Who is more unreasonable than the Indian liberal who usually parrots Leftists’ lies and dogmas? The American liberal. The way the intellectual establishment in the United States has reacted to the killing of Iranian top gun Qassem Soleimani underlines this fact.
To understand the untenability of American liberals’ position, we must consider a hypothetical scenario: Prime Minister Narendra Modi orders the targeted killing of Hafiz Saeed or Dawood Ibrahim. Would anybody in our country, even the most anti-Modi leaders and intellectuals, have the cheek to slam him for this action? The answer is obvious: no. The unconscionability of the crimes of Saeed and Dawood is such that nobody in the right frame of mind could sympathize—or even seem to be sympathizing—with them. Besides, there is the fear of saffron trolls.
But no such luck for US President Donald Trump. In the politically polarized America, liberals’ hatred for him has acquired pathological proportions. So, the action against Soleimani has been hotly debated, with most Democrats slamming President Trump, who is a Republican. They say that the strike did not have the authorization of the US Congress which they dominate. “Let’s be clear. If there was evidence of imminent attacks on four embassies, the Administration would have said so at our Wednesday briefing [just before the strike],” Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, said in a tweet. “They didn’t…there was no such imminent threat.”
It was not just political opponents at home who criticized his decision; Agnès Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killing, also berated him for eliminating Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy chief of the Popular Mobilization Committee of Iran. As commander of the Kataib Hezbollah militia, he worked closely with the Quds Force. Which was a typical reaction from an organization which is dangerously infected with Left-liberal ideas.
In his own country, Trump has been castigated for four reasons. First, his position has been isolationist, so why did he chafe Teheran so badly, why did he provoke Iran? Soleimani was a charismatic figure in Iran, quite apart from being the second most powerful man in the country. The number of people who turned out at his funeral is a testimony to the popularity he enjoyed.
Soleimani’s killing has surely provoked Iran, but unprovoked it was no less a danger to the American interests in the region. Decades back Ayatollah Khomeini had equated America with Satan; little has changed since then.
Then there was the bogus charge against Trump that the action would lead to escalate tensions in the region, that there could be war. War? Isn’t a war between two countries of similar sizes and capabilities? Can there be a war between, say, India and the Maldives? India need not fight a war with the tiny island nation; a little spanking will do. That’s exactly what Washington did; it also told the Teheran not to be too mischievous, that a single loss of American life would result in a massive assault. The Iranians got the message; in their so-called missile retaliation on an American base in Iraq, they ensured that no American or even Iraqi was killed or even injured, the bombast notwithstanding.
This brings us to the third reason. Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted that he should have taken Congress’ authorization. Her hypocrisy, however, is obvious, for she never made such remarks in the event of former US President Obama’s invasion of Libya. The demands for Congressional authorization are even more untenable because the US has a presidential form of government—that is, the President is not responsible to the legislature, as in a parliamentary democracy in India.
Finally, Trump has been accused of failing to prove Soleimani planned an “imminent” attack against America. This is the most preposterous charge against the US President. “We don’t know the reasons that it had to be done now. They don’t seem very clear,” Senator Chuck Schumer said.
Another Democrat, Rep. Anthony Brown, said, “It appears to me that the actions that were taken was much more of a response to the past conduct of General Soleimani, and I’ve not yet heard sort of like the facts underlying what the potential imminent future threat that was posed by General Soleimani. I didn’t hear anything about alternatives to neutralize or address the threat.”
Rep. Adam Schiff, another Democrat, said, “It’s also true that Soleimani has been plotting against the United States for decades. The question is: did the plotting here rise to the level that required his elimination from the battlefield?”
The Washington Post, a major liberal media organization that is rabidly anti-Trump, said, “Trump’s team offer mixed messages about ‘imminent’ attack from Iran as justification for killing Soleimani.”
Perhaps what the Democrats and the US mainstream media would have preferred was Trump asking Soleimani if the latter was planning any attacks against American targets, and if yes if they were imminent! After his answer, the President should have consulted Pelosi if Soleimani could be targeted!
Rep. Brown and other Democrats are also wrong in their surmise that there should be no retributive action for “the past conduct”; it should only be for pre-empting “the potential imminent future threat”. This is a dangerous and erroneous surmise. Former President Obama obviously felt so; this is the reason that he planned and executed the killing of Osama bin Laden, also in another foreign country, Pakistan. While Osama was languishing, leading a retired life, Soleimani was powerful, commanding the Quds Force, with the rank of major-general.
It is an indisputable fact, something that even Democrats and liberals don’t deny, that Soleimani was responsible for the death of hundreds of Americans. So, what’s wrong with just deserts? If this principle is abandoned, then we may have to drastically change the punishment system. Why penalize a murderer, robber, or a rapist if we have reasons to believe that the person has been reformed? Why imprison or hang somebody if there is no evidence of ‘imminent’ threat to society from these people?
Such is their aversion for Trump that American liberals seem to have got their cognitive faculties and commonsense corrupted; they can’t comprehend such basic facts. This happens when people discard rational, unbiased thinking. Liberals also seem oblivious of their own blatant double standards. If Obama orders targeted killing of an American enemy in another country, it’s good; if Trump does so, he is exceeding his brief.
In such a milieu, it is not surprising that a lot many people in America are embracing the ideas and attitudes preferred by Trump.
Ravi Shanker Kapoor is a freelance journalist