Trump Needs to Restore Deterrence Against Iran

If Tehran is allowed to believe it is winning against the U.S., it will grow more reckless.  

Iran is convinced that it is winning the confrontation with the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. This view will likely encourage Iran to launch more attacks against its neighbors. It is crucial that Washington and its partners correct this misapprehension and restore deterrence before more mayhem ensues.

President Donald Trump insists that American restraint is “a sign of strength that some people just don’t understand!” But, as Senator Lindsey Graham suggests, the Iranian leaders will probably misinterpret the lack of a robust kinetic response to last weekend’s massive attacks on key Saudi oil installations as weakness.

The attack, which temporarily knocked out more than 50% of Saudi oil output, demonstrated that Iran has concluded that momentum is on its side, and that it has little to fear from paper tigers unable or unwilling to seriously fight back…

At no stage has there been any military response Though, judging by its systematic provocations, Iran was certainly seemed willing to absorb painful blows from, for example, cruise missile strikes against its military assets, the blows never came. Even when Iran downed an unmanned U.S. drone on June 20, Trump called off planned retaliatory airstrikes.

Instead, Tehran watched in amazement as a series of political and diplomatic developments seemed to indicate startling and overwhelming success. Trump repeatedly offering meetings with Iranian officials without preconditions.

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