John J. Mearsheimer, one of the most important and influential scholars of international relations in the world and a distinguished professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, a famous exponent of the school of contemporary political realism, has commented exclusively in Inside Over about the operation that  in the last few hours killed Qassem Soleimani, one of the most important leaders of the Pasdarans and head of the Al Quds brigade who was killed by an unmanned American aircraft. It is an act that the great American political scientist describes as “mad”.

“Donald Trump and his advisers do not have the least idea that the other side (Iran]) has a formidable capacity for reprisal. One wonders what they were thinking when they acted”, he commented. The author of the famous essay “The Tragedy of Great Power Politics”, now a classic work on international relations, as well as the more recent “The Great Illusion. Liberal Dreams and International Relations” emphasises that after the killing of Soleimani the USA has reached an impasse. “The fundamental problem – he explains – is that here there is no way out. The United States is seeking to convince Iran to surrender and this will not happen. Not even Trump can do it, through pressure, and that’s the last thing he needs in an election year”.

Relations between Iran and the USA

Last March Mearsheimer explained in an interview with Inside Over why, in his opinion, Tehran does not represent a direct threat to the United States or to the West. “Iran – observed the famous scholar – is not a direct threat to the United States. Nor is it an indirect threat. First, Iran has no nuclear weapons and has signed an agreement with the major world powers which makes it impossible for Tehran to develop nuclear weapons in the near future. Second, Iran has no missiles that can strike the population of the United States. Third, Iran has weak conventional forces, which cannot be used against the United States or any other Middle Eastern country under the American security umbrella. Fourth, Iran does not pose a serious threat to another country in its region. It has not launched a war against another country on a single occasion in modern times, and there is no evidence that it is now preparing an offensive against its neighbours. ”

According to Mearsheimer, in the fight against terrorism the US would do well to turn to its regional allies, such as Saudi Arabia: “Iran is not the source of the problem of American terrorism – stressed John J. Mearsheimer -. To the extent that a single country deserves this title, it is Saudi Arabia, not Iran. The truth is that it is the United States that poses a direct threat to Iran, not the other way around. The Trump administration, as strongly suggested by Israel and Saudi Arabia, has a gun aimed at Iran. The goal is regime change, and there is a lot of evidence showing that the United States could use military force to achieve this objective.

“Baghdad like Sarajevo”

The famous and authoritative American magazine The National Interest  has also weighed in with a very critical editorial regarding the American operation that led to the death of Qassem Soleimani in Iraq. “China and Russia – observes Jacob Heilbrunn – can only marvel at Washington’s continued capacity for self-destruction as it indulges in a fresh demonstration of the arrogance of power”. It was Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the magazine points out, “who engineered what could be a new Sarajevo moment, cancelling his impending trip to Ukraine and helping to ensure the retaliatory strike against Iran.” The National Interest therefore compares Soleimani’s death to that of June 28, 1914, when Serbian student Gavrilo Princìp fired his pistol at the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, Archduke Franz  Ferdinand who died a few hours later. A month later the old emperor Franz Joseph declared war on Serbia, thereby starting the First World War.

The problem is that the death of the charismatic Iranian general “sets up a fresh round of hostilities that America is ill-equipped to manage”. From an internal political point of view, moreover, Trump “provided a lift to the Democrats, perhaps most to Senator Bernie Sanders, who has opposed America’s serial conflicts abroad, though former Vice-President Joe Biden has now attacked Trump. Essentially Trump has wiped the slate clean for Democrats like Biden who supported the 2003 Iraq war”.

It's a tough moment
LET'S STAY TOGETHER