Soleimani and the True Measure of Deterrence

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View from the fighter plane cockpit head up display

CONVERSATION STARTER — Few would argue that the January 3 drone strike that killed Iranian General and Quds Force Commander General Qassem Soleimani was a bold move.  The overt nature by which the strike was carried out seemed to offer a clear sign that the US is ready to openly take action against those who plot to kill Americans, wherever they may be. Not everyone agreed with the decision to strike and some feared that the potential cost of retaliation would be too high.  Others though, saw hope in the US exercising its ability to project deterrence toward enemies plotting to kill Americans.

Cipher Brief Expert General David Petraeus said in an interview with Foreign Policy magazine after the drone strike that “Many people had rightly questioned whether American deterrence had eroded somewhat because of the relatively insignificant responses to the earlier actions.”

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