I'll never forget watching the Iran Hostage Crisis unfold in my youth, as over 50 hostages were held for 444 days in Tehran.
The crisis ended in 1981, but the impression it left on me was earth-shattering. I learned then that Iran is a menace that can never and should never be trusted. My memories of that crisis went through my head as I watched President Obama finalize the Iran deal in 2015.
The terms of the deal were weak and I was horrified - though not surprised - to learn about how much of the details surrounding the deal were a lie, as Obama Administration spokesman Ben Rhodes incredibly bragged about in the New York Times.
I was incensed when I saw that the deal included the release of hundreds of billions of dollars in funds, especially since it gave away the leverage our sanctions had given us. Jay Solomon's book, "The Iran Wars," sheds much light on this, making a strong case that Iran was on the verge of complete financial collapse at the time of the deal. According to Solomon, President Rouhani was warned by advisers that, "their country could run short of hard currency and face a crisis" if Tehran wasn't able to get access to billions of dollars in funds that had been frozen due to sanctions. Solomon also notes that our government knew this, as U.S. officials at the time, "saw the collapse of Iranian currency as a clear sign that Tehran's financial system was cracking."
With that in mind, it seems fairly clear that if we had stuck to our guns, Iran would have had no choice but to cave. Instead, we bailed them out. Look, I don't want to antagonize any countries unnecessarily and I'm certainly not looking for a war.
But we should have held firm instead of ceding ground and in the process, trusting a country that has proven repeatedly that they cannot be trusted. And they proved it yet again with its ballistic missile tests. The United States is not the only nation affected here, either. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China, and Russia all have a vested interest in making sure Iran is kept in check. An emboldened, nuclear Iran would cause incredible world chaos and be bad for everybody, which is why we should not be the only country to stepping up to stop it from happening.
Again, the last thing I want to see is a war. But if we aren't going to enforce treaties, then we might as well not even bother with them at all. To that end, I am glad General Flynn has let Iran know that they are on notice. And when it comes to General Flynn, say what you want to about the man, but you know he is not messing around.
Ronald Reagan preached peace through strength and that is the play here. General Flynn and President Trump may not like the terms of the Iran deal, but they are not looking for armed conflict. However, they also are not going to let Iran walk all over us, especially when - as President Trump said - they should be grateful for the life raft we tossed them rather than looking a gift horse in the mouth.
Iran would be wise not to cross that metaphorical "red line" again, and I truly hope they understand that.
But if they do cross that "red line," I'm glad we have people in place who won't let them get away with it.