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The assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, and the rationales offered for this killing, exhibit extreme myopia no matter where one looks in space and time.

暗殺伊朗少將卡西姆 · 蘇萊曼尼,以及為這次暗殺編織的理由,無論從時間還是空間的角度來看,都表現出極度的短視。

Looking forward, there is no evidence that President Donald Trump’s ordering of the assassination was guided by any appreciation for the ill consequences that would follow, including the recent Iranian retaliation. The administration’s assertions that Americans are now safer are belied by the administration’s own travel advisories and other tacit admissions that Americans are decidedly less safe than they were a week ago. Suggestions that the assassination was intended to pre-empt an imminent Iranian attack—for which the administration has offered no public evidence—are belied by ample indications that the operation was in preparation for some time.

展望未來,沒有證據表明,唐納德 · 特朗普總統下令進行暗殺是出于對隨之而來的不良后果的任何認識,包括最近伊朗的報復。
有關暗殺行動是為了預先制止伊朗即將發動的襲擊的說法 ( 政府沒有提供任何公開證據) 是站不住腳的,有大量跡象表明,這次暗殺行動已經準備了一段時間。

Besides, Suleimani was not the triggerman for any plot that did exist, and killing such a senior leader does not pre-empt anything. Far from the assassination having, as Trump put it, “stopped for good” whatever the Iranians may have been planning, it hardly dents the ability of the Iranian Quds Force, with its deep bench, to operate.

特朗普說,暗殺行動是為了“預先制止” ,不管伊朗人可能在計劃什么,它幾乎沒有削弱伊朗圣城軍的運作能力。

That responsibility is not relieved by observations that Suleimani “had blood on his hands” or was “responsible for the death of Americans.” Iranian actions, like the actions of other states, do not take place in a vacuum. Most of those American deaths occurred in a war of choice that the United States launched in Iran’s neighbor Iraq and that triggered both a sectarian civil war and an insurgency against an occupying power. Moreover, applying the bloodied-hands metaphor to a senior military or political leader such as Suleimani, who has ordered or commanded operations amid warfare, opens up one’s own senior military and political leaders to similar rhetorical treatment. How might non-Americans assign responsibility, for example, for the civilian deaths, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, resulting from the offensive war in Iraq that an American president ordered and that U.S. generals commanded?


Beyond the myopia about an immediate destructive past and more destruction yet to come in the immediate future, Americans should reflect on what the assassination of Suleimani (and of a senior Iraqi, in an operation that grossly disregarded Iraqi sovereignty) says about what kind of global citizen the United States has become under Trump. In the past three years, Trump has registered historically low citizenship grades, with behavior ranging from the intentionally destructive, such as crippling international organizations, to the simply boorish, such as shoving heads of government out of the way. But now has come an even more significant and negative departure. The United States had not assassinated foreign leaders, no matter how loathsome they were, for the past half-century—not since the days of exploding cigars intended to kill Cuba’s Fidel Castro and a U.S.-blessed coup in South Vietnam in 1963 that included the assassination of President Ngo Dinh Diem. With the killing of Suleimani, that moratorium has ended.

除了對眼前的破壞性短視和不久的將來還會出現的更多破壞的目光短淺,美國人應該反思,暗殺蘇萊曼尼(以及一名伊拉克高級官員,這次行動嚴重無視伊拉克主權 ) 說明了在特朗普的領導下,美國已經變成了什么樣的世界公民。
自從有人試圖用雪茄炸死古巴領導人菲德爾 · 卡斯特羅以及1963年美國支持的南越政變( 包括暗殺總統吳廷琰以來,就沒有這樣的事情發生過,隨著蘇萊曼尼的被殺,這一禁令已經結束了。

Apparent exceptions to that moratorium have come within the context of warfare, such as with the opening air salvo of the U.S. war on Iraq in 2003, which included an unsuccessful effort to target Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. But if that is considered a precedent, then it means that Trump, despite all he says about not wanting a new war, has already started a such a war with Iran.

這項禁令的明顯例外只出現在戰爭中,例如2003年美國在伊拉克戰爭中發動空襲,其中包括一次針對伊拉克總統薩達姆 · 侯賽因的失敗行動,但如果這被認為是一個先例,那么這意味著,盡管特朗普說不想發動新的戰爭,但他已經發動了一場與伊朗的戰爭。

Refraining from assassinating foreign leaders has been a wise American policy, partly to avoid the negative consequences of such killings. The consequences include reprisals by the targeted parties that may be not only in-kind but also take other forms. Moreover, other parties may be encouraged to play the game of nations by such loose and deadly rules. In this regard, it is worth noting that the Russian foreign ministry’s statement about the Suleimani killing included the observation, "We have encountered a new reality—the murder of a representative of the government of a sovereign state, an official in the absence of any legal grounds for these actions."

In addition to avoiding the negative practical consequences, foreswearing the assassination of foreign leaders is a matter of principle. It gets to the character and values of a nation, and to the nation’s self-image and self-esteem. Killing other nations’ leaders is not the sort of thing a good nation does. It is the sort of thing terrorists do.


By doing it, Trump has further discredited whatever he says about terrorism. To talk about Suleimani in the same breath as references to slain ISIS chief Aby Bakr al-Baghdadi, as Trump did in his statement following the assassination, grossly misrepresents Suleimani’s role and status. That status is reflected in the huge crowds of Iranians mourning his death. In a recent poll by the University of Maryland, Iranians named Suleimani as the most popular public figure in their country. And as for terrorism, part of the reason for that popularity was Suleimani’s leading role in successfully combating ISIS, which had conducted major operations against Iran.

特朗普在暗殺事件發生后的聲明中把蘇萊曼尼和被殺害的 ISIS 頭目阿比 · 巴克爾 · 巴格達迪相提并論,嚴重歪曲了蘇萊曼尼的角色和地位,這種地位反映在大批伊朗人哀悼他的死亡。
在最近的一次馬里蘭大學學院市分校民意調查中,伊朗人將蘇萊曼尼 稱為他們國家最受歡迎的公眾人物。

Openly killing someone with a missile fired from a military drone does not qualify as terrorism according to the official U.S. definition of a terrorist event, which requires it to be perpetrated by either a non-state actor or a clandestine agent of a state. But used for the assassination of a foreign leader, the nature and consequences of the act are the same. The only difference is the available hardware. If Iran had Reaper drones, it no doubt would try to use them to retaliate in kind. But Iran doesn’t have such high-tech aircraft, so its retaliation will use other means that the Trump administration will denounce as terrorism, amid cries to climb another rung on the ladder of escalation that Trump himself created.


If Trump and Pompeo really want to get off that ladder, they need to do more than just say they want de-escalation. They actually need to de-escalate. That means not only backing off from more provocative and deadly kinetic acts; it also means backing off from the economic warfare that started the destructive cycle.


A great nation, as the United States has been throughout its history, sets and observes high standards of international behavior. It does so confident that its strength and character will enable it to protect and advance its interests effectively without stooping to lower standards and doing the sorts of things that rogue states and terrorists do. By acting like a rogue, Trump has diminished America’s greatness.