To all the Never Trumpers and Trump-haters, it's time to give the man his due. Not only did he do the right thing in backing out of our deal with Iran but he stood in full presidential stature in denouncing this terrorist-funding regime and sending a message of hope and liberation to the people of Iran. Well done, Mr. President!
On a personal level, I have every right to ask my anti-Trump friends to commend him, since I have spoken out when the president's words or actions grieved me. And I have made clear that, as evangelical followers of Jesus, we must not sell our souls in his defense.
My policy has been simple: When the president does well, we should commend him. When he doesn't do well, we should constructively criticize him. That's what loyal citizens do.
Today is a day to commend him. He hit the ball out of the park with his decision and speech regarding Iran. And in doing so, he presented himself as the ultimate anti-Obama.
Let's examine the contrasts carefully.
First, Trump properly identified Iran for the dangerous nation it has become. In his words, "The Iranian regime is the leading state sponsor of terror. It exports dangerous missiles, fuels conflicts across the Middle East, and supports terrorist proxies and militias such as Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda.
"Over the years, Iran and its proxies have bombed American embassies and military installations, murdered hundreds of American servicemembers, and kidnapped, imprisoned, and tortured American citizens. The Iranian regime has funded its long reign of chaos and terror by plundering the wealth of its own people. No action taken by the regime has been more dangerous than its pursuit of nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them."
This is all patently true, and only the most strident supporters of Iran would dispute it.
Did President Obama ever make a statement about Iran on this level? Did he ever call a spade a spade in such forthright, categorical terms?
Second, President Trump said no to a really bad deal with Iran, a deal that put tens of billions of dollars back into the hands of radical Muslim leaders committed to war and upheaval in the Middle East and beyond.
Yet it was Obama who helped get us into this mess. In fact, according to a lengthy report on Politico, "In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation."
The headline and sub-heading to the story were even more damning: "The Secret Backstory of How Obama Let Hezbollah Off the Hook. An ambitious U.S. task force targeting Hezbollah's billion-dollar criminal enterprise ran headlong into the White House's desire for a nuclear deal with Iran."
If this report is true, not only did we make a foolhardy deal with Iran. We also helped to enable Hezbollah, one of Iran's terrorist allies. And we did it to our direct detriment.
It's also worth noting that our treaty with Iran was multinational, thereby bringing an aggressive, radical regime into a coalition with other nations (including the United Kingdom, Russia, China, and countries in the European Union).
The president, in his speech, further isolated Iran when he stated that "at this very moment, Secretary Pompeo is on his way to North Korea in preparation for my upcoming meeting with Kim Jong-Un. Plans are being made, relationships are building, hopefully a deal will happen, and with the help of China, South Korea, and Japan, a future of great prosperity and security can be achieved for everyone."
He was saying to Iran, "Get with the program, and you'll have a bright future. Dig in your heels, and you'll regret it."
Third, Trump told the oppressed people of Iran they had a friend here in the United States. He said, "Finally, I want to deliver a message to the long-suffering people of Iran: The people of America stand with you. It has now been almost 40 years since this dictatorship seized power and took a proud nation hostage. Most of Iran's 80 million citizens have sadly never known an Iran that prospered in peace with its neighbors and commanded the admiration of the world. But the future of Iran belongs to its people. They are the rightful heirs to a rich culture and an ancient land and they deserve a nation that does justice to their dreams, honor to their history, and glory to their god."
What a message this sends to the people of Iran, who also understand from Trump's remarks that a new government means a prosperous Iran. This stands in stark contrast to the relatively weak support offered by President Obama during the protests of 2009. (Note also that, according to one Iranian dissident and defense expert, the country could fall within a year.)
So, to those who questioned whether Trump would keep his word about Iran and to those who are quick to criticize him when he does wrong, here's your chance to prove your impartiality. Give the man his due today, without caveat. He deserves it.