President Trump is set to make a public statement this morning about the Iranian missile response last night. It is becoming clear that the Iranians acted as if they believed escalating their response would bring a world of pain upon them.
We do need a de-escalation, and we need to hear that from the president. “All is well!” is a good message to send to a jittery America. It will calm the markets, and it will put more people at ease given the spiraling events of the past few weeks in Iraq.
But this is also a golden opportunity for the president to initiate the Trump Doctrine–a red line of where and when America will respond if our interests are threatened or attacked. It’s one thing to campaign and act on “America First” with our allies, but it’s quite another to tell one of our primary antagonists that our embassies, our military, our facilities, our companies, our strategic partners in oil and other valuable natural resources, and the interests of America will be vigorously defended and in fact, avenged if they are in the least bit damaged.
Proportionate responses are absolutely wonderful in keeping the “balance of power” from swinging out of control. But an America that won’t respond when tested and bullied is not putting “America First.”
Trump should use this public statement to tell the nation, and the world, that there is in fact a red line, a Trump Doctrine that protects our assets and citizens worldwide. Iran can project its force wherever they like, but when it conflicts with America’s interests, they should know what to expect. They got a taste of this last week, and they’re waiting to see if Trump is serious.
Tweets can only go so far. A strong statement will go beyond simple trolling and make a real difference in this president’s tenure. It is the presidential thing to do, and this is the time for Trump to be “so presidential, you’ll be bored.”
Nobody thinks Iran won’t test us in the future, but we could do with some boring presidential talk right now. The president would do well not to ignore the opportunity.