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.
The same principle undergirding Trump’s success against Iran applies to his domestic political adversaries on the Left. The only reason Democrats have won every budget battle of his presidency is because they knew Trump would not use his veto pen to leverage action on issues like border security and sanctuary cities. Much as with Iran, Trump holds all the cards. Between his veto pen, inherent executive authorities, and his bully pulpit to expose the radicalism on the Left on issues like illegal immigration and crime, Trump can smash Democrats to pieces. They just need to know he will actually take action. That he will actually use the veto pen, implement lawful executive actions, push back against the lawless courts, and direct the RNC to run endless ads against Democrats on the thousands of criminal aliens and domestic criminals who have been released through the twin policies of sanctuary cities and jailbreak.
While Iranian aggression remains a looming threat, the average American’s safety is still imperiled exponentially more by weak-on-crime laws and open-borders policies. Trump should spend the remainder of the year leveraging his veto pen, executive actions, and the bully pulpit to promote the following:
Cut off visas from most Middle Eastern countries. Ultimately, the only meaningful way Middle Eastern terrorists and terrorist regimes can attack us is through our immigration system. But the “travel ban” has been so limited as to make it almost meaningless. The Trump administration is increasingly granting visas even to Iranians. Trump has the full authority to end this tomorrow.
Deploy our military to our own border. As Trump moves from nation-building in the Middle East to the peace through strength model, it’s time to redeploy our troops to our own border. The Border Patrol is simply not equipped to deal with the cartels and criminal aliens coming in strategically; it’s time to treat our border as the security perimeter that it should be. Moreover, use of the military will further leverage Congress on funding for more border wall construction.
It’s time for Trump to sideline wayward lower court judges and begin cutting off various grant funds to sanctuary cities. He can use his bully pulpit to demonstrate the devastating effects of sanctuaries releasing thousands upon thousands of the worst foreign criminals, including child rapists and gang members. The issue is so one-sided in the polling, Democrats could never survive a protracted national discussion over harboring the world’s worst criminals. He must be willing to have a budget funding fight later this year over codifying this action. It’s a fight he can win.
Trump needs to reverse course on so-called criminal justice reform and actually push Reagan’s reforms on behalf of victims of crime, which was Trump’s natural position before Jared Kushner changed his mind. The entire nation is appalled at what New York has done on crime, but this is happening in almost every state to some degree. Trump should use his bully pulpit to run against it, while also pushing federal legislation on gun felons and getting rid of many pro-criminal loopholes created by the federal courts.
A sustained and unflinching battle for public safety for our communities is a fight Democrats cannot win – the same way Iran could not win a conflict with our military, once they knew Trump would actually go kinetic with that potential power. Well, the time has come for him to use the extent of his political tools and the power of the issues and gain the same victories on behalf of the law-abiding sovereign American citizen. (For more from the author of “Trump’s Win Over Iran Leads U.S. Toward Peace Through Strength. Now on to Domestic Security” please click HERE)