One of the complaints some conservatives (as well as progressives) had against former National Security Advisor John Bolton was his obsession with going to war with Iran. He’s been calling for attacks against the Islamic nation since the Bush administration, and possibly even before. This is one of the reasons he and President Trump clashed. The President does not want war with Iran, or anyone for that matter.
But Iran keeps provoking. Their attack on a Saudi processing plant, which they deny, was the latest in a series of escalations Tehran has committed against the world economy. Our interests are deeply tied to this economy despite our status as being energy independent. As Iran’s efforts to disrupt trade and world commerce continue, America is feeling the effects indirectly.
President Trump remains resolute in avoiding war with Iran. His administration laid down further sanctions after the attack while Tehran lobbed more threats. We cannot view these threats of “all out war” as empty. They may not possess the capabilities to strike the mainland, but they can hit our bases in the region as well as our allies, a lesson we continuously learn with each act of aggression.
Iran does not currently have an intercontinental ballistic missile. Could Tehran’s missiles someday reach Washington, DC? North Korea has demonstrated that even a determined country of limited means can build a credible missile program. The Nuclear Threat Initiative lists Shahab-5 and -6 missiles as possible ICBMs that have been mentioned in Iranian literature, but these names seem to be assigned to notional design goals and not operational missiles. Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran has agreed to halt its nuclear-weapons development. Resumption of ICBM research and development would be a clue that Iran’s nuclear ambitions have reignited, something that would put the country on a collision course with the United States.
Iran’s ballistic-missile program began from a wartime requirement for a strategic terror weapon, and progressed to the development of nuclear delivery vehicle. Iran, like North Korea, is proof of the dangers of ballistic-missile proliferation, and how trade in even short-range missiles like the Scud can lead to the development of far more dangerous weapons down the road.
How long can we wait? Hopefully, we can wait indefinitely. But the United Nations must step up and join us in sanctions. Their goal of reviving the Iran Nuclear Deal is all but dead after President Trump pulled the United States out of the agreement and Tehran became more bold in their efforts to disregard it. It’s becoming clearer every day that they have always disregarded it, but now they’re willing to admit it in open defiance.
This is more than just the President’s general non-interventionist stance. Another war in the Middle East will not be beneficial for him come election time. As long as Iran continues to provoke, it may seem like war is inevitable. But President Trump is going to keep us out of war until there is no other option.
The cowards in Iran will continue to provoke, claim innocence, make threats, point fingers, rinse, and repeat. War may be on our horizon, but we can rest assured knowing this President sees it as an absolute last resort.
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