On Jan. 3, President Trump ordered a drone strike to eliminate Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. The United States’ population has become polarized by his death. A poll conducted by the Huffington Post showed an 83% approval rating among republicans in regard to the airstrike. The democrats, however, show much more disapproval. Specifically, some democratic candidates have been very vocal. Senator Bernie Sanders had said that he will do everything he can to prevent a war with Iran. US Representative Tulsi Gabbard has also argued that the airstrike on Soleimani is unconstitutional, and an obvious act of war. Despite where you find yourself on these issues, these recent developments in foreign affairs are cause for concern.
Something I found extraordinarily chilling was the words of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei after Soleimani’s death, “his [Soleimani] departure to God does not end his path or his mission, but a forceful revenge awaits the criminals who have his blood and the blood of the other martyrs last night on their hands.” While some say that this is a movement towards war, and others argue that nothing else could have been done — that these words are alarming.
According to BBC, this decision was made by President Trump to stop a potential war, not start one. However, it is widely believed that a wartime president is a popular one — George H.W. Bush and George Bush saw bumps in support and popularity in the 1991 Gulf War and in the September 11 attacks, respectively. With this school of thought as a theoretical paradigm, the killing of Soleimani could potentially assist Trump’s usher back into the oval office for the upcoming four years. Due to his recent impeachment, he may need this extra push to garner support. .
But it may also not be that deep of a decision, for it would be unfair of me to discredit why Qasem Soleimani was killed to begin with.
In Soleimani’s obituary, written by the New York Times, it is made clear that Soleimani had been deemed a terrorist by the United States Government in 2011 — nearly a decade. Additionally, tensions had been high with Iran after an attack on the United States embassy, located in Iran, just weeks ago. To make the thought of the “Third World War ” even more palpable, last week a Ukranian airliner was shot down by Iran. While Iran first blamed this catastrophe on human error, they have most recently claimed it was a devastating mechanical issue. I do not have the authority to deem whether or not this was an actual accident, but it seems to be a cohesive action that is heightening the tension between the United States and Iran. All 176 passengers were killed, 57 of which were Canadians, according to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
While this is a very serious matter, with pros and cons to the measures taken, the public has begun hypothesizing what their own role will be in the war, if there will be one. Since the death of Soleimani, and the escalation of conflict in Iran, memes have been popping up insisting that the United States is going to be involved in the Third World War and that America’s able-bodied youth will be drafted to the front lines. While some of these memes are funny, it needs to be clarified how much truth there is to them: little to none. A very popular farce was circulated text messages supposedly drafting new recruits. However, the United States Army debunked them, via Twitter, saying the messages are not official Army communications.
The changes to come in the following year will be many, and these Iran conflicts are sure to be on the agenda when considering who you may want to be the next commander-in-chief. I think that if the United States does not go to war this year, it will undoubtedly be a hot-button topic for the next few years, with heavy consideration on whether action should be taken.
Candidates specifically running for the democratic nomination have staunchly opposed another war. As I have mentioned above, Sanders and Gabbard will stop at nothing to prevent another war if given the chance. I personally think that war is somewhat of a booming industry. Not necessarily in a monetary sense, but in an emotional sense. Times of war can seem bleak and hopeless, and the American population will want a fearless leader to steer their lives and liberties to safety. The American people are going to want someone who can keep them safe, and allow them to continue their daily humdrum without fear of it being ripped away. Whichever candidate can fill that position, will have a great shot at the nomination, and perhaps the big chair itself, as well.