Sending specially trained operatives into hostile territories dates back to Colonial days. In the past decade, special operations forces have become central to America’s counterterrorism efforts.
Some of the major events in US-Iran relations highlight the differences between the nations' views, but others presented real opportunities for reconciliation.
Since President Donald Trump took office, Iranians have held a more unfavorable view of the US.
Iranian leaders seem eager to use the powerful emotions surrounding his death to coalesce power around the regime. History shows that mass mourning is a powerful way to bring people together.
Both President Trump and President Obama used military force without informing Congress, or getting its approval. But the differences reveal more than the similarities.
The US and other countries set up the modern system of international law after World War II. Does the US killing of an Iranian general violate those laws? What about Iran's attack on US bases in Iraq?
For decades, Iran has built up a network of proxies across the Middle East. Will it now use them to retailiate for the killing of its top general?
It's very dangerous to assume that Iran will not escalate the crisis further, much less that the US could limit any violence that might ensue.