President Trump is demonstrating strategic and thoughtful decision-making while handling Iran — and liberals can’t stand it. They criticized the president for pulling out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal) implemented by President Obama.

Obama’s deal limited some of Iran’s nuclear research until 2024 and their stockpile of weapon-grade uranium until 2031. In exchange, President Obama removed the freeze on more than $1 billion in Iranian assets and lifted an oil embargo that cost Iran billions of dollars per year. 

Obama Trusted Iran

Obama trusted Iran’s leaders to uphold their end of the deal. Would you trust Iran, the largest state sponsor of radical Islamic terrorism and whose lawmakers burned an American flag in Parliament while chanting “death to America” to uphold a deal limiting their nuclear capabilities? I think not. I know firsthand the destruction Iran has visited on Americans. I’ve seen far too many of my friends come back permanently bearing the scars of war, while many never made it home.  

President Trump is right to pursue a better nuclear agreement with Iran. Since assuming office, he has withdrawn the U.S. from the Iran Nuclear Deal and began a maximum pressure campaign to bring Iran to the negotiating table. As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo indicated, this campaign has caused Iran to lash out and attack two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

Iranian Aggression

More recently, Iran shot down an American drone worth somewhere between $130 and $220 million while it was flying in international airspace. Iran’s actions demanded a response, and President Trump took the right course of action by planning a strike, pulling back at the last minute, and implementing tougher sanctions that only target Iran’s leaders. Planning the strike indicated to Iran that the United States is willing to consider military action in response to Iran’s overt hostilities.

Pulling back demonstrated a willingness to engage in diplomacy and avoid military engagement that would cost American and Iranian lives. The additional sanctions specifically on Iran’s leaders will show the Iranian people that the United States only wants to punish those responsible for the aggressions.

Overall, the president’s difficult-to-predict course of action is the best way to push Iran to the negotiating table. Most of the prominent 2020 Democratic candidates have indicated they would re-enter Obama’s nuclear deal and ease pressure on Iran.

After Twenty Years

In the twenty years I served in the United States Army, I never told our adversaries what our next plan was. Giving your plan away to your adversary allows you no opportunity to bargain for a better outcome. President Trump is right to pursue a diplomatic strategy that includes some unpredictability so that our adversaries will think twice before they take actions against us.

I commend the president’s campaign for a better deal with Iran while avoiding escalation toward another costly war in the Middle East.

Todd McKinley is a contributing writer for iVoteAmerica and iVoteTennesee. Todd and his family reside in the great state of Tennessee where he was a candidate for the US House of Representatives in 2018.