Trump’s decision to carry out the assassination of Iran’s top general is a very poorly calculated and dangerous action against a country that posed no imminent threat to our national security. After making headway with the Iran nuclear deal under the Obama administration, objectively suppressing Iran’s capacity to build a nuclear arsenal, we have gone from making progress in stabilizing the region to possibly inciting an un-winnable war.
To be clear as to how successful the Iran nuclear deal was, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has issued multiple reports, most recently in June 2017, which verifies that Iran has been complying with the terms of the deal. The United States was on an unprecedented path to greatly diminishing any nuclear threat with Iran. What’s more, prior to dismantling the agreement, even the Trump administration issued a report to Congress that Iran was in compliance. Sadly, in a stunning reversal of diplomatic relations, the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds military force and one of the most powerful figures in the Islamic Republic, has now put us on a path to war.
It’s also interesting to note how libertarian Republicans like Ron and Rand Paul have praised Trump as a non-interventionist prior to this development. In fact, leading up to Obama’s re-election in 2011, in a series of tweets, Trump predicted that Obama would do anything to win an election, including starting a war with Iran. This is not surprising though, as Trump’s tweets tend to age well because now it is Trump who has initiated a war with Iran in an election year.
A war with Iran would be much more complex than the war with Iraq as Iran boasts the 14th most powerful military in the world, and the terrain would be much more difficult to navigate. In addition, there are several military factions including the Shia, also fighting alongside Syrian forces in Syria and northern Iraq which have recently been bolstered by the United States’ abrupt withdrawal from the region. There would also be a question as to Russia’s involvement in the region as a disrupting force considering their strategic relationship with Iran.
Iran’s military is also much more calculated and has time to dissect and analyze US attacks on countries during the Arab Spring uprising as well as the previous US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Finally, the socioeconomic impacts of such a war would be severe as Iran controls much of the oil supply and distribution in the region with the advantage of a favorable geographic map. Any disruption in oil supply would send prices skyrocketing, which would hurt the American consumer and put a strain on the US economy.
In addition, more lives would be lost and more disabilities such as PTSD, TBI and so on would be incurred during war, which would impact families and create socioeconomic hardships.
This single decision to take out Iran’s top general will certainly be costly in more ways than one and it puts the US at risk for another dangerous, endless and complex war, which, like the Vietnam conflict, would be un-winnable.