I guess the “chicken little” predictions of World War III being imminent now look a little silly?
Let’s review just the past week’s events: The left wing consistently advanced Iranian regime talking points, showed footage promoting the attendance at Gen. Qassem Soleimani’s funeral, aired false statistics about American casualties from the Iranian retaliatory strike, and made the suggestion that the recent targeted killing of the world’s worst terrorist was a “wag the dog” attempt to distract from impeachment.
All while promising that World War III was assured.
House Democrats even attempted to limit the war powers of the sitting president in the middle of an international crisis. They sobered up and came to their senses, rightfully choosing to delay the legislation until Thursday.
What was President Trump’s unpardonable sin?
Defending Americans who had been attacked at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. Responding to the killing of a U.S. contractor. Both actions were undertaken by Soleimani, who was killed when the American military carried out a precision strike in Iraq, taking both him and another high-ranking terrorist off the battlefield.
Democrats need to be asked two questions.
First, should America avenge the killing of its soldiers and citizens when terrorists strike?
I suspect 90% of Americans would answer “yes.”
Second, would you rather Soleimani have not been killed?
He was directly responsible for the deaths of at least 600 American soldiers, and his proxies and bombs have maimed thousands more in Iraq and Syria. I will predict that at next week’s Democratic presidential debate, you may see every single Democratic candidate oppose Soleimani’s killing.
Democrats have argued against targeting Soleimani by claiming that it would lead to WWIII. But it manifestly has not, and it appears both sides are de-escalating.
Perhaps more importantly, Mr. Trump has restored deterrence with Iran.
This is a point former Commander of U.S. Central Command and former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus has made recently.
Iran now knows that America will not sit by and let the Islamic republic or its proxies target Americans. There will be a cost to that type of aggression.
In the end, Iran concluded that the cost would be too high, choosing to respond to Soleimani’s killing by firing a handful of missiles that injured no one and did not destroy any property on the two Iraqi bases when American military personnel are stationed.
Iran can save face by showing their citizens phony video and claiming Americans were killed.
America does not have to respond because no one was harmed and no damage was done.
The vexing decision of whether to remain in Iraq to fight the Islamic State gets pushed to a future date.
In the meantime, Mr. Trump has done four important things.
First, he promised to increase sanctions on Iran, increasing economic pressure on the regime at a time when its economy is historically weak.
Second, he pledged to never allow Iran to have nuclear weapons. Those words have deeper meaning with Iran now than previously.
Third, he asked NATO to take a leadership role in the region for the security interests of America and its allies. NATO is a broad coalition and has expertise in this area.
Fourth, he put Europe on notice that countries that continue doing business with Iran may be subject to sanctions. Shutting off Iran to German and French markets would hamstring the regime and force it to recalculate the cost of its terrorism.
This was a very good week for America.
The president does not want to commit our country to new foreign wars. He has shown tremendous restraint. But attacking our embassy and killing an American contractor cannot go unanswered or it invites future aggression.
The Trump doctrine can be summarized this way: Don’t attack America or you will regret it.
Matt Mackowiak is president of Austin, Texas, and Washington-based Potomac Strategy Group. He’s a Republican consultant, a Bush administration and Bush-Cheney reelection campaign veteran and former press secretary to two U.S. senators.
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