While President Donald Trump is trying to stave off the insistent beating of war drums coming from within the hawkish elements of his national security cabinet, the top Marine general in the Middle East is warning that Iranian forces could attack the U.S. at any moment. In an interview with NBC News this week, Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie said that the threat posed by the hostile Islamists could turn from theoretical to kinetic imminently.
“I think the threat is imminent,” McKenzie said. “We continually evaluate our force posture in the region.”
Despite a recent buildup of American forces in the area, McKenzie said he did not believe that tensions between the U.S. and Iran had cooled.
“I don’t actually believe the threat has diminished,” McKenzie said. “I believe the threat is still very real. They probe for weakness all the time. I would say the threat has probably evolved in certain ways even as our defensive posture has changed and become more aggressive, and we certainly thank our Iraqi partners for many of the things they’ve done. I think we’re still in the period of what I would call tactical warning. The threat is very real.”
In a speech commemorating the death of the original Ayatollah, the current Supreme Leader of Iran said this week that his nation would continue to resist pressure coming from the United States. Addressing thousands in Tehran, Ayatollah Khamenei said that “standing and resisting the enemy’s excessive demands and bullying is the only way to stop him.”
This, after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters that the Trump administration was willing to sit down and negotiate with Iran “with no preconditions.” Because that sounds like the rhetoric of a “bully.”
“They want us to be losers and put our hands up as a sign of surrender,” Khamenei said. “And because we don’t do that, they threaten us. Resistance has a cost, but the cost of surrendering to the enemy is higher.”
Well, let’s just be frank: Iran is running out of options. Their economy is tanking, the citizens are growing restless, and they no longer have the world market open to them because Trump pulled out of the nuclear agreement. They have two choices: They can either come back to the table and try to get a nuclear deal with Trump that actually makes sense for the rest of the world…or they can do something extremely stupid.
The choice is theirs to make.