From the Editors of Front Page Live
The country has spent the last few days reeling after President Trump ordered a surprise strike on one of Iran’s top military leaders—without the approval of Congress.
It is a decision that has many people wondering if the strike was simply a passing whim or actually intended as a “nifty distraction.”
Republican presidents have always had a penchant for “saber-rattling,” but with Trump, the motive likely hits a little closer to home. This particular president has shown his number one motivation is self-interest.
Trump’s Foreign Policy
While on the campaign trail, it was painfully obvious that Donald Trump had very little working knowledge of U.S. foreign policy. He fumbled and mumbled when asked pertinent questions. In fact, back then he knew nothing about the General he just assassinated:
Trump didn’t even know who General Soleimani was in 2015 pic.twitter.com/tgGi5Q0DvY
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) January 4, 2020
After being elected, his grasp of policy didn’t improve. It would seem that all of his decisions were made for his own personal benefit or to distract voters from something he needs swept under the rug.
When it comes to Iran, Truthout’s William Rivers Pitt summed up the “distraction” rationale nicely:
“This attack also serves as a nifty distraction from his looming impeachment trial in the Senate. I am waiting for the moment when Sen. Floopdoodle from Red State America storms the chamber and demands all impeachment proceedings be suspended so the commander-in-chief can focus on our glorious new war in Iran. Frankly, I’m astonished this hasn’t happened yet.”
If you examine a few of his other policy decisions, you will see numerous times that Trump has made rash decisions to distract the public from one of his many scandals.
-Ordering a raid on Yemen:
Just a few days after taking his seat in the Oval Office, Trump signed an executive order barring citizens from seven different Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the United States. The infamous “travel ban” was met with heated backlash.
Two days later, Trump orders a disastrous raid in Yemen which led to the death of 30 civilians and a Navy SEAL. No new intelligence was gained in the raid.
-Accusing President Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower:
In March of 2017, news broke that Trump’s then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions had met with a Russian Ambassador and had used Trump campaign funds to pay for plane travel in order to meet with diplomats from Russia.
-Pulling troops out of Syria and betraying our Kurdish allies
In early October, President Trump made the decision to pull troops out of Syria leaving the Kurdish forces high and dry. It was a plan that was widely condemned, and it led to the death of many civilians as well as the escape of ISIS fighters. Trump’s decision to abandon the Kurds “was a major shift in policy.”
-Military strike on Soleimani
Ring in the new decade and Trump has suddenly decided to launch an operation to assassinate Soleimani. The Iranian general had long been a prominent figure in the region with a history of leading violent campaigns. Yet, neither President Bush nor President Obama moved against him.
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), a former CIA analyst and Pentagon official on Middle East issues under both Bush and Obama, explains why both former leaders chose to stay their hands:
“What always kept both Democratic and Republican presidents from targeting Soleimani himself was the simple question: Was the strike worth the likely retaliation, and the potential to pull us into protracted conflict?”
“The two administrations I worked for both determined that the ultimate ends didn’t justify the means.”
So, why did Trump decide to green-light the hit? Well, it could be because his poll numbers are dismal and he hopes to whip up some “wartime fever.” It’s a plausible motive, especially since it is something that he accused Obama of doing. Repeatedly. Projection like that is kind of Trump’s thing…
Plus, history has shown that presidents, specifically Republican ones, have received bumps in their approval ratings when they show an aggressive stance in foreign relations—George H.W. Bush received a three-minute standing ovation in Congress after he launched Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
Those results tend to only be temporary though, and election day is still a long way away.
It is far more likely that this attack is another distraction. The ink is barely dry on the Articles of Impeachment, and more evidence against him seems to come to light every single day.
The President likes to boast about getting elected “on bringing our soldiers back home.” The fact that he explicitly campaigned on the idea that he would get the U.S. out of the “endless” Middle East wars just further proves the point:
Trump is attempting to start a war to distract from his impeachment.
So what if Trump wants war, knows this leads to war and needs the distraction?
Real question is, will those with congressional authority step in and stop him? I know I will. https://t.co/Fj9TMossEW
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) January 3, 2020