President’s actions further disturb the Middle East

Christmas break is supposed to be a time of relaxation, peace, and love for all of mankind. However, in the realm of politics, the exact opposite happened. I will say, as a political writer, there was no shortage of political events that happened. With the impeachment of the president, attacks in Iraq, and the trial in the senate, it was difficult to come to a decision on what to write about. But I felt compelled to write about the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani of Iran. This one act by the United States created a full international incident, and has added fuel to what is already a very tense relationship between the United States and the Middle East. President Trump’s actions not only violate international law of Territorial integrity, but also made a hostile action against a foreign power that could result in a war.

Territorial integrity is defined by Oxford Public International law as “the territorial ‘oneness’ or ‘wholeness’ of the State. As a norm of international law, it protects the territorial framework of the independent State and is an essential foundation of the sovereignty of States.” This means that acts to attempt to destabilize a region by a foreign power go against UN Charter chapter 1, article 2, subsection 4 “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” The actions that the president took to assassinate a foreign military leader dealt a crippling blow to the infrastructure of Iranian Military leadership. The argument that Soleimani was “ a terrorist” and “plotting against the United States” has very little evidence in which to stand. Both previous presidents Obama and Bush had the opportunity to eliminate Soleimani, but passed upon the opportunity willingly. The fact that two previous presidents did not attempt to assassinate a high ranking Iranian general shows the influence and power the Soleimani had in the area. By killing him, the United States has added to the destabilization of a volatile area, going against the UN Charter that it helped create.

The assassination of a foreign official has the ability to potentially cause a war with the Middle East. On June 28th 1914, Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated. This violent action was the spark that started the First World War. History has proven that the elimination of powerful officials causes far more problems than it solves. Another example is the assassination of Juvénal Habyarimana, the Rwandan president before the Rwandan genocide. Habyarimana’s death is often attributed to starting both the Rwandan genocide, and the First Congo War. Whether or not there will be a physical altercation between the United States and Iran remains to be seen. Both sides are towing the line, with the most recent attack on military bases in Iraq adding fuel to the flames. However, I do not expect Iran to make a declaration of war against the United States. While Iran is revamping their nuclear program, they do not have the technological advancements in nuclear armament or the military infrastructure to combat the military force of the United States. However, I would not be surprised if a proxy war between the two countries begins. Oxford Dictionary defines a proxy war as “a war instigated by a major power which does not itself become involved.” What this may look like in the current series of events could be the United States attempting to rally allies into tariffs and embargoes against Iran, or Iran attempting to seize control of valuable commodities such as oil in neighboring countries Kuwait and Qatar. Despite the president mobilizing troops to the Middle East, I believe that it is unlikely for the United States to go to war. 

The actions of the current president have put the lives and values of the United States under threat. The United States foreign policy has long lauded the country for being the “world’s police force”. However, to go and eliminate a foriegn leader goes against that very idea. The United States holds up the value of justice, but this action was not justice. It is time that the people of the United States truly consider whether the president should continue to lead the country.

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2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    I bet you weren’t complaining when Obama and Hillary had us bogged down in the middle east. Hypocrite.

    1. Avatar
      Author

      Hello Maddie,
      Thank you for taking the time to articulate a comment that you had. I appreciate you taking time to read my article. However, I felt your comment needed a response. Certainly, there were certain aspects of President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton’s approach on foreign affairs in the Middle East that I disagreed with. However, by in large, I was actually quite pleased with President Obama’s response. Yes, we should have withdrawn troops sooner, but I applauded the president on the Iran Nuclear Agreement as a hallmark event in strengthening relationships with Iran. The main difference between President Obama and President Trump is that President Trump took an aggressive action to eliminate what he perceived as an enemy. Even if we claim him to be an enemy of the United States, simply eliminating General Soliemani without prior warning or reason invalidates any other claim. Unlike Osama Bin Laden, who was the leader of a renegade terrorist organization with no valid territorial or governmental power, Soliemani was a public official in Iran. It would be the same equivalent in the United States if Secretary of Defense Bolton was assassinated. What we did violated international law, by taking action in a foreign country to kill someone.
      Hopefully that clears up some of my thoughts. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions!
      All my best,

      Josh Fuller, ’20
      Vocal Music Education
      Concordian Opinion Editor
      Concordia College, Moorhead, MN

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