Opinion: Stand down Trump

Gabriela Dulworth '22, Staff Writer

With the start of the new year, news of the possibility of World War III spread like wildfire after various conflicts between the United States and Iran erupted. “ WWIII memes” dominated popular social media like Twitter and TikTok, as well as larger news publications producing articles and TV coverage regarding the conflicts.

The United States’ history with Iran is a long and complicated one, dating back to the early 1900s. On Jan. 3, 2020, the United States ordered a drone strike which killed Iran’s Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani.

Iran responded on Jan. 8 by launching ballistic missiles at the Ain al-Assad base in Iraq, which was housing U.S. soldiers. Although nobody was killed in the attack, it still caused damage to the base.

Because of these recent violent clashes, it has become easy for me to fear another world war; fear the tragedy that inevitably comes with it.

President Donald Trump, in response to the Jan. 8 attack, claimed victory, stating that Iran “stands down” and that their “campaign of terror” was over after the missile strike.

How sure can we be that the Iranian conflict is over? In the very same speech, Trump also made sure to insult Iran in various ways, one of them accusatory, saying that, “Iran has been the leading sponsor in terrorism and the pursuit of nuclear weapons that threaten the civilized world.”

President Trump claims that the U.S. government and military would never allow this spark into a world war, yet with such high tensions and a history of animosity, is that really a fair statement to make?

If history has taught civilization anything, it is that wars are not only an appallingly common occurrence, but also devastating ones, easily started by ignorant leaders who see through tunnel vision and don’t realize how great the consequences to their actions may be.

After all, our planet’s very first world war was started after Serbian assassins killed Archduke Frans Ferdinand, setting off retaliation after retaliation, and ultimately causing a majority of the world to fight a war.

If one assassination can cause a world war, what’s to stop it from causing one now? The only hope is that world leaders are finally able to treat the issue with maturity, keeping in mind the lives of their respective country’s population, and the lives lost if a world war was fought.