. officials. Trump prefers a diplomatic approach to resolving tensions and wants to speak directly with Iran’s leaders.
Disagreements over assessing and responding to the recent intelligence — which includes a directive from Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that some American officials interpret as a threat to U.S. personnel in the Middle East — are also fraying alliances with foreign allies, according to multiple officials in the United States and Europe.
Trump grew angry last week and over the weekend about what he sees as warlike planning that is getting ahead of his own thinking, said a senior administration official with knowledge of conversations Trump had regarding national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“They are getting way out ahead of themselves, and Trump is annoyed,” the official said. “There was a scramble for Bolton and Pompeo and others to get on the same page.”
Bolton, who advocated regime change in Iran before joining the White House last year, is “just in a different place” from Trump, although the president has been a fierce critic of Iran since long before he hired Bolton. Trump “wants to talk to the Iranians; he wants a deal” and is open to negotiation with the Iranian government, the official said.