Flanked by Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Vice President Mike Pence, President Trump addressed the nation and the world with the news we all wanted to hear:
No Americans were harmed in last night's attack by the Iranian regime. We suffered no casualties. All of our soldiers are safe and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases. Our great American forces are prepared for anything.
However, even before he said that – heck, even before he said “good morning,” Trump made clear one ultimatum: "As long as I am president of the United States, Iran will never be allowed have a nuclear weapon.”
But there was one thing Trump did not say, and that is what the U.S. might do in response to the attack. In fact, he left the door open to “embracing peace.”
He urged the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and China to recognize the JCPOA is “very defective” and gives Iran a clear and quick path to nuclear breakout.
"We must now break away from the remnants of the Iran deal or JCPOA. And we must all work together toward making a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place."
"We must also make a deal that allows Iran to thrive and prosper and take advantage of its enormous untapped potential. Iran can be a great country."
He appealed directly to the Iranian people, saying "we want you to have a future and a great future, one that you deserve, one of prosperity at home in harmony."
Good luck with that.
Trump’s praise of our military contained a very clear message to Iran; don’t f**k with us:
The American military has been completely rebuilt under my administration at a cost of 2.5 trillion dollars. U.S. armed forces are stronger than ever before. Our missiles are big, powerful, accurate, lethal, and fast. Under construction are many hypersonic missiles.
And he reiterated a concept of military power that has been used by famous President Ronald Reagan, and as far back as Roman Emperor Hadrian in the first century AD: peace through strength.
"The fact that we have this great military and equipment, however, does not mean we have to use it. We do not want to use it. American strength both military and economic is the best deterrent."
While Trump did not tip his hand as to what the U.S. has planned, he made a fairly clear reference as to whom he believes laid the groundwork for Iran’s emboldened hostility, and even funded it: the administration of Barack Hussein Obama.
"Iran's hostilities substantially increased after the foolish Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2013, and they were given 150 billion dollars, not to mention 1.8 billion dollars in cash. Instead of saying thank you to the United States, they chanted Death to America."
"In fact, they chanted Death to America the day the agreement was signed. Then Iran went on a terrorist spree funded by the money from the deal and created hell in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration."
No doubt about it. We have a new sheriff in town – well, at least until January 21, 2021.
Time will tell if his approach is the one American voters want. Interesting to imagine how Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren might handle the mullahs of Iran…