Anything could happen so my speculation can be outdated very fast.
My previous blog posts have pointed out that United States had orchestrated a coup removing an elected Iranian leader and then helped to set up a hated secret police. Americans are certainly aware of the 1979 hostage taking after the Iranian Revolution and also of the "Death to America" chants and references to America as Satan. Americans are programmed to hate Iran
Trump detected this hatred in his campaign and vehemently claimed that the Iran Nuclear Agreement was one of the worst ever negotiated. Claims were made that Obama had paid Iran a huge amount of money to cement the deal ignoring the reality that it was merely returning money that had been confiscated plus interest. The biggest concern was to limit nuclear proliferation and it was acknowledged that other concerns would stop the agreement. Always catering to his base voters Trump ignored that Iran was honoring its part of the agreement and that it had been carefully negotiated with other countries that had their own interests and eventually declared the agreement void. With the goal of cutting what he considered anti American efforts he increased sanctions and coerced other nations to participate.
There are a range of criticisms regarding his disregard for international conventions. Are all agreements subject to reversal at the whim of a new politician? Is nuclear proliferation something that can controlled? Can large nations bully smaller nations? Are international alliances helpful for dealing with international problems? To me most of Trump's efforts have been a step backward. The world needs to co-operate to deal with global problems such as the climate crisis, pollution, refugees, etc.
Trump has attracted extreme loyalty from a minority of Americans, but has been able to manipulate the tools of gerrymandering, electoral college, corporate media, campaign finance laws, taxes, social media and maybe foreign interests to gain power. Public opinion has been polarized.
The exact details that led to the decision to kill Qassem Soleimani may not ever be completely known. There is a long history, American politicians are characterizing Soleimani as a terrorist. He certainly has been responsible for probably the deaths of thousands, many of them innocent and many of them American. Others would characterize him as a defender of Iranian and Shiite interests.
Was there imminent danger? There can be little doubt that he was plotting to hurt America and Americans. Perhaps he had discovered a way to deliver a nuclear bomb on Washington or New York? If that is so, or even that he was planning to deliver any big blow quick action might have been required. Why was there not more consultation? Have the consequences (international in scope) been thought out?
Americans or Trump might be naive if they feel they can insult Iran and apply pressure without any response from a people who are as proud as they are and who have technical expertise.
On the other hand, might there be other motivations at work? It is true that from before Trump was elected there were people wanting to unseat him. I confess I have thought he was a blowhard with a disgusting opinion of his own importance. He has only reinforced my hostile opinion. At the same time it is impossible to deny that large numbers of people who think he is their saviour. We live in a time of immense inequality, of fear and ignorance and of the power of misinformation.
Trump, partly in ignorance and partly realizing his dependence on his base has done a number of outrageous things that have hurt Americans. His supporters ignore the facts--he is not their saviour, but in fact has been very hurtful to their interests. The impeachment efforts had been mostly sidelined and seemed destined to failure. But lately more incriminating evidence has been brought out and the case of obstruction are gaining some traction. There are also some people that believe Trump is fearful of appearing fearful.
He certainly has not built up credibility either with Americans or internationally. There is certainly going to be emotions taking over American politics that I fear can push more polarization. Emotional stability is needed. Trump has boasted that he is the most stable negotiator ever--BUT he has not demonstrated that at all. You can be sure patriotism will be demanded. After spewing hatred in different directions, Trump will expect unity.
What will happen? How soon will Iran retaliate? Will impeachment proceedings slow down?
Just wanted to vent before things get more confusing.