WAR with Iran has been creeping closer ever since Donald Trump took office.
The US President was elected to get America out of wars in the Middle East. But even before the assassination of the Ayatollah’s favourite general, Washington and Tehran were goading each other.
Now war seems unavoidable. Cynics say Trump is trying to distract attention from his looming impeachment trial and remind us 2020 is also an election year.
Trump voters are not pacifists but they turned against involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq as it was getting nowhere.
The president will need to show he has a strategy for the US to deal with Iran quickly and at low cost
– at least to Americans.
Iran has many chances to embarrass Trump before November’s presidential election.
That’s why we must hope that when the Pentagon called General, Qassem Soleimani, a “target of opportunity” it did not mean Trump gave the go-ahead impulsively.
The US president can seem unpredictable. That is a strength if
he keeps America’s enemies guessing. But if he hasn’t considered what could happen after striking such a heavy blow, Iran could take the US by surprise.
Trump has always had Iran in his sights. He scrapped the nuclear deal made by President Obama to stop Iran getting atomic weapons. Trump argued that Iran had used relief from economic
sanctions to fund the wars across the Middle East which Soleimani led. Crippling Iran’s economy was supposed to bring it to heel.
That did not seem to affect Soleimani’s Al Quds force.
America is already deploying extra troops in the Middle East to protect embassies and assets there, but it will need that and more to fend off Iranian revenge.
As if keeping Tehran hemmed in wasn’t enough for Washington, other awkward customers could take the opportunity for mischief while Trump concentrates on Iran.
But the biggest worry for Trump after the risk of terrorist attack is whether Iran will now go all out
to get the Bomb.