As far as political strategies go, assassination is not exactly unheard of. Typically, however, these political power moves happen inside the borders of a country, usually it is more of a domestic affair. With the recent events regarding Qasem Soleimani, the moral implications of one sovereign power interfering with the politics of another are being called into question once again, and it does seem fair in this case.
Assassination is a practice that dates back to the earliest governments and tribes of the world. It involves the killing of an opponent or political rival in an effort to gain power or influence.
This practice became much more common moving forward in time, becoming especially prevalent with the Cold War and moving into the present day. A likely explanation for this is the increasing ability for people to both justify and finance such killings.
An example of such acts carried out by the U.S. were the numerous attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro, the late prime minister of Cuba, back in the Cold War era when the fear of communism was at an all-time high.
One of the more recent examples was Osama Bin-Laden, who was killed in 2011 by a United States SEAL team under Operation Neptune Spear.
These same fears now exist with Islam and the Muslims who practice it. Since the attacks on 9/11 in 2001, anti-Muslim feelings, even distrust of anyone from the Middle East, have perpetrated the United States as a whole.
Qasem Soleimani was an Iranian Major General who was killed in a drone strike ordered by President Trump on January 3, 2020. The general had been a target of the U.S. for a while, mainly for his political and military power. He was widely considered “the single most powerful operative in the Middle East,” said former CIA officer John Maguire.
The United States and Iran have no small history of fighting either. The two nations have been in conflict for upwards of 40 years, back to the Iranian revolution against the Shah, essentially a monarch.
A drone strike ordered and carried out by the U.S. was exactly what the conflict needed to escalate even further. While still not what many are calling “World War III,” the threat of a full war with Iran is imminent.
In the case of Soleimani, I can not see a reason why he absolutely needed to die, although leaving him alive was probably a bad idea in the long term.
It is a very fine line to walk, taking someone else’s life. Of course, the one that everyone will bring up would be Adolf Hitler. I feel confident in saying that no one, on either side of this argument, would enjoy keeping him alive, albeit his death was not by assassination.
It is very much a situational tactic, and in this case, it worked. Soleimani was, for all intents and purposes, a bad guy. The decision to kill him was made with the correct intentions, it is more that it was ordered by President Trump than anything else.
When it comes down to it, yes, assassination like this has a place. While it certainly needs to be monitored and kept in control, political power moves like this are fine given the right circumstance.