Bad news for the world, good news for the President

Xavier Golden, Columnist

Over a week ago, the United States killed General Qasem Soleimani of Iran’s Quds Force. Shortly afterward, Iran vowed to retaliate. The President, in response, threatened to attack over 50 Iranian targets. 

Iran later launched a missile strike against U.S. bases in Iraq, although officials reported that there were no casualties. The President announced that the U.S. would not respond militarily, but instead impose harsh economic sanctions. Tensions appear to be deescalating. 

I’m not a fan of the President, so know that when I say this, I’m not saying it with any pleasure or peace of mind: This entire debacle has been a significant victory for the current administration. 

In the weeks before the killing of Soleimani, the discourse was mostly focused on the impeachment, and potential removal, of the President. The House approved the articles, which charged the President with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, and he went down in history as the third U.S. president ever to be impeached. 

The response was, obviously, mixed — with conservative media dismissing the House’s vote as a sham and liberal media describing the impeachment in more favorable terms — but however you spun it, the President was getting some real bad press. 

That is until the President, without consulting Congress, blew up a foreign leader with a missile and claimed that doing so had stopped an imminent attack on Americans (The validity of that claim has been called into question). Republican and Democratic officials agreed that Soleimani was more or less worthy of killing, a sentiment that the media reiterated, with little skepticism or caution. 

The President got away with it. He even got some ringing endorsements from both sides of the aisle. And, more importantly, people haven’t been talking about impeachment for weeks. The President is now in a better place — publicity-wise — than he was a month ago. This scares me, and not just because I don’t want Trump re-elected. 

There’s a comic from the ’80s which heavily features Ronald Reagan as the acting President of the United States. Reagan routinely utilizes Superman as a weapon of war to antagonize the Russians. Eventually, Russia decides that it’s had enough, and fires a nuclear missile at the U.S. 

“Well,” Reagan says from the security of his secret moon bunker, “It looks like those Soviets are pretty bad losers.” Don’t worry, Superman catches the missile before it reaches its target and saves the day, but that’s not the point. 

The U.S. executed a highly important foreign official and right now, it looks like we’ll get away with it. That’s a lesson the leaders of our country are going to take to heart; little has deterred the President, or a future president, to take similar — or potentially grander — actions. I’m not a history major, but I do know this: if we think it can get away with something, we’re going to do it. 

In the wake of the Soleimani killing, we’ve learned that there might not be anything to keep the U.S. from poking the bear over and over and over again until a nuclear missile shows up at our doorstep. And when that time comes, we won’t have Superman to save us.