By Matt Purple | 9 January 2020
THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE — Sunny skies over the Middle East this week. Donald Trump’s killing of Qassem Soleimani has prompted the Iranians to announce that they’ll no longer abide by the curtailments on their nuclear program imposed under the agreement they negotiated with the West in 2015. That isn’t the end of the nuclear deal but it has deflated it significantly. Meanwhile, much of Iran, not just the accursed clerics, are out to mourn Soleimani’s death and demand revenge. Iranian forces have since fired missiles at American military bases in Iraq, while Trump has responded with a 420583013853rd round of sanctions.
Don’t worry though, America’s foreign policy hawks assure us, all is well. Soleimani’s assassination was worth it, they say, because now Iran understands there will be consequences for its misdeeds. Their militias attacked our embassy, and because they’ve paid a steep price, they’ll be less likely to come after us in the future. But when has it ever worked out that way? When Ronald Reagan bombed Libya in 1986 following a terrorist attack at a West Berlin discotheque that killed an American, Moammar Gaddafi didn’t back down; he remained a maestro of terrorism and two years later was fingered for the destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland. When the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, Iran didn’t cower; it sent fighters across the border to attack American troops and carved out significant influence for itself among Iraqi Shias.
Over and over again, we assume these pyrotechnic messages will intimidate the bad guys, and over and over again, the bad guys hit us right back. No, the only guarantee after Soleimani’s death is that the very Iranian aggression hawks claim to deplore will continue. Iran has lost a leader with a wide political and cultural footprint, one who was viewed by many as a guardian angel against ISIS; they had no choice but to retaliate. They certainly aren’t about to signal weakness by setting Hezbollah adrift or surrendering their influence in Bahrain or pulling out of Iraq. […]