One of the most common opinions circulating around the Alt-Media Community after Major General Soleimani’s assassination is that Trump is provoking a war with Iran in order to help win re-election, but this isn’t the case since he first of all doesn’t believe that he’s provoking anything (irrespective of his military’s actions), and secondly, the immediate costs of such a conflict could actually capsize his re-election bid.
Trump never made any secret of his hatred for the Iranian government so it’s easy for many observers to agree with the common opinion circulating around the Alt-Media Community after Major General Soleimani’s assassination that the President is provoking a war with Iran in order to help win re-election. This is the wrong assessment to make since the US military that’s most directly shaping the course of events doesn’t believe that it’s provoking anything (irrespective of objective fact), hence Trump doesn’t think so either. The Pentagon exudes the ideology of American Exceptionalism and is convinced that it has the right to use all means possible to remove Iran and its allied militias (including the PMU’s Kataib Hezbollah that’s integrated into the Iraqi Armed Forces) from Iraq in the interests of “national security”, to which end it and its “Israeli” ally have bombed these units several times over the past month. It doesn’t matter whether this is the “right” or “wrong” policy to have, but simply that it exists and is how such actions are understood by American decision makers.
Given that the US believes that it has the “right” to carry out such attacks, it therefore perceived the PMU’s subsequent large-scale protests outside of its Iraqi Embassy to pose an imminent threat to its citizens inside the world’s largest diplomatic facility. Since Kataib Hezbollah and the rest of the PMU more broadly have excellent working relations with Iran’s IRGC, it was extremely easy for the US to spin the narrative that there “must” have been a “hidden Iranian hand” behind that high-profile incident, which immediately called to mind Obama’s Benghazi moment and thus compelled Trump to respond in the complete opposite way as his predecessor by doubling down on the US’ military units there and proudly boasting that this is his “anti-Benghazi” moment. Making matters worse from the American perspective (which is simply to explain their thought process and not excuse it), the Ayatollah taunted Trump by saying that he “can’t do anything” in response to the President promising that “Iran will be held fully responsible” and “pay a very BIG PRICE” if Americans are killed.
Maj. Gen. Soleimani was certainly already on the US’ “decapitation strike” kill list even before the embassy siege, but that comment might have been the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back and convinced Trump that he needed to assassinate the brilliant anti-terrorist tactician in order to prove the point that he will not tolerate being “talked down to” by his foe. It might sound petty to some and scary to others, but Trump takes his “twitter beef” real seriously, so much so that he just proved that he’s willing to kill in order to defend his international reputation after being publicly mocked. Iran totally miscalculated Trump’s response to the PMU’s embassy siege and the Ayatollah’s taunt, but it must be said that the President wouldn’t have climbed the escalation ladder as brazenly as he did had Iran not abandoned its “nuclear ambiguity” after the 2015 Rouhani-Obama deal. It was ironically because of his predecessor that Trump figured that the maximum costs that Iran could inflict on the US in response to that assassination could be “manageable”/”acceptable”.
As the author wrote in his earlier piece on the topic about how “Major General Soleimani’s Assassination Isn’t Going To Start World War III“, the US could utterly destroy every single one of Iran’s fixed assets (be they bases, cities, or whatever else) if Trump had the political will to do so in “responding” to any conventional tit-for-tat by the Islamic Republic, whether done so “preemptively” because of supposed “intelligence” that it was preparing a missile strike for example or “retaliatory” in the unlikely event that the aforesaid actually occurs. Iran can therefore only respond asymmetrically lest it wants to commit national suicide, which Trump would be more than happy to assist it with if it comes to that. He doesn’t want to do that, but would believe that he has “no choice” should Iran launch a missile salvo against his country’s regional bases, the GCC’s, and/or “Israel’s”. The military costs of such an unprecedented “punishment” against Iran are manageable because the Islamic Republic doesn’t have nuclear weapons, but the short-term political ones could cost Trump his re-election bid.
There’s no doubt that the aforementioned scenario would result in the deaths of countless people, which Trump would surely be blamed for, including the loss of American and especially “Israeli” lives. The short- and medium-term regional chaos that the collapse of the Islamic Republic would generate in the humanitarian, geopolitical, and economic senses would create such uncertainty across the world that the Democrats might easily be able to portray him as even more “evil” than they already make him out to be and thus scare Americans into not voting for him a second time. The US itself wouldn’t be too directly affected since it’s already pretty much energy self-sufficient as it is so possible disruptions in the Strait of Hormuz won’t affect it, though they could cripple the Chinese economy depending on how long they occur. America is therefore relatively “insulated” from the consequences that could transpire in the “worst-case scenario”, though Trump would probably be sacrificing his political future if he went through with that course of events.
The state of affairs is therefore more complex than it might appear at first glance. Trump doesn’t want to start a war with Iran because it could greatly jeopardize his re-election prospects, though he won’t back down if Iran responds conventionally, and he also won’t shy away from ordering more “decapitation strikes” if he can claim that any of its asymmetrical responses were somehow supposedly linked to the country (regardless of where they were allegedly organized). Iran, though, cannot let this assassination go unanswered, so there’s sure to be an escalation of some sort in the coming future. If events quickly climb the escalation ladder, then both Iran and possibly even Trump himself might end up the losers, with only the Democrats and the US’ military-industrial complex cynically emerging as the “winners” (since “Israel” might be wiped out by Iran before the Islamic Republic is destroyed). In hindsight, this makes one wonder who ordered Iran’s militant removal from Iraq in the first place and whether it was a “deep state” plot to entrap Trump by provoking this very scenario.
Trump is wholly responsible for his own actions, but he — just like the Ayatollah — is being pushed in a direction where it’s impossible to back down and still “save face”. Neither men can afford to do so, which makes it likely that a lot more people than just Maj. Gen. Soleimani might be about to die. To remind the reader once more, however, none of this would be happening had Iran not abandoned its “nuclear ambiguity” by agreeing to the 2015 Rouhani-Obama deal, with that event in hindsight being the tripwire that provoked the American military into wantonly escalating tensions with Iran (despite believing that they’re doing so in “self-defense) because they realized that the maximum costs that the Islamic Republic could inflict on it in response to their actions could be “manageable”. The lesson to be learned from all of this is that the possession of nuclear weapons safeguards a country’s sovereignty by enabling it to inflict “unmanageable”/”unacceptable” costs on its foes and thus deter their aggression, failing which leaders on both sides can be manipulated into a serious crisis.
By Andrew Korybko
Source: One World