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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/3/20

Trump Transactionalism Writ Large: The Soleimani Assassination and the Letter "U"

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"Either this nation shall kill racism, or racism shall kill this nation." (S. Jonas, August, 2018)


"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President . . . is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or anyone else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about anyone else."

Theodore Roosevelt, Editorial in The Kansas City Star May 7, 1918


In brief, after an analysis of the all the information publicly available at the present time, and a review of all the indications that it was (to say the least)) apparently done with no planning, no foresight, and no consideration of all the possible negative outcomes, given by a wide variety of authorities through the media to date (other than his "Trump-can-do-no-wrong" allies), it seems that the assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Commander of the Iranian Quds Force, was ordered by President Trump for just one reason. A word that begins with the letter "U." To which we shall come at the end of this missive.

"Assassination" is a word believed to be derived from Arabic that means "poltical murder." Now Trump may think that the Iranians speak Arabic. For after all, in an interview with Hugh Hewitt (no lefty he) in 2015, after he had declared for the Presidency, Trump did not know the difference between "Quds" (as in the Iranian Quds Force) and "Kurds." Then when Hewitt pressed him a bit, Trump went on the attack against Hewitt for trying to "run a quiz show." (Hewitt has since become a strong Trump supporter.) Trump may also not know (randomly) that Iran is not an Arab country; that they have a language of their own, Farsi; that they have a history of civilized settlements going back over 8000 years; that they had a revolution in 1952 that among other things nationalized what is now British Petroleum that was overthrown by the CIA under the leadership of Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. (a grandson of Teddy's); and that when the U.S. first invaded Afghanistan following the 9/11 Disaster, Iran offered to help control the Taliban in Western Afghanistan but was turned down by Pres. G.W. Bush.

.Iran wants war..  Couldn't have said it better myself!
.Iran wants war.. Couldn't have said it better myself!
(Image by leighblackall)
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Giving his likely lack of Iran-specific historical knowledge, and his likely very poor grasp of what is actually going on the Middle East since, to fulfill one of his many random, not-thought-through, anti-Obama-policy political promises, he walked out of the Iran Nuclear Deal, he likely knows nothing about what might, and very likely will, happen if Soleimani were to be assassinated. After all, this is an action contemplated under several U.S. administrations but never carried out, because of the potential for dire consequences arising from it.

So why did he order it? (We are leaving aside here all the Constitutional implications of essentially declaring war not only without consulting Congress, but without even offering any cover than "I think that it is the right thing to do." Which of course fits right into Trump's dictatorial approach to Presidential power: "I can do anything I want to.") There has been much speculation in the media and among his poltical supporters: Soleimani is a very bad man who needed to be dealt with, finally; Soleimani has killed many Americans; Soleimani ordered the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad; Soleimani is indispensable to the Iranian military and government (BTW, a successor was appointed within about 12 hrs.; presumably the Iranian leadership, including Soleimani himself, given his visibility and the "evil man" label given to him by the U.S., has likely been preparing for this possibility for quite some time); and so on and so forth.

Really? Well, if it were for any of these reasons, particularly when the likely outcomes are taken into account, there would have been some long-range (or at least short-range) planning done at the Pentagon and the State Department to begin with to deal with the predictable fall-out. But the was apparently none, and apparently a whole bunch of senior officials were taken entirely by surprise. Of course, there is no long-term strategy for dealing with Iran other than John Bolton's "regime change" which seems further away now than it ever was, since he is out of the government.

Furthermore, this assassination has, by all accounts thoroughly unified an Iranian polity that was beginning to show some cracks, especially under the U.S. sanctions-regime which is hitting the Iranian economy and standard of living very hard. It is apparently already unifying the U.S. Western allies --- against the Trump/U.S. more than it already as been. The Russians and the Chinese are not going to take this very lightly, either. (Putin must also be wondering if his control over Trump is starting to fail. The attack came just after Iran, Russia and China ran a joint military exercise in the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean.)

OK. So, no real understanding by Trump of what is really going on in Iran and Iraq for starters. No long-range strategy for dealing with Iran in light of the U.S.'s unilateral abandonment of the Nuclear Deal. No achievable goals for peace in the region. No plans for war either, apparently. No close allies for this latest provocation. So why, and why now?

Well, as it has turned out, not so easy. But certainly easier than any kind of war with Iran.
Well, as it has turned out, not so easy. But certainly easier than any kind of war with Iran.
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I have come to the conclusion that Transactional Trump did this for just one reason. It happens to have nothing to do with Iran, Iraq, the rest of the Middle East, Israel, and the U.S. European allies. As noted above, it all comes down to one word, that begins with the letter "U." Ukraine of course. If Trump is the master of anything beyond his constant strategy/tactic of "Always attack; Never defend," it is his mastery of his own WMD: Weapons of Mass Distraction. On Dec. 29, 2019, came out The New York Times report on what really happened behind the Ukraine Extortion Plot, supported by numerous unredacted emails made available under a FOIA request that the Administration could not block (for some reason or another) and that it was really that, a plot led by no one other than Trump, with tons of now un-redacted email content.

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 35 books. In addition to his position on OpEdNews as a "Trusted Author," he is a Senior Editor, (more...)
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