Before lawmakers think about threatening the integrity of a nonproliferation accord that is keeping Tehran’s nuclear behavior in check, they ought to analyze the facts, drown out the invective, and answer critical questions: Is the United States better off with the JCPOA and all of its inspection provisions? Or is the U.S. security interest served by withdrawing from the agreement and going back to a situation where the world is confronted with an unenviable choice between recognition of a nuclear-armed Iran or a preventive military strike that could spiral into a costly and harmful regional war?
The temptation in Washington will be recommittal, to maintain long-term military intervention in Iraq to solve that country’s political challenges, giving relative priority to nation-building projects while functioning as a permanent subsidy of the Iraqi military. That would be a grave mistake, an ill-considered pledge of participating in the regional cycle of terrorism and sectarian conflict, for it is predicated on a fundamentally unrealistic assumption about what outside forces, even U.S. military action, can achieve.
Dramatic and immediate changes in the way America conducts foreign policy must be made. We have to examine and understand the viewpoint of our friends and adversaries and then propose and pursue policy solutions that can rationally be accomplished—and then hold true to our word. Neglecting to do so puts us on a path to long term failure.
Regardless of one’s views toward U.S. policy in Yemen or the specific resolution, supporters and opponents of America’s role in the war should make their case to the American people so they can make up their own minds. Lawmakers have the power, but that power meaningless if they refuse to use it.
Policies, and the implementation of those policies, must receive a public airing; administration officials must defend their performance in full view of the American public; and military strikes must be evaluated and voted upon before interventions take place. The next chairman must insist that the legislative branch is not only consulted and informed, but also asserts its prerogatives and actually votes on the wars our soldiers fight.
More important are the lives of the men and women in our armed forces. Already, we have lost 2,400 troops in America’s longest military conflict. Spurring India to carry a greater burden in Afghanistan reduces the burden on our troops. The alternative contains the possibility of a costly failure, at the expense of more American lives. We should look out for American interests and avoid such an outcome.
It may be tempting to return Pyongyang’s petty verbal jabs with insults of our own, but to indulge that impulse is neither effective nor prudent. Kim already knows U.S. military might far exceeds his wildest dreams, and it is this fear that drives his foolish rhetoric. The United States can do what the Kim regime cannot: hold our tongues and let American economic, diplomatic, and military power do our talking for us.
Lt. Gen. McMaster is right that the U.S. does indeed have military options at hand, but he is absolutely wrong when he claims we have run out of time to address our problems with North Korea. To consider these war plans as anything other than the absolute last resort, to be used only when every last ounce is squeezed out of the diplomatic, economic, and containment strategy, will result in serious repercussions that will bring about the very thing we’re trying to avoid: catastrophic, and perhaps nuclear, war with North Korea. That is not in America’s national security interests.
For the sake of the American and Venezuelan people alike, Trump would do well to untangle his inconsistent thinking on foreign policy, to work out a coherent grand strategy that prioritizes restraint, diplomacy, and free trade. That course—not another misguided war of choice—is the best way America can help bring Venezuela back to prosperity and freedom.
The JCPOA is not be the most creatively-crafted arms control agreement in the world. But decades of U.S. history have proved beyond a doubt that in the arms control business, searching far and wide for the perfect deal is a great way to stymie progress.
To inform citizens, thought leaders, and policy makers of the importance of a strong, dynamic military—used more judiciously to protect America's narrowly defined national interests—and promote a realistic grand strategy prioritizing restraint, diplomacy, and free trade to ensure American security.