Conflict with Iran Could Be Inevitable after Killing of General

U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly insisted he does not want war with Iran. Now, with the killing of General Qassem Soleimani, that conflict could be inevitable. It is the price for instinctual foreign policy devoid of experts.

by Maximilian Popp

He wanted to do everything differently, using deals instead of alliances, pressure instead of strategy. Even among Donald Trump’s critics, there were many who long thought it might be a bad way to approach foreign policy. After all, preceding U.S. presidents had all struggled for years to find solutions to the same set of apparently insoluble crises: Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea.

Donald Trump made a complete break with traditional U.S. foreign policy. He got rid of the experts in the State Department and discarded the tools of diplomacy –negotiations, trade-offs and the weighing of interests. The guiding principle was “disruption.” Trump claimed that he could solve conflicts purely with his charisma and his imagination. After all, didn’t the tech companies in Silicon Valley likewise remodel the world with their innovations?

Now, though, the failure of Trump’s approach has become obvious to all. Disruption might be a model appropriate for Google and Facebook, but not for global politics.

On Tuesday, Shiite militiamen attacked the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, likely at the behest of Iran, and the ambassador had to be evacuated along with embassy staff. On Thursday night, the U.S. responded by killing the commander of the Iranian Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, in a missile strike in Baghdad. 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.

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