‘At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani’
This is an incredibly bold move that shows that Trump’s red line against harming Americans was very real. The conventional wisdom that Trump is just a Twitter tiger, which was driving news and analysis as of a couple of hours ago, is now emphatically OTBE.
Soleimani is commonly called a terrorist, obviously true enough, but not only that — he was a major figure in the Iranian regime, a key strategist with unique skills who led the Iranian imperial project in the Middle East. He was also a cold-blooded killer of Americans who deserved to die. His assassination has to be a staggering blow to the regime, which will feel compelled to respond.
Trump now may well face the first true foreign-policy crisis of his presidency, although we can, assuming the will, hit the Iranians back harder whatever their next move is (challenging us more forthrightly in Iraq would seem an obvious possibility). Let’s hope we are prepared for whatever comes next, and congratulate all involved in this successful operation to rid the world of a cunning and ruthless killer.