With Trump’s decision to kill Iranian General (and widely acknowledged bad guy) Qassem Soleimani, the United States has effectively swatted the Middle East hornets’ nest. Few outside the region will mourn Soleimani — effectively the nation’s second in command — who had built a career deploying proxy forces that brutally advanced Iran’s expansionist aspirations. He was directly involved in killing or wounding of hundreds of Americans during the second Iraq War, helping supply insurgents with high-tech roadside bombs and other weapons. The world is arguably a better place without Soleimani in it.
But … the same argument was made years ago regarding Saddam Hussein, and the current wave of war and bloodshed washing over the Middle East is the direct result of the heedless American-led invasion of Iraq that removed him from power. Given Trump’s demonstrated aversion to detailed strategic planning, and that his White House has driven off diplomatic and military experts, denigrated NATO, and alienated the country’s longtime international allies, I suspect that even less thought was put into the Soleimani killing than George W. Bush’s Iraq adventure.
It’s an election year, though, and killing Muslim bad guys — regardless of potential fallout — plays well with Trump’s base. That it also pushes his impeachment trial off page one for a while is likely icing on the cake.