What Next

Trump Chooses War

With the assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Trump may have just started a new war in the Middle East.


Episode Notes

In a little over a week, tensions in the Middle East have gone from high to fever pitch. What started with one American civilian contractor in Iraq being killed escalated to airstrikes on militia-controlled sites in Iraq and Syria, killing 24 people and wounding dozens more. Then, a siege at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad by pro-Iranian militia and a response by the Trump administration that killed Iran’s top military commander.

What went into the decision to assassinate Gen. Qassem Soleimani? And is the United States prepared for what comes next?

Guest: Fred Kaplan, Slate’s War Stories correspondent and author of The Bomb: Presidents, Generals, and the Secret History of Nuclear War, out later this month.

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Podcast production by Mary Wilson, Jayson De Leon, Danielle Hewitt, and Mara Silvers.


About the Show

The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

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  • Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of What Next, Slate's new daily news podcast. She has reported throughout the public radio system, for NPR, Marketplace, and WNYC.