by Harrison Shepard Sutton
In a presidential term riddled with conflicts with the left-wing of American politics and the media, Donald Trump has taken potentially the biggest risk of his time in office by choosing to launch an airstrike on one of the most powerful generals in the Iranian military, Qassem Soleimani. The tension between the Iranian and American governments has started to boil over, and this controversy has diffused through pop-culture as the internet fills itself with jokes about getting drafted and World War III memes.
According to CNN, Donald Trump and a group of his most important advisers discussed what to do with Soleimani in a makeshift discussion room at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s resort in Palm Beach, Florida, on January 3, 2020. The meeting concluded with the decision to kill the general via a drone strike in Baghdad that instantly caused chaos in the relationship between Iran and America. The Iranian government stated that it will suspend compliance to the agreement of the 2015 nuclear deal and in response, Trump tweeted on January 4, 2020, that the US has 52 sites that they would target if Iran retaliates. It was later revealed that multiple of those 52 sites were ancient historical sites or religious places and that destroying them would be war crimes.
The two countries have cut ties with each other as a result of the strike. A senior Iranian commander announced at Soleimani’s funeral that America’s supporters in the area would be “set ablaze,” while another eulogist declared that Donald Trump should be assassinated and put an $80,000,000 bounty on the president’s head.
Seemingly akin to every single other American political action that has taken place in recent times, the decision to kill Soleimani has been incredibly contentious in America. In general, the right side of the political spectrum defends Trump’s decision and believes that the strike was necessary, while the left is criticizing the move and fears for the possible repercussions of nuclear warfare with Iran.
Another development in the controversy took place five days after the strike on January 8, 2020, when Iran mistakenly shot down a Ukranian plane just minutes after it had taken off from Tehran. The plane was apparently caught in the crossfire of an Iranian missile strike targeting military bases in Iraq that harbored American soldiers. The plane’s engine caught fire and exploded before reaching land, taking the lives of everyone on the flight, including 57 Canadians passengers. The Canadian fatalities caused further unrest as the Canadian government became unhappy that the conflict between the USA and Iran has devastatingly affected its people.
The future of Iran and the USA’s relationship is cloudy, but the recent occurrences are all pointing towards the grim reality of warfare.