Key Points

Yet I’ve lost count of how many articles have appeared demanding that the Trump administration compel the Saudis to stop fighting in Yemen without even a mention of the Houthis or their Iranian and Hezbollah patrons. It’s as if they didn’t exist at all. Trump’s critics ought to at least feel required to wrestle with the potential implications of their recommended course of action for the very real Iranian threat that now exists on the Arabian Peninsula. Even if you grant that the war has enabled the IRGC to deepen its influence over the Houthis and expand its ability to destabilize Saudi Arabia, it doesn’t necessarily now follow that forcing the kingdom to abandon the fight unilaterally will make the situation better. On the contrary, there’s at least a significant risk that it could make it worse, even much worse. Remember Iraq: The United States’ 2003 takedown of Saddam Hussein and the blunders that followed created unprecedented opportunities for Iranian meddling and influence. But the unilateral decision to withdraw U.S. troops in 2011 unintentionally ended up increasing the power of not only Iran, but what would go on to become the Islamic State as well.

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FDD: www.defenddemocracy.org

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Tehran must be resolutely disabused of that perception. Robustly listing Iranian violators under the Magnitsky legislation, in concert with designating the IRGC as a terrorist entity, would be important and necessary first steps to that end.

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In both its style and its substance, Trump’s declaration of first principles is an unusually clear-minded, straightforward, and potentially significant document in the annals of American foreign policy, and a much-needed corrective to two decades of dishonesty and obfuscation.

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The biblical advice to be as “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” offers sound counsel to anyone who seeks to see their principles influence the world. The advice of Mr. Trump’s critics is long on abstract morality but lacking in strategic wisdom.

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