President Trump promised that assassinating Soleimani would deter Iran. Instead, as many predicted, it caused Iran to retaliate. Trump’s reckless actions made Americans less safe.
What is needed now on both sides is de-escalation and restraint.
Neither American nor Iranian interests will be served by full-scale war. There is still time for both sides to find a path away from war. What is needed is an immediate ceasefire followed by vigorous diplomacy, if not directly between Tehran and Washington, then through the mediation and facilitation of countries like Oman, Switzerland, or Japan, which in the past have helped to defuse U.S.-Iran tensions.
U.S. troops should leave Iraq
The United States should have removed its soldiers from Iraq before the assassination of Soleimani. Now it is urgent to do so. The more troops the United States stations in Iraq, the more targets it gives Iran and allied forces if the escalatory spiral continues. The Iraqi government, moreover, has requested that US forces cease military actions in the country without the prior consent of the Iraqi government and withdraw. Thus, there is no strategic or legal basis for the United States military to remain in Iraq.
At this perilous moment, President Trump has what may be a last opportunity to heed his own words that “Great nations do not fight endless wars.” He should bring American servicemen and servicewomen home from Iraq to safety, rather than placing them at risk and deepening America’s senseless entanglement in Middle East conflicts.
This is the time for American people, and their representatives in Congress, to act
President Trump should not be allowed to drag the United States into another reckless war of choice in the Middle East. He has no right to do so under the Constitution. Congress has the exclusive power and the duty to declare and fund wars – or prevent wars from being waged. It must not shirk its responsibility. Having failed until now to exert its Constitutional responsibility, Congress should immediately enact legislation to bar President Trump from using federal dollars for military action against Iran without its approval.
Trita Parsi is the Executive Vice President of the Quincy Institute. He is the 2010 recipient of the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order and an award-winning author. He is the president of the National Iranian American Council and teaches at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. His latest book is Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy.