On Tuesday, President Trump announced that America is withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal. Over the Obama years, America was clouded by an ideological administration that often confused friend with foe, ally with adversary. The Iran deal, after all, was not so much a nuclear weapons agreement but part of a realigning of alliances and strategic rebalancing that served to empower the Tehran regime to the detriment of our proven allies. Therefore, withdrawing from the Iran deal is only step one of what needs to happen to roll back the Iranian regime’s unchecked expansionism and worldwide terrorist campaigns.
Reinstate the Monroe Doctrine
The Monroe Doctrine, which asserts the right of the United States to prevent adversarial meddling in the Western Hemisphere, is essential to U.S. safety and security. Throughout the Obama years, policies were put in place that allowed Iran and Hezbollah to continue to expand their influence into the Western Hemisphere unchecked. In its quest for a deal with Tehran, the Obama administration reassigned government task forces meant to mitigate the threat to other endeavors. Hezbollah is now intimately involved in human- and drug-smuggling operations throughout North and South America (including inside the United States), and many of the programs to prevent the Shiite axis’ infiltration were disbanded under the Obama administration. It’s time for President Trump to ignore former Secretary of State John Kerry’s repudiation of the Monroe Doctrine. Instead, he should stay true to Founding Father and former President James Monroe’s strategy and reinforce it, using the hemisphere doctrine to protect the U.S. from Iran-backed expansionism.
Separate Russia from Iran
Iran and Russia are currently brought together by an alliance of common foreign interests, but there is nothing in particular, from an ideological perspective, that should hold the Iranian regime and Moscow together for the long haul.
In Syria, President Trump can make clear that Iranian, Hezbollah, and Assad regime assets are fair game for targeted strikes. To shatter the Russia-Iran alliance, the Pentagon can continue to demonstrating the costly liabilities of an alliance with Iran and Assad.
Additionally, Russia will want to get in line with the coming sanctions package if Russian entities still want to trade with the United States.
Use bully pulpit to get Europeans in line
European countries — particularly France and Germany — remain committed to securing multi-billion-dollar deals with the terrorist regime in Tehran. Trade deals with the Europeans have provided a much-needed lifeline to the regime as it struggles with an ongoing currency crisis.
The White House may find that the Europeans’ calculations could quickly change, should the U.S. insist (packaged with a tough sanctions regime) that arranging economic agreements with the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror is out of bounds.
Reimpose tough sanctions
Since leaving the Iran deal, the Trump administration has already began the process of reimposing tough sanctions on the regime that rules Tehran. This serves to further isolate the regime from the rest of the world. It also encourages our European allies and other trading partners to stay away from propping up the regime with lucrative trade deals.
The world nations will not miss much by being denied access to Iranian markets. They will, however, feel a void if they are denied access to the U.S. economy.
Reserve right to leave all options on the table
It is important that President Trump insist that all options are on the table when dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat. Should the mullahs perceive that America or its allies would never take kinetic action to remove their nuclear facilities, they would likely expedite a further military buildup coupled with the rapid development of nuclear weapons.
The U.S. and its allies have had proven success in using offensive cyber weapons to delay the development of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Reinstating an aggressive cyber program can become part of a grand strategy to prevent Iran from getting to the bomb.
Support self-determination of Iranians
The Iranian people are ruled by an evil regime that consistently violates their fundamental human rights.
In his Tuesday speech announcing that the U.S. has withdrawn from the Iran deal, President Trump also took the opportunity to support the aspirations of the Iranian people. One of the best ways to delegitimize the Iranian regime is to separate the Iranian people from the brutal dictatorship that rules over them.
Disrupt Iran’s diplomatic and military land and air bridge from Tehran to Lebanon
Iran continues to dominate the internal affairs of many Middle Eastern countries that were once viewed as U.S. allies. Iraq and Lebanon have fallen into the Iranian regime’s sphere of influence, while Iranian assets continue to embolden their posture in Syria.
The United States can recognize an independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq, which would serve as a buffer to Iranian influence while also becoming a key U.S. ally in a region where true allies are few and far between.
We must also completely cut off funding to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), which have become entirely controlled by the Iranian proxy terrorist group Hezbollah.
Support our proven allies
Many U.S. allies in the Middle East have never wavered from their commitment to stopping Iran’s expansionism into the region and intrusion into their domestic affairs. Countries like Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and others are actively engaged on the battlefields of the Middle East against Iran and its proxy forces. As Obama cozied up to Tehran, our Middle East allies often had to go at it alone. The White House can coordinate with our regional partners and recalibrate our defense strategy to stop Iran’s advances.