by Paul Moomjean

America has been the moral compass for the world more or less since the end of World War II. Rarely has there been a world issue, conspiracy or revolution we haven’t had our hand in. We’ve been on the right side of history and the wrong side as well. For every Vietnam War, we’ve also provided aid to Third World countries. The world has seen us as the leader and, for the most part, we’ve tried to hold ourselves up to a higher standard. This of course makes the current tensions between America and Iran so frustrating. While President Donald Trump has attempted to show strength by force, he has only done this at the expense of human lives. Even though America must be strong, in the end, we must also be that light on a hill that President Ronald Reagan proclaimed us as 30 years ago. 

One political pundit, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, called out Trump to remember that we don’t need or want a war. After the striking down of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, Carlson said these sobering words:

“It’s hard to remember now, but as recently as last week, most people didn’t consider Iran an imminent threat. Iranian saboteurs were not committing acts of terror in our cities. Oh, but our leaders tell us they were about to any second and that’s why we struck first.”

“What’s so striking is how many people appear to accept this uncritically,” Carlson continued. “Just the other day, you’ll remember, our intel agencies were considered politically tainted and suspect. Certainly, on this show, they are — were — and will be for quite some time.”

Carlson’s break from cheerleading the president is a refreshing one. One that demonstrates integrity from the right, as the president battles impeachment. While right wing hacks like Sean Hannity praise the president over every thing he tweets and says, to get a powerful voice to articulate the reservations moderates and conservatives have does help ease the frustrations for the voiceless that may have voted for him because he promised not to start wars. 

President Trump was supposed to be the anti-war president, not the strike-first Commander in Chief. While we have come to see the GOP as the party of war, Trump was supposed to be different. At least in this area of diplomacy and war doctrine. But maybe the reason he felt free to move forward with the drone strike was because he knew Iran would historically back down. 

“If past is prologue, we have learned that when we enforce a red line with Iran, when Iran gets rapped on the knuckles, they tactically retreat,” Dan Hoffman, a former C.I.A. officer who served in Iraq, told the New York Times. “The retreat might be ephemeral before Iran probes its enemies with more gradually escalating attacks, but we’ve seen it repeatedly.”

Yet, any student of history also knows that America has a long history of messing up any war started in the Middle East. Even if the road to “victory” looks quick, the pathway to exiting is much more complex and messy.

This is why we cannot allow these types of tension-filled weeks to happen. This entire exercise feels like a Bay of Pigs waiting to happen. A Cuban Missile Crisis in waiting. The world is watching, Mr. President. America cannot afford to look weak or like a bully — especially as you get investigated. 

President Trump used to mock Jeb Bush for the sins of his brother. Now, with Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren breaking away from the pack soon, he won’t have a Bush to pick on. Instead, ironically, he is now the Bush.

In times such as these, as the world watches, we must look for our better nature if we still want to be the beacon of light as we start a new decade. Because if we prove to be the hypocrites on the hill instead, the next world leader might not be from a nation built on democracy and freedom, and that could lead to a future no one will want to be a part of.