Some Republicans and many Democratic political analysts believe Trump’s assassination of Quassam Soleimani was ego-driven to look big and bold. His ego needs often result in him making policy decisions to be seen as smarter than former presidents. Media reports indicate among the options Trump was given to deal with Soleimani, he chose the most extreme, risky one. Many former military and intelligence officials who had proven the strength to oppose Trump’s naive or dangerous impulses are gone. He has strategically replaced them with sycophants, so whatever he thinks or wants is rubber-stamped. That is the goal of an autocrat.
Presidents Obama and Bush were acutely aware of the threat that General Soleimani posed to Americans. They were informed by intelligence agencies of his involvement in operations aimed at harming the U.S. However, it has been reported both presidents consulted with intelligence agencies and decided against killing him out of concern for potentially dangerous repercussions.
The Trump Administration has yet to inform the public of their plan to deal with unexpected retaliations from Iran. Given Trump’s declining credibility in the eyes of world leaders and his constant lying and lack of transparency, the reasons for inciting more conflict in the Middle East are suspicious and terrifying.
General Barry McCaffrey appeared on MSNBC today and speculated killing Soleimani will not stop any of the anti-American plots he was involved in. Iran’s opposition to America will stay healthy, if not stronger, due to the outrage over the assassination, he warned. He raised the question as to whether it would have been smarter to have eliminated Soleimani covertly, instead of publicly. However, Trump’s dramatic, impulsive style of governing and his need to look strong could explain the public nature of the killing.
Before the strike against Soleimani, it was speculated that Trump might create a disaster to distract attention from the impending impeachment trial in the Senate. The public is not privy to the new intelligence given to Trump regarding Soleimani as he arrived in Baghdad on Thursday. However, Trump’s need to elevate his weakened image in the world could have caused him to choose to strike now. That can’t be proven, but it is hard to trust he is capable of putting the country’s best interests over his own.
In an interview on CNN, Christine Amanpour reported since Trump pulled out of the Iran Nuclear Deal, tensions have increased between the two countries. The decision alienated allies and caused Iran to consider resuming uranium enrichment. Amanpour said Trump’s policies towards Iran have destroyed channels of communication that served John Kerry in negotiating the release of captured US sailors captured in the Persian Gulf in 2016. The Soleimani murder has closed the possibility of all channels of communication with Iran, and extreme retaliation appears imminent.
Trump is showing little restraint in his communications on Twitter. He tweeted about targeting 52 Iranian cultural sites if Iran retaliates over the murder of Soleimani. This would be an illegal act, and Pentagon officials have commented that the US would not be taking such an action. The presidents’ instability, inexperience, and authoritarian tendencies are in full view of the world. What will it take for Republicans to stop choosing the party of this country’s security?
The Administration owes the full public transparency on the intelligence they say justified this extreme action against Iran. However, Trump’s claims of omnipotent powers have made his Administration the least honest and transparent administration in history. The solution is for all Americans to unite in demanding an answer to why at this time, America had to move closer to another Middle East war.