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Trump Or Biden — who ‘war’ it better?


Daily Caller News Foundation

Campaigning for president in 2020, Joseph Biden said of President Trump, “I’m worried he’s going to get us into war with Iran.”

Biden slammed Trump’s “Maximum Pressure Campaign” against Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, as “dangerously incompetent.” He claimed withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran was a “gigantic mistake.” Biden vowed to restore “decency” to America’s foreign policy and re-engage with Iran to lower tensions.

How’s that going?

After three years of Biden’s failed policies, the U.S. teeters on the brink of war with Tehran. With this week’s deaths of three American service members at the hands of Iranian proxies, it’s worth comparing the outcomes of both Trump and Biden’s strategies on Iran.

Trump: “Maximum Pressure”

Between 2018 and 2021, the Trump administration slapped Iran with more than 1,500 sanctions. The goal? Stop Iran from developing the bomb. Trump made that clear, vowing, “As long as I am President of the United States, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon.”

To that end, Trump’s sanctions crippled Iran’s economy. A report from the International Monetary Fund estimated Iran’s oil revenues collapsed from $70 billion in 2017 to a mere $4 billion in 2020.

President Trump also used force. After an Iranian-backed attack killed an American contractor in December 2019, Trump authorized the hit on Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force. Trump tweeted that if any further Americans were killed that “Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD.”

International relations PhDs in Washington’s Foggy Bottom got the vapors over Trump’s all-cap warning, but the message was received. The U.S. pressure campaign so bedeviled the Iranian regime that it issued an arrest warrant and ridiculously asked Interpol for help in nabbing President Trump.

Biden: “America is Back”

“Back” evidently meant a return to Obama’s failed Iran strategy. Upon taking office in 2021, President Biden immediately reversed Trump’s hard line on the Islamic Republic.

Less than a month in, Biden signaled to Iran that he was ready to return to the 2015 nuclear deal. He eased restrictions on Iranian diplomats posted to the United Nations. The Biden State Department began unraveling Trump-era sanctions, withdrawing three letters from the U.N. that whacked Tehran for “significant non-performance.” The new president de-listed the Iranian-backed Houthis as a terrorist organization and restored the $350 million in aid Trump yanked from Iran’s favorite proxy, the Palestinian Authority.

This pattern of offering carrots has continued. Whether hosting the White House’s first Nowruz reception to celebrate the first day of the Iranian new year or exchanging $6 billion for five American prisoners, the Biden administration seems to believe pandering and appeasement are the best methods to bring the regime in line.

It’s not working.

Since Biden took office, Iranian proxies have attacked America nonstop. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told senators in March 2023 that our forces had been attacked 83 times up to that date. An additional 150 attack have taken place since the October 7, 2023 invasion of Israel by Hamas, with the severity and casualties increasing in scope. In addition to three deaths this week, more than 40 American service members were injured in Iran’s most recent proxy attack.

Lost in this increasing violence and march towards direct conflict is Iran’s long-term strategy of obtaining a nuclear weapon.

In December, the International Atomic Energy Agency issued a report that Iran has obtained enough nuclear material, that if enriched, could make three nuclear weapons in a matter of weeks. If you think Iran is brazen and unchecked now, wait until it joins the ranks of the world’s nuclear powers.

Whether its Iran’s ambitions to dominate the Middle East, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, China’s “weather balloon” traversing the entirety of the continental United States, or the fall of Afghanistan, what the world sees in the Biden administration is failed policies that lead to war and conflict.

Morgan Murphy is a former DoD press secretary, national security advisor in the U.S. Senate, a veteran of Afghanistan.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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