The brazen killing of Iran’s second most important leader, General Qassem Soleimani, a revolutionary freedom fighter with enough personal charm and charisma to be worshiped as a folk hero, and considered as a presidential candidate, was not the smoothest move that the United States could have made in foreign policy. But then, we have a person in power who has not the slightest clue about diplomacy. Diplomacy is about a step by step approach, a loosening of boundaries and gradual widening of parameters — but not to Donald Trump. He lacks the intellect and life experience to conceive of solving anything in other than a disruptive, turn the table over, kind of fashion. Well, he’s certainly done so now. There is no way that Iran can or will sit by quietly in the face of this level of insult and the entire world is watching and waiting for the other shoe to drop. Der Spiegel:
Soleimani was considered to be the second-most powerful man in Iran and his assassination is nothing short of a declaration of war. At almost the exact same time, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un threatened to carry out new nuclear weapons tests. Two crises that Trump had promised to contain have now become more acute and threatening than they had been for some time.
The killing of Soleimani is the epitome of Trump’s capriciousness. The ploy of unexpectedly changing directions, of making threats and surprise attacks has not managed to extricate the U.S. from the Iraq-Iran-Syria quagmire. Washington has continued to be dragged into conflicts in the Middle East. Ever since the U.S., under Trump’s leadership, backed out of the nuclear deal with Iran, Tehran has changed course. It has responded to the Trump administration’s strategy of “maximum pressure” with provocations, for example by attacking American facilities in the Middle East. The Iranian regime had hoped the approach might force the Trump administration back to the negotiating table. […]
That [war with Iran] is the greatest danger currently facing the world, but it isn’t the only potentially dangerous consequence of Trump’s instinctual foreign policy. North Korea’s Kim Jong Un also remains unpredictable. For a brief moment, it looked as though he might respond positively to Trump’s personal approaches and scale back his nuclear program in exchange for economic concessions. Since his bellicose New Year’s address, however, in which he directly threatened America, it has become clearer than ever that the Bomb is more important to Kim than economic relations with the U.S.
Trump has no respect for experts. The derailment of the State Department and diplomacy has been going on since day one of this misadministration. Rex Tillerson gutted the State Department and under Mike Pompeo things are no better. This has resulted in internal problems, where diplomats and career professionals like Marie Yovanovich have felt the lack of support that they previously were able to take for granted, but it goes far beyond that. The ignorance of this administration is known world wide. America has lost all credibility as a world power under Trump and that’s the long and the short of it.
Trump is beyond the bull in the china shop, he’s a bull in a china shop on roller skates and the roller skates are rocket powered.
Trump’s failure holds a lesson both for the U.S. government and for the Europeans: Namely that blatant pugnacity may be appropriate for political campaigns, but it has no place in diplomacy. Foreign policy is both arduous and dangerous. It requires endurance, humility and a willingness to compromise.
The bottom line here is that all Trump can do is campaign. He cannot govern. He lacks the training and the temperament and the experience. He’s a snake oil pitchman, nothing more. And now his ignorance and hubris may trigger a war. Yesterday’s events are going to reverberate and be with us for quite some time to come, possibly decades.
Trump lives in his bubble world and he has no concept of even American culture, beyond his uber wealthy associates and television, let alone a sense of foreign cultures or of how the dots connect in the world of international diplomacy. Friday, the very stable genius made a brief statement in Palm Beach, where he defended his unwise and inflammatory action as a defensive one that “should have been done long ago,” always a key Trump talking point.
— ABC News (@ABC) January 3, 2020
He’s actually talking about “lives that could have been saved” and has no concept of the lives that are about to be lost. Iran will not take this lying down. They’ve said as much. Trump took his shot. Now I hope he’s ready for the return punch. The problem is, are we?