For eight years, Iran’s leaders chanted “Death to America,” threatened the US and Israel, and brutally crushed public uprisings against them, and the Obama Administration responded with looks of measured concern, a sweetheart nuclear deal never approved by the Senate and a literal planeload of cash.
Last week, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani pulled the same tactics with President Trump, threatening to block the Strait of Hormuz, through which Middle Eastern oil is shipped, if Trump escalates sanctions on Iran, and warning that any US hostility to Iran would result in the “mother of all wars." And he learned that there is, indeed, a new sheriff in town. Or more accurately, that there is finally a sheriff in town. Trump responded to him via Twitter with the following message (the ALL-CAPS are the President’s):
“NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!”
Naturally, the response from Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) was to run around in panicked circles and collapse onto their fainting couches. Trump is being blasted for his “angry” tweet, his response has been described as “terror” and “madness,” and some are suggesting that Congress quickly pass a bill preventing Trump from launching a nuclear attack on Iran. Just as Gary Cooper learned in “High Noon,” when everyone else in your town is a coward, you have to face down the bad guys alone.
What Trump did with those tweets is called “his job” as Commander-in-Chief: to protect America against threats both foreign and domestic. That phrase isn’t included in the Presidential Oath, but it is in the oaths of every Congress and service member, so you’d think Congress members would understand what Trump was doing in making it crystal clear that if Iran crosses the United States, it will pay an unimaginable price. They aren’t helping matters by rushing to undercut him and assure Iran that if they’ll tie their own President’s hands to keep him from doing anything to response to Iran’s threats.
Iran responded predictably with more threatening bluster via official media channels, but there’s no question that the message Trump sent arrived loud and clear, and not just to Iran’s President and Mullahs but to the Iranian people who have been filling the streets demanding change and looking for signs of support from the US that never came during the Obama years. Despite all the liberals getting the vapors, that might one day be seen as one of the most consequential tweets of all time. Imagine if Twitter had been around in the ‘80s and Reagan had tweeted, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Those of us who were around back then recall that a lot of liberals got the vapors over that one, too. They were always screaming that that crazy Reagan was going to start a nuclear war by standing up to the USSR, calling them an “evil empire,” pressing ahead with developing a space-based missile defense system, etc. Instead, he brought down the USSR without firing a shot.
There was a bestselling book in the ‘80s that I keep thinking of every time I see the left repeat the same dumb mistakes with the same unfounded self-assurance. It was called “All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten." One thing most of us learned in kindergarten is that bullies are more likely to attack those who appear weak and less likely to attack those who appear strong, and not the other way around. Maybe some of our distinguished members of Congress and the press should go retake kindergarten and learn that lesson before they give any more aid and comfort to America's enemies.