Situating Trump’s 52 Iranian attack targets and Rouhani’s 35 American attack targets within the SMART goals framework

President Donald Trump of the United States and President Hasan Rouhani of Iran, have provided remarkable case studies for a better understanding of the SMART goals framework. Their examples, coming at the beginning of the New Year, when individuals, corporates and nation states are encouraged to set goals/targets, provide compelling grounds for compliance with the SMART goals framework.

Simply put, when setting goals for the New Year, ensure they meet the SMART requirements, where S stands for Specific, M for Measurable, A for Achievable, R for Realistic and T for Time-bound (within a defined period), the way Presidents Trump and Rouhani have showed the world.

Following the death last week of the Commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, General Qasem Soleimani, President Rouhani announced that Iran has identified 35 American assets targeted for retaliatory attacks. He said they would attack those targets very soon.

President Trump gave an almost instant response via twitter. He announced that the United States has identified 52 Iranian targets that would be attacked, ‘fast and hard’ if Iran attacked any American assets.

Because both sets of goals/targets are anchored in military systems, where precision is of utmost importance, it is easy to see how SMART they are. The targets are Specific although particular details have not been disclosed (and may not be disclosed) for obvious reasons. The targets are Measurable. They have particulars, dimensions and other characters that have been collected, analysed and properly positioned before now. These targets are Achievable (to the extent that propaganda, grandstanding have been isolated from the actual capabilities of the military systems been considered for deployment by either of these countries; and to the extent that preliminary tests have been conducted to determine their effectiveness or otherwise.) These targets are Realistic (in the estimation of either countries, with regards to their evaluation of the threats each pose to the other.) And the targets are Time-bound. The Iranians have said the attacks will come ‘within weeks,’ President Trump’s response implies that the United States would respond within weeks as well since their actions are predicated on Iranian attacks.

Just before I rested this post last night, my neighbour visited me and we talked briefly about it. Then he reminded me that the SMART framework has since been expanded to include the ‘UC’ elements. It is now known as SMART-UC, where UC stands for ‘Unintended

Consequences.’ He wondered if President Trump and President Housani have an exhaustive list of the unintended consequences of reaching their 52 and 35 attack targets respectively.

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