Trump’s imperial arrogance will have disastrous ramifications

On December 27th, an American contractor was killed because of rocket attacks at a military base in Kirkuk in Iraq, for which the US blamed Iranian backed militia and immediately retaliated by attacking sites in Iraq and Syria which they said housed members of the Iranian backed Shia militia, Kataeb Hezbollah, killing 25 people

This happened on December 29th

On December 31st, there was a massive demonstration outside the gargantuan US embassy compound in Baghdad, where protesters were able to breach security and occupy the reception area of the US embassy

Major General Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, was killed by a US drone as he left the Baghdad airport on January 3rd

Suleimani’s assassination had long been under consideration since US strategy makers could not defeat him on the chessboard of Middle Eastern politics

However, both the Barack Obama and the George W Bush administrations considered his assassination a moot point since the cost benefit analysis didn’t add up: the potential repercussions of such an act outweighed the advantages they would derive from it

 Trump, however, is different

He goes by his gut feelings and what Fox News anchors tell him to do

To draw a parallel, one could argue that the Quds Force is equivalent to an amalgamation of Pakistan’s Special Service Group (SSG) and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)

Imagine if a major general heading the SSG, while simultaneously heading the ISI, is killed by India in a unilateral drone strike

Also imagine if this general had been at this special appointment for the past 20 years and had been a famous figure across the whole country

How would a sovereign country like Pakistan have reacted to such a slight by a perceived enemy like India? Would this not have been an unambiguous declaration of war? In its hubris, the US sometimes forgets that other countries value their sovereignty, territorial integrity, and respect for the life of their citizens as much as America does

Iran may be a weak foe, but it possesses the requisite capability to harm US military or civilian personnel at a place and time of its own choosing

Trump has now forced both the countries to play a dangerous game of chicken

Whoever blinks first loses

It could be argued that the current state of events is very similar to the Cuban missile crisis

However, at that time, neither Nikita Khrushchev nor John F Kennedy took any rash actions

They were forced into an almost nuclear confrontation because of the expansionist strategies of both their countries

In this lesser interesting game of chicken, there had been no need of a drastic escalation other than the US showcasing its military muscle and probably setting a precedent for all future foes

Soleimani was a threat in the eyes of the US, annoying them to no extent due to his clever manoeuvres in the politics of the Middle Eastern jungle: propping up Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime, campaigning vigorously against Al-Nusra and other Sunni jihadist elements, making sure Hezbollah continued to stay a relevant force and a deterrent to any other players in Lebanon, manipulating Iraqi politics to ensure that it always had a pro-Iranian regime, driving out and crushing ISIS from Iraq and Syria,  and giving sufficient aid to the Houthis in Yemen so that the Saudis did not achieve their desired outcome in that country

In short, he was a modern-day Shia Lawrence of Arabia: a shadowy figure who executed Iran’s foreign policy

By killing him, the US has upped the ante

To all future enemies, it’s a clear cut signal: even the decision makers can be executed mercilessly

It is not as if Soleimani was a rogue Al-Qaeda leader, he was after all a leading general of an internationally recognised sovereign state

If the US can butcher him, then in any future conflict, it can also kill the military or political leaders of any opposing nation

And if the US were to commit such an act, then so would other opposing nations

Iran may attempt something similar in a tit-for-tat move

Hassan Rouhani has stated that, “Vengeance for killing General Soleimani is an inalienable right for the Iranian people”




1578385178334 Perhaps it’s the inherent racism and religious bigotry towards Iranians, or a complete disdain for its nationhood, but the US does not even treat it as a worthy adversary

Granted that Iran is no superpower, but decision makers in the US would never even have thought of executing a Soviet Union general even at the height of the Cold War

There is a theory in political science that political leaders who have had a taste of war, or served in the armed forces during a conflict, never vie for war

Thus, veterans like Dwight Eisenhower and Kennedy tried their level best to avoid an outright war during their tenure

However, incumbents like Margaret Thatcher of the United Kingdom for example, who have an admiration for the military yet never participated in a war personally, adopt military belligerence as a tool of state policy

Trump is similar

He avoided the Vietnam draft and only had a quasi-military experience as a student in the New York Military Academy (analogous to a cadet college here in Pakistan)

He is enthralled by the pageantry of the military and the ‘glory’ of war, yet has never served, and poses himself as a strongman – thus political science dictates that he is a president most likely to start a war

However, Trump has to understand that starting a war is easy, but ending it is the hard part

Only time will tell how exactly Iran will respond and what the consequences of Trump’s brinkmanship will be

Date:10-Jan-2020 Reference:View Original Link