Iran Retaliated, Sort Of: So Now What?

President Donald Trump addresses the nation from the White House on the ballistic missile strike that Iran launched against Iraqi air bases housing U.S. troops, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, in Washington, as Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, look on. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump just finished up his brief address to the nation to Iran, and there’s a lot to like in it. I’ll let others do the complete wrap, but three points stick out:

• Trump seems happy with the outcome, and anyone hoping for a full-fledged war with Iran will be disappointed. As I wrote on Monday, far from marking the start of a major war, “the Suleimani assassination sets the stage, however unlikely, for a potential peace.” Events of the last 12 hours or so bear that out.

• Trump called on NATO to take a more active role in the Middle East. That’s not exactly NATO’s bailiwick, but neither was Afghanistan. Trump’s call does however kill any validity to claims that he’s been acting like some unhinged cowboy.

• Trump repeated that Iran will not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon on his watch. Translation: He might have lowered the Big Stick, but he hasn’t put it down.

Trump’s attitude seems to be that if the Mullahs want peace, they can have it. If they don’t, he’ll do to the next guy what he did to Suleimani. If last night’s “retaliation” is anything to go by, Tehran seems to be very receptive to Trump all of a sudden. Iran reportedly alerted both Baghdad and Washington, quietly, that an attack was imminent, and then made sure the missiles were badly targeted. Hence, zero casualties. The harmless explosions were mostly for domestic propaganda purposes, so the Mullahs have something to show the people on TV and claim to have killed a jillion infidels with their mighty missiles or whatever. But the whole world knows exactly what they just saw: Tehran backing down after Trump ordered the death of their terror mastermind.

ASIDE: Why does NBC News refer to our bases in Iraq as “US-occupied bases?” That implies we took them by force, when in fact we’re there by invitation. Methinks the Peacock Network is actually the Propaganda Network. But that’s not exactly news, is it?

Ian Bremmer, in a tweet picked up by Scott Adams, said that “for everyone who thought killing Soleimani was going to lead to war, no…it established red-lines and deterrence.” He also added, “If US now wants to engage in diplomacy, there’s a real window.” Which is exactly what I’ve been arguing since Suleimani was taken out (see above).

Some of the responses on the Left have been truly unhinged, but what did you expect? Here are a few for you to enjoy.

“Accomplished and trusted envoy” is newspeak for “murder, terrorist, and oppressor,” I guess.

Obama didn’t conduct diplomacy with Iran; his nuclear deal was little better than a preemptive surrender, complete with craptons of Danegeld delivered right to the Mullahs’ doorstep. Now — and only now — is diplomacy possible. (It does however remain unlikely.)

As they say: He’s not anti-war, he’s on the other side.

The markets are responding positively to Trump’s speech, and I would hope the broad American public — as opposed to unglued Twitter lefties — will, too. Trump’s numbers have been on the upswing since the Democrats’ shampeachment escapades got underway in October, and it’s an easy guess that their silly Iran antics will add to that. Especially given how much Trump is acting like the serious grownup in the room, completely contrary to the MSN-DNC narrative. After the events we’ve witnessed these last ten days or so, no serious person could ever buy into that narrative again.

There’s been a lot of winning lately: Enjoy it. I know I am, and I suspect Trump is, too.