President Donald Trump prevented war with Iran this week, first by shocking the world with a successful airstrike against General Qasem Soleimani, and second by holding back when Iran fired missiles at U.S. troops, killing none.
In the first action, Trump restored the U.S. deterrent and made clear he would react to any harm to Americans. In the second, Trump allowed Iran to “save face,” at no cost — and without being drawn further into a messy conflict.
Trump was mocked relentlessly by Democratic Party leaders, 2020 presidential candidates, and the media for not having a “strategy.” Yet the “strategy” was simple, clear, and effective. They were just too obstinate to understand it.
Put simply: you need to use force to prevent war.
That is not some Orwellian “War is Peace” rationalization. It is exactly what history teaches us — or what it ought to have taught us, were Democrats interested in learning from it.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) repeatedly cited the Battle of the Bulge — the counterattack by Nazi Germany in the winter of 1944-5 — in justifying why she was pushing a resolution to limit Trump’s war powers.
The reason Nazi Germany was able to conquer most of Europe in the first place — and murder millions — was the world failed to stand up to Hitler’s many provocations, most notably his remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936.
Weakness is a provocation — sometimes even more of a provocation than bellicosity. That is why Iran has been on the march across the region for more than a decade — ever since the U.S. lost confidence in the Iraq War effort.
Thanks to the “surge” under President George W. Bush, which restored stability in Iraq, President Barack Obama inherited a position of unparalleled strategic power. Iran was surrounded, east and west, by large U.S. forces.
That was when the Green Revolution erupted, and the Iranian masses took their chance to topple the hated regime, confident of America’s support. After all, had Americans not just elected their own transformative new president?
But Obama, believing that America’s leadership in the world was fundamentally malign, and hoping a conciliatory posture would inspire the mullahs to make concessions, allowed the young pro-democracy movement to be crushed.
For the rest of his two terms, Obama did his best to appease Iran. Though he would later take credit for sanctions on the regime that finally brought it to nuclear negotiations, his administration resisted those sanctions every time.
Obama claimed that the “military option” was on the table. But no one believed him. He was clearly desperate to reach some kind of deal, and accepted one that allowed Iran to become a nuclear power anyway after several years.
The day the deal was “signed” (which it never was, just as it was never sent to the Senate for ratification as required by the Constitution) was the most dangerous day in the recent history of the Middle East. It set a course for war.
Iran spent its billions on funding terror throughout the region, and continued ballistic missile tests. There was no option left, other than a risky pre-emptive strike, for Israel or the U.S. to stop Iran from deploying a nuclear weapon.
But Trump stepped in and reversed course, slapping the regime with sanctions, standing up for regional U.S. allies, and — in the Soleimani strike — making it clear the “military option” was not theoretical, but always at the ready.
Now — amazingly — there is a diplomatic opening. But Pelosi wants to tie Trump’s hands with a resolution tto limit his war powers — right after he has used them to promote peace.
It would be treasonous, were it not so ridiculous.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.