Iran, Trump, and Executive Power
Buenos Aires / January 3, 2020
Last night, the United States assassinated Major General Qassim Suleimani in Baghdad. He was the famed leader of Iran's Quds Force. Suleimani was responsible for causing significant havoc in the Middle East, but neither Presidents George W. Bush or Barack Obama ever attempted to assassinate him. Both had opportunities, but reasoned that an assassination would be a signficant provocation that could trigger a broader war.
Reflect for a moment on the change in diplomatic relations between the US and Iran since Donald Trump became the President. Under Obama, the United States, Iran, and several nations negotiated a deal that reduced the risk of nuclear war. The deal was complicated and there were weaknesses. But it created a path towards peaceful relations and materially reduced the chances of nuclear proliferation.
The merits of the strike on Suleimani are complicated. It is important to point out that no leader in the US Congress was consulted before the airstrike. The Executive Branch increasingly dictates the nation's priorities on war and Congress is just a bystander.