The Soleimani Assassination Could Have Dangerous Ripples Around the World
Published in The Washington Post
The assassination of Iranian Quds Force mastermind Qasem Soleimani is justifiably leading to fears of war with Iran. The Trump administration should be wary: That prospect could tempt other global adversaries to test our resolve elsewhere while the administration’s attention is focused on the Middle East.
The United States is a global superpower with global interests. Our decades-long simmering conflict with Iran is important to our standing and security but not necessarily any more so than our rivalries with China and Russia or our standoff over North Korea’s nuclear program. It would not be in our interests to overlook provocations in these areas, even if tensions with Iran escalate. But it could be in those nations’ interests to test the United States’ resolve and capacity to deal with multiple foreign crises simultaneously.
Take North Korea for example. Just two days ago, its leader, leader Kim Jong Un, said he would soon unveil a “new strategic weapon” and signaled a tougher stance toward the United States. What if he decides to do this now, or in coordination with an Iranian response to Solemani’s assassination? Is the United States prepared to address two threats to its core interests at the same time?
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Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.