The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is well known. If no one stands up to a bully, the bully continues to be a bully. The only way to stop a bully is to show him that he is not as tough as he thinks he is.
Barack Obama refused to stand up to Iran or numerous other bullies who have been flexing their national muscles. Donald Trump was President of the United States less than ten days before Iran tested his mettle by defying United Nations Resolution 2231. This Resolution endorsed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (otherwise known as the “Iran nuclear deal”) and lifted nuclear-related sanctions on Iran.
On Sunday, January 29, 2017, Iran conducted a medium-range ballistic missile test and confirmed that it had done so. On Wednesday, February 1, 2017, Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser, made it clear that Trump has a stiffer backbone than Obama does. Flynn warns, “As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice.”
Iran is apparently feeling “emboldened” because its behavior is “destabilizing” the Middle East. Besides the launch on Sunday, Houthi militants allied with Iran attacked a Saudi naval vessel.
According to Steve Holland and Matt Spetalnick, three senior U.S. officials explained that there is a “range of options” that are being considered. One of them explained that Flynn’s message was to “make clear” the Trump administration would not be “shy or reticent” about taking action against Iran. The official continued with this statement.
We are in the process of evaluating the strategic options and the framework for how we want to approach these issues. We do not want to be premature or rash or take any action that would foreclose options or unnecessarily contribute to a negative response. Our sincere hope is that the Iranians will heed this notice today and will change their behavior.
Iran has fired other ballistic missiles since making the nuclear deal in 2015, but this is the first time since Trump became president. Will Tehran heed the warning, or will it continue playing games?