The Trump administration’s decision to kill Qassam Soleimani is the latest in an escalatory “maximum pressure” Iran strategy that is shifting American foreign policy attention and resources back toward the Middle East. That’s a problem.
Nothing for a global superpower occurs in isolation. Killing the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, while morally justifiable and emotionally satisfying to us, given his role in killing Americans, has dropped a 2,000-lb bomb into the administration’s foreign policy priorities — and the blast could hurt America’s readiness to deal with greater threats.
The Trump administration believes that the primary challenges to U.S. security and prosperity are competition and potential conflict with China and Russia. The White House’s 2018 National Security Strategy and the Pentagon’s supporting 2018 National Defense Strategy stress this and declare an intention to shift the U.S. military away from the Middle East. Reasonable people might disagree as to the president’s personal commitment to the particulars of these strategies, but he has been consistent about expressing his desire to end “forever wars” and pushing back harder against China.
Read the full article in Defense One.
More from CNAS
Commentary9/11 swallowed U.S. foreign policy. Don’t let the coronavirus do the same thing.
For two decades, American foreign policy has been shaped by the 9/11 attacks. The catastrophic wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our failure to see the full threat posed by Russia...
By Ilan Goldenberg
CommentaryBig Ideas for NATO’s New Mission in Iraq
Following U.S. President Donald Trump’s calls for America’s allies to “get more involved in the Middle East,” NATO defense ministers last month agreed to “enhance” the Atlanti...
By David H. Petraeus & Vance Serchuk
CommentaryThe Iranian Missile Strike Did Far More Damage Than Trump Admits
Over 100 American soldiers have been treated for traumatic brain injuries following Iran’s missile strike on Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq. The strike came in retaliation f...
By Loren DeJonge Schulman & Paul Scharre
PodcastGrappling With the Costs of Combat
Kayla Williams joins Ilan Goldenberg to discuss her time serving as an Arabic linguist in the U.S. Army and the human costs of armed conflict....
By Ilan Goldenberg & Kayla M. Williams