Opinion: Trump Has Changed How Iranians Do Risk Assessment

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)

You know you’ve won the battle BIGLY when one of the major mouthpieces of the DNC, The Washington Post, publishes an opinion piece entitled: Trump wins his standoff with Iran

Although the author, Mark Thiessen, is a Republican who worked for President George W. Bush, that this particular piece still graced the pages of WaPo is telling.

Here’s the lede, emphasis mine

Democrats warned that President Trump’s decision to take out Iranian terrorist mastermind Qasem Soleimani had put the United States on the path toward a cataclysmic war with Iran. They were dead wrong. Trump won his standoff with Iran.

President Trump is a whole lot smarter and self-aware than most people give him credit for. By redefining “proportionality,” in his use of force calculations, he has introduced uncertainty into Iranian assessment of risk when considering attacks on U.S. and Allied interests. Heretofore, the Iranians (and a few other international bad actors) would make an internal risk assessment when contemplating some sort of action contrary to U.S. interests and/or harm to U.S. citizens.

Until this last Friday, such an assessment was that there was little if any risk of any American action beyond strong language at the U. N. and perhaps a few economic sanctions. Further assessment told the Iranians that, in the worst case, if the U.S. used any kind of force, it would be “proportional” to the Iranian action. Needless to say, that kind of predictability serves as no deterrent whatsoever.

Enter Donald J. Trump. President Trump understands the art of negotiation and in the case of nation-states, the effective and proper use of force to achieve the just ends of these United States—in most cases, to modify the behavior of bad state actors. He also understands people. He has figured out the mullahs too. He knows that they are corrupt, living large while their people live in penury. They are very good at encouraging martyrdom, but they certainly don’t want to personally participate. Soleimani is the first indicator that the times, they are a changin’.

The left, however, insists on asking, “So what did the United States get out of doing this? What’s the benefit?” My answer: What we got is a whole new way of thinking by the Iranians. Heretofore, it was their bottom feeders who took the casualties. We are now messaging their leadership that they will be held personally accountable for bad acts against America and her allies.

The Mullahs now must presume far higher risk, now that we’ve whacked one of their senior generals. They should think long and hard before making decisions that could cause them to meet Allah earlier than expected. That’s called “deterrence”.

Mike Ford, a retired Infantry Officer, writes on Military, Foreign Affairs and occasionally dabbles in Political and Economic matters.

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Mike Ford
Mike Ford, a retired Infantry Officer, writes on Military, Foreign Affairs and occasionally dabbles in Political and Economic matters. 
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