solana113_JIM WATSONAFP via Getty Images_trump iran Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Trump’s Iranian Precipice

Under President Donald Trump, the United States has no clear objectives regarding Iran, and hence no clearly defined strategy. In the Middle East, the US should have learned by now, that is a recipe for disaster.

MADRID – The new year began with yet another senseless foreign-policy decision by US President Donald Trump. The assassination of General Qassem Suleimani, who led the extraterritorial operations of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, was a reckless, provocative, and shortsighted move. Suleimani no doubt had an extremely pernicious influence in the Middle East. But he also was the leader of an armed branch of the Iranian state and enjoyed obvious personal popularity in his country, no matter how much Trump pretends otherwise.

Once again, the United States has acted excessively and set a dangerous precedent that its adversaries could use as an excuse to carry out similar operations. After the attack on Suleimani, Trump went so far as to threaten Iran repeatedly with the destruction of some of the country’s precious cultural sites, which would constitute a war crime. Although Trump seems to have reconsidered, his chronic impetuosity only highlights the lack of proper planning. The assassination of Suleimani was a sensationalist move, probably intended mainly for domestic consumption. Yet, in the long term, will it be effective?

Obviously, the answer will depend on Trump’s objectives vis-à-vis Iran. His administration has argued that the president’s drastic intervention will have a deterrent effect on the Iranian regime, to which Suleimani was an absolutely indispensable asset.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

or

Register for FREE to access two premium articles per month.

Register

https://prosyn.org/ugOQwCP