Trump responds to Iran's act of war
Actually, it's possible for a knowledgeable observer not afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome to discern a coherent foreign policy strategy, "a bold agenda internationally and a deeply controversial one at home," as Walter Russell Mead wrote this week in the Wall Street Journal. "Confrontation with Iran, competition with China, outreach to Russia."
Does "confrontation" mean, as the New Yorker's military correspondent Dexter Filkins argues, regime change in Iran? Critics treat that as unthinkable, yet it would be welcomed by millions of Iranians. Those who care about human rights should not mourn the end of a thug-ocracy that throws gay men off high-rises and beats up women whose headscarves slip down.
It's possible to encourage peaceful regime change. Reagan administration policies in the 1980s helped to undermine the communist regimes in Eastern Europe and unravel the Soviet Union -- things almost no experts thought could happen.
Iran's mullah regime has lasted for 40 years, about as long as the communist satellite regimes in Eastern Europe. Is it totally unrealistic to hope that it might peacefully disappear as well?
It is clear that Obama's attempted rapprochement with the Iranian regime has failed, and it seems possible that the elimination of its most aggressive promoter of terrorism and the Trump crackdown on its economy are attempts to provoke peaceful regime change.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump was justified under international law to respond with military force to a violation of diplomatic immunity -- an act of war -- just as then-President Jimmy Carter was 40 years ago when he authorized the hostage rescue raid in Iran.
Carter's attempt unhappily failed, and the regime stayed in place. Trump's action succeeded -- and we'll see what happens next.
Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and longtime co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.Copyright 2020 U.S. News and World Report. Distibuted by Creators Syndicate Inc.