Peace through strength. The actions the president has taken toward Iran over the past week exemplify Reagan’s foreign policy motto more than anything we’ve seen since Reagan’s victory over the Soviet Union.
Trump knows he holds all the cards and all the power, and over the past week, he has unambiguously conveyed the message to Iran that he will use it. As a result, he is on the cusp of winning the greatest victory over Iran since 1979. Now Trump can pocket this foreign policy triumph and move on to domestic security issues, using the same tactics against his domestic political adversaries.
On our side, Trump has crippled Iran with sanctions, shredded Obama’s terrible nuclear “deal,” prevented Iran from causing an oil crisis thanks to our energy prowess, and killed its most treasured terrorist general. On the other side, Iran launched a dozen low-grade missiles at Iraqi sites, demonstrating that it is terrified to do anything more significant. The missiles launched at two joint Iraqi-U.S. bases in western and northern Iraq caused no American casualties. Also, according to the U.S. government, four of them malfunctioned, which is another embarrassment for the Islamic Republic.
It’s truly remarkable how an operation Iran dubbed “Martyr Soleimani” resulted in no casualties and limited damage. One might have expected Iran to “go nuclear” in response to the killing of its most revered general. But the entire world knows exactly why the regime didn’t respond more aggressively. Trump holds all the power through the U.S. military to utterly destroy Iran. The mullahs always knew we were stronger than they, but they never saw a president willing to actually show it.
Gone are the days of Iran capturing American sailors and the president rewarding aggression with sanctions relief. The killing of Soleimani demonstrated that Trump will take action, which for now, ensures that he won’t have to. Peace through strength embodied.
The path ahead for Trump is clear. He should pocket the victory, double down on the use of soft power through crushing sanctions, and continue allowing the military to prepare for the worst while communicating to Iran that the trigger will be pulled if the regime prods him. He should distance himself from the pro-Iran government in Baghdad and begin pulling our troops out of Baghdad so that Iran will never even have the ability to harm our assets, even if it is willing to risk Trump’s retaliation. It’s time to pull the plug on Iraq.
Trump actually signaled this when the State Department put out a joint statement with Kurdish Prime Minister Barzani following Iran’s pathetic retaliation without any mention of Iraq’s prime minister. Good riddance. As Lee Smith so brilliantly observed in today’s New York Post, “Soleimani’s killing lets us get out of the Iraqi quagmire on a high note.”
This will free up Trump to focus on completing the circuit of national security through domestic policy: the border, the visa system, sanctuary cities, and domestic crime.